Is that an Irish accent I detect?

So, some of you have probably noticed a slight style change in some of our recent blog posts and we never explained why... Me. I’m the explanation for the change, who am I?

Good question, my name is Megan and I have taken over this blog for the past couple of weeks. I am currently living in California in the beautiful Huntington Beach area for the summer months, but before I tell you all about that amazing experience, I better tell you a little bit about myself. I am a 20 year old, public relations and media studies graduate from Ireland. I arrived in California way back in June and had read all about Prehistoric Pets and The Reptile Zoo online and I immediately knew that I would love to work there, so I got in touch with Jay and Laura who were nice enough to give me an interview, and even kinder to give me a job for the Summer. As I spoke to Laura and realised that she was looking for a publicist that wouldn’t mind working with some reptiles too, I felt I was perfect for the position plus I had 4 years experience working in Ireland's only Reptile Zoo. Three days after my interview I began working and haven’t looked back since!

It was kind of surreal to be in California and see all these places that I would normally only see on TV, and I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Working in The Reptile Zoo took a lot of getting used to and a lot of adjusting for me. It was like a little piece of home though, the familiarity of working with reptiles and talking to visitors about them, if I’m honest it helped ease the feeling of being home sick, just a little bit. I did have one major problem when I started working in the Reptile Zoo though... the currency! I dropped a cricket one day and Sam said “that will cost you a quarter now” my reply was simple “You might have a chance of me paying if only I knew which coin that was." Thankfully after a few days I managed to get the hang of it. Another time when trying to go on my lunch break it got very confusing as I told Garrett that my break was meant to start at “half one”…the look of on his face was priceless as he finally realised that I meant 1.30pm.

Here are a few examples of the slang or word differences:

Bin = Trash                    Can Plaster = Band Aid                   Royal Pythons =Ball Pythons                    Lads = Guys

Then I got the chance to work at the OC Fair, I hadn’t even heard of the fair before and had no idea what to expect but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. The fair is huge, way bigger than I expected. Mandy had told me that you can literally get anything deep fried at the fair…..she really did mean anything. I was shocked to find you can get oreos, snickers, bananas and even CEREAL deep fried ! I love working at the fair because it is so busy, you get to meet so many different people, each with a different story.

I have met lots of wonderful and interesting people here, some strange people too (especially on the buses and when we went to Venice beach..but that’s a whole other story!). One of my favourite things about this Summer is getting to meet the people with the true southern California hospitality, people who were genuinely interested in finding out about Ireland and telling me lots of stories about their lives and experiences! In particular I met a lovely lady named Shirlee, a customer at The Reptile Zoo who is travelling to Ireland in October and we spent a long time giving each other lots of info and tips about our home towns!

All in all I have really enjoyed my time here in California, the people, the places, and mostly the weather. It took me a few weeks to settle in here and get used to the California lifestyle, but I really love it here, it is now like a home away from home and I hope to come back next year to experience everything else it has to offer! I am looking forward to going home and spending some time with my friends and family, but it has pretty much rained in Ireland the entire time I have been here so I’m not looking forward to that!

This is my last week working in The Reptile Zoo and I can honestly say that I am sad to be leaving, but feel like I have made some really good friends here and I have been given the opportunity to experience so much and for that I am truly grateful. I’ll be back in Ireland in two weeks, but who knows you might just see me again next year..fingers crossed!  And as we say in Irish “Go raibh mile maith agaibh” which basically means thank you all very much!

 

 

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Easter Games with Frank (aka Mr. Kipling)

Ever wonder if reptiles celebrate holidays? Well they sure do at The Reptile Zoo. Actually today is one of our favorite holidays! Everyone loves Easter for their own reasons, but Frank he loves Easter for the eggs! Who is Frank? He's one of the many starts at The Reptile Zoo! He even spends some of his time on the set of Disney Channel's JESSIE as Mr. Kipling!

 

 

Why does Frank love Easter eggs? The same reason you do... they're tasty! Frank loves to snack on eggs which are an extra special treat for him. Which is why he guards them so carefully! You wouldn't want to go Easter egg hunting with him, he doesn't share very well.

 

 

Here at The Reptile Zoo Frank only gets this special treat if "infertal" eggs have been found in a clutch. "Infertal" means these eggs are incapable of producing viable offspring. This is not very common in breeding at Prehistoric Pets, but does happen in a small percentage of the time. Instead of simply tossing these nutrient packed goodies Frank and his friends at The Reptile Zoo get an extra special treat. Waste not, want not!

 

 

Check out this video to see one of Frank's family members enjoying a quick snack of these infertal eggs.

 

 

It never fails after Frank has completed his meal he is looking for just one more snack!

 

 

From everyone at The Reptile Zoo we wish you the best Easter spent with family and friends. Everyone here is enjoying a day off and will back tomorrow to share even more reptile fun with you! Come visit us at The Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, California and meet Frank (aka Mr. Kipling) !

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Meet Davey: The newest scaly member of Jurassic Parties

Meet Davey aka Davey Jones, a yearling American Alligator, the newest resident at The Reptile Zoo and soon to be the most exciting scaly member of Jurassic Parties. That's right, starting next week Davey will be available as an addition to your Jurassic Party event! These events are specifically tailored to provide even more educational tidbits than our standard birthday and can be customized to meet the California State Science Content Standards for your age group.

 

With the addition of Davey we will also be covering the topic of restricted pet ownership in California and why it is important for the safety of the environment and owners to follow these rules. Below is an excerpt from the California Code of Regulations, Title 14 which lists these animals.

§671. Importation, Transportation and Possession of Live Restricted Animals.

(a) It shall be unlawful to import, transport, or possess live animals restricted in subsection (c) below except under permit issued by the department...

(b) The commission has determined the below listed animals are not normally domesticated in this state. Mammals listed to prevent the depletion of wild populations and to provide for animal welfare are termed "welfare animals", and are designated by the letter "W". Those species listed because they pose a threat to native wildlife, the agriculture interests of the state or to public health or safety are termed "detrimental animals" and are designated by the letter "D"...

 

(7) Class Reptilia -Reptiles

(A) Order Crocodilia -Crocodiles, Caimans, Alligators and Gavials: All species (D).

 

 

Some of the other highlights from this list are all primates, marsupials, hedgehogs, ferrets, wolves, snapping turtles, vipers, and cobras. You might notice you can find some of these animals like American Alligators and Snapping Turtles at The Reptile Zoo. Wonder why? Through our partnership with Brockett's Film and Fauna, who are permitted to own these animals, The Reptile Zoo and Jurassic Partiesare can display these animals for educational use. We have been preparing for this partnership for a couple years, actually it's one of the main reasons we opened The Reptile Zoo in the first place. The creation of The Reptile Zoo as a donation driven educational zoo separates these permitted species from the retail pet store environment of Prehistoric Pets.

 

But enough about boring laws. Want to hear more about Davey? .... I knew you would. Davey as we mentioned before is an American Alligator with the potential to grow up to six hundred pounds! But for now, he is a slender 2 year old who enjoys swimming with his goldfish friends/food in his specially designed home at The Reptile Zoo. Since arriving at the zoo last week he has been training for his big Jurassic Parties debut, with daily handling sessions both with his handler and trainer. Although most gators at his size can be quite fiesty and flighty Davey is calm, cool, and collected. Have you fallen in love yet? If so be sure to stop by The Reptile Zoo to meet our little buddy or better yet book your Educational Event with Jurassic Parties and he will come to you!

 

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Python Ban: The Discussion

In several of the documents relating to the addition of several species of snakes to the Lacey Act the assumption is made that during the periods of public comment very few responses were received, and those that were received were carefully considered.

Question 12:  What prompted the reopening of the public comment period of the proposed rule to list the Indian (Burmese) python and eight other large constrictor snakes as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act?

Answer:   In response to a number of requests from stakeholders, the Service granted an additional 30 days for the public comment period on the proposed rule for a total of 90 days.  

Question 13:  How many public comments did the Service receive? 

Answer:  The Service received about 56,500 comments for the proposed rule.  The public can view these comments at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015.  A final determination was made after a comprehensive review of the scientific data and the information contained in comments submitted by the public and peer reviewers

 

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

 

Here at Prehistoric Pets we believe it is the duty of those in office to protect the rights and wishes of their constituents and the duty of those constituents to get involved and carry an open discussion with their elected officials.

This is why we have stayed constantly involved in the discussion emailing, calling, and scheduling meetings with our representatives. Today’s blog includes our letter to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer explaining our concerns for this legislation. We did not receive the response we had wished for, but at least our voice was heard.

Senator Boxer / Senator Feinstein ,

 

My name is Jay Brewer. I live and work in Orange County, Ca., actually for the past 22 years I have run and operated my small business, Prehistoric Pets.  I emailed you a bit early about setting up a one on one meeting regarding S 373. Below I have included some information on myself, my business, and my concerns for this bill. If we don't get a chance to meet I would appreciate if you could at least understand my stance on this subject and why this cause is so important.

When I opened Prehistoric Pets, as Pet Country, in 1988 the store focused on providing quality pets and service to our customers. As our stock of exotic reptiles grew we had the opportunity to expand first into a 5000 sq ft location in 1992, and then expand again in 2000. Our inventive set-up was the first of its kind, which I designed to create a zoo-like atmosphere with the philosophy“build it and they will come.” This philosophy proved correct and new customers started visiting the store to observe exotic reptiles, which are not displayed at even the largest of zoos.

This collection of specialized and rare reptiles also set PrehistoricPets.com apart, as a large online provider of quality reptiles. Demand for a new variety of high-end reptiles led to an increase of specialty breeding projects behind the scenes at our Fountain Valley location. These online sales, exported around the world and throughout the US, quickly became a very successful and large source of income for Prehistoric Pets. In 1995, we also began promoting our party business, Jurassic Parties, which proved very successful. Through Jurassic Parties we were able to educate the public at both schools and private events about reptiles using hands-on interaction with reptiles these children would have otherwise only read about in science books , to this day we have provided over 12,000 of these educational presentations across Southern California. These two factors combined allowed the 2000 expansion to its current size of 10,000 sq ft, with the most zoo-like experience over doubling our location size and producing a banner year in 2005.

As owner I have used difficult economic periods as a time to find a new niches Prehistoric Pets could settle into. From a 2000 gallon pond in the middle of the store, filled with Giant tropical fish to the displays exhibiting thousands of exotic reptiles of all sizes, Prehistoric Pets is a zoo. Over the summer we converted half of our location into a paid admission zoo, The Reptile Zoo, that serves as an educational center involving hands-on interaction with various types of reptiles. The support from customers, especially mothers, has been overwhelming. They love The Reptile Zoo and Prehistoric Pets as a destination for low price high benefit education entertainment for their children.

Unfortunately S 373 threatens to obliterate my passion and the business I have put my heart and soul into for the past 25 years also destroy an education resource for thousands of families throughout Orange and Los Angeles County without solving the problem it seeks to correct in South Florida.

As I had mentioned before along with running our 10,000 sq ft reptile zoo we are also one of the premiere breeders of Reticulated Pythons , honestly, in the world. We focus in the breeding of specialty "morphs", or color and pattern variations, that are completely impossible in the wild. With 25 years of this specialized breeding I have grown quite a stock in captive bred animals, making it extremely rare to ever import an animal from the wild.

Here in California we enjoy rather wonderful weather, but the majority of the United States is not as privileged with average temperatures in the high sixties. But even in such a warm weather I must spend thousands of dollars monthly to provide specialized heating for every single one of my snakes. You must understand, especially in these tough economic times, I would love to cut costs and stop paying for this heat but without it my animals would quickly catch colds, yes they can catch colds just like people, and sadly die. The same is true for breeders and reptile owners across the country that spend millions of dollars every year to provide specialized environments and care for our animals that would not be able to survive without our support. The reason it would be so impossible for these animals to survive even with balmy day temperatures of 60-80 degrees here in Southern California is their absolute reliance on surrounding temperatures. Snakes are cold blooded, which means unlike humans they cannot raise their own body temperature. Though they might enjoy the warm temperatures during the day with the extreme drop in temperature each night these snakes wouldn’t be able to bring their body temperature back up to a safe level, resulting in as I mentioned before severe colds and a quick death.

Another issue I see with this bill is regarding the actual "invasive threat" of these pythons and boas. Boas have lived in Mexico from the beginning of time and have not crossed the border or been cause for worry regarding infestation or destruction of wildlife... and even Burmese pythons have been in the Everglades for the last twenty something years without moving far north let alone the entire US. When you look at any study of the natural habitat of these pythons then follow the latitude line to where it crosses the United States you will find highest range these pythons can survive crosses into only a small section of Florida and nowhere else in the United States. If there is a problem in Florida it should be a state level with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee, as it currently is.

Thank you so much for hearing me out. I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you face to face in the very near future.

How was your voice heard? Have you contacted your representatives? Were you able to schedule an appointment to meet with one of their staff? What was their response?

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Feed me! Nevermind, I'll do it myself

Apparently, even being a Newport Beach native can be tough. Everybody knows that kingsnakes are given that name
(and separate cages) or their tendency to eat their own kind (how rude!). But what happens when a bored kingsnake is left all by his lonesome? Take a look!

 

Don't worry folks, shortly after this picture was taken, this hungry snake realized the error of his ways and released himself, much to his own relief. We love snakes here at the Reptile Zoo, but not necessarily for their smarts. Come on in and visit, but remember, its a dog-eat-dog, er, snake-eat-snake world out there. 

Later Gator!

-Mandysaurus Rex

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JFW...the knowledge of champions


Our Jurassic Fact this week is focused on an animal that I, myself, had to slowly get used to.




The Kingsnake, in many different forms, is an excellent party animal because its draws much attention when the facts are given. I have had many a child gasp when I tell them how they get their name. They are called Kingsnakes because they eat other snakes...even other kingsnakes....and EVEN rattlesnakes. It is found that they are immune to the venom and very commonly go after them in the wild.


Florida Kingsnake


This is the common pattern of the Florida Kingsnake, and the colors may vary. In captivity, they are actually quite docile and can make great pets. Wild-caught kings may be a bit more aggressive, but with proper handling and care, its easy to tame them.


California Kingsnake


I think California Kingsnakes are really cool-looking. They are much different than other snake patterns, with very thick and bold brown (or black) and white stripes. We have several that we use for birthday parties that are sweet as sugar!

The California King can be found throughout the southwest, in a variety of environments ranging from deserts to forests...and the same for the Florida King in the southeast. They aren't quite as well-tempered as the ball python or cornsnake, but with patience and care they can be wonderful pets.


<3....................Thalia
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