Have you ever dreamed of owning a reptile store? Well, sit back and listen in as we talk with Beth Greathouse, the owner of Scales Exotics Creatures on how she started and what it is like to own and run a reptile boutique! .
Good morning all you fans of our modern day dragons! We are having some amazing news coming over the airwaves. The efforts of the CDC and Jimmy Carter’s foundation, the Carter Center may have resulted in the eradication of Dracunculus medinensis, the Guinea Worm which is a parasitic worm in Africa that causes excruciating pain. NPR reports that we have gone from 3 million cases a year in the 80s to just 2 cases so far on 2016. And they both are believed to have been contained. Some parasites with indirect lifecycles require intermediate hosts and have a complicated lifecycle which can be difficult to follow. Congratulations and thanks go to the CDC, Jimmy Carter, Dr. Hopkins, and the host of health workers that risked their lives implementing health programs in war torn, mine laden countries to bring us to this point. We can’t pop the cork on the champagne yet, but at least it is time to locate the glasses. And what does this have to do with reptile news? Well, beyond the point that we are all human and this affects humans, it also is an example of what we need to do when considering parasitic infection for our pets. To clean our reptiles of parasites we need to understand the parasitic lifecycles before we can break them. And, yes, that education is part of the Chameleon Breeder Podcast mandate. So stay tuned in the coming months and I’ll do my part here.
Now, let’s get to our main story. How many of you have ever dreamed of owning a pet store? Yep, my hand is raised right now too! If you are driving, please put your hand back down. For today’s episode I went on location to Scales Exotic Creatures in Long Beach California run by Beth Greathouse. This reptile boutique is a unique take on the standard reptile store. Instead of walls packed with random reptiles and aging boxes of weathered inventory, there are carefully selected species, care products, T-shirts, stuffed animals, and even a specialized supplement line. I got a special interview with Beth before the store opened today. I talked with her about setting up the store and what a day in the life of a pet store owner was like. We then take a short tour around and discuss the reptiles that she offers and the reason for each. When you are creating a pleasant environment, overcrowding is definitely out and so each species is chosen carefully and with purpose.
If any of you are in the Los Angeles area and are interested in seeing a reptile boutique, you can drop by and see Scales Exotic Creatures and Beth. She is at 5746 E 2nd St in the beach community on Naples island in Long Beach. Then walk around a bit and enjoy the ocean breezes. But, of course, you don’t have to remember all that. You can go to scalesexotics.com or go to the show notes at chameleonbreeder.com for the information. And for those not in the area I took a video of my trip so you can see what a reptile boutique and an iMac frogarium looks like!
Podcast Sponsor’s Section:
This podcast is sponsored by the Dragon Strand Chameleon Caging Company. We are turning a focus towards daily hygiene protocols for our chameleons. To that end a special kit was created that combines a Large 48” tall Keeper Cage with Dragon Ledges, and an extra floor panel. This is a simple combination, but has a large return. Currently, much of the community does spot cleaning which is using a paper towel to remove poop from the floor. Unfortunately, that still leaves invisible bacteria and parasites behind to hitch rides with escaped feeder insects and make their way back to the chameleon. An effective solution to this is to do deep cleaning instead of spot cleaning. Deep cleaning is when you scrub the floor with soap and/or a diluted bleach solution to make sure it is disinfected. Having potted plants on the floor increases the challenge because the pot underside makes for a hiding place for the bacteria, viruses, parasites, and even escaped feeders. It also makes it a pain to remove the floor board. There is not much a caging company can do to affect husbandry protocols, but we can make it easier to replace spot cleaning with deep cleaning. The Large Keeper Chameleon Cage Kit is made up of the most common chameleon cage size which is suitable for chameleons in size up to adult veiled or Panther Chameleons. The included Dragon Ledges are mounted anchors that allow you to change your interior planting strategy from a pot on the floor to trailing vines mounted on the walls of the cage. If you haven’t seen what is possible, please visit the show notes for this episode. You can create some beautiful plantscapes up the sides of your cage without stressing the screen itself. So that clears the floor and makes it easy to remove and replace.
And, finally, an extra floor board is included. This makes it simple to remove the soiled floor board and immediately put in the clean one so you don’t have to worry about your cage not having a floor for a while. Then you can leisurely scrub and disinfect the soiled floor board and leave it to dry in the sun and be ready for the next cleaning time’s call to action. These are simple solutions, but it is only simple solutions that will be implemented in day to day husbandry! Obviously, you don’t have to buy a Dragon Strand product to implement a daily deep cleaning protocol, but if you are interested in a cage kit that is specifically put together to make it easier then check the show notes or just go to dragonstrand.com and find the Large Keeper Chameleon Kit. It is available in both a full screen version and a clearside version which has three clear sides and one complete screen side for ventilation.
Will I ever have a pet store? Who knows? Maybe some day in the future. If you have dreamed of owning a pet store then you will definitely have to consider that this is a digital era and that will probably have to be part of your strategy. But one of the most important things that I noticed when I was interviewing Beth was the community that has built up around Scales. As our interview was wrapping up it was time to open the doors to the public. Someone was already waiting to get their supplies. Yes, it is a digital world, but online cannot replace the smile and relationship that comes with walking into a shop you drop by every week. Beth knows her customers. They know and trust her. She’ll know both your name and the name of your lizard, snake, frog, or tortoise. She’ll ask how he or she is doing and will share the joy of sharing our life with these modern day dragons. If you would love to start a pet store, remember it isn’t about having the rarest species or having the biggest variety of products that will make you successful. It is the environment you create where reptile people feel welcome to come in, talk supplements or whatever, and know they will get top notch advice from someone who cares about them and their beloved reptile. That is your key to success.
And if you do ever start that pet store, let me know that this podcast episode had a part in it. You’ll work hard and long hours, but you’d probably work hard and long hours at any job. I like what Beth said. She may be tied to her store, but she rather be there than anywhere else.
Have a great week with your reptilian adventures. I’ll be back next Friday. Until then, take care.