April 22nd, 2013
by Dawn Pedersen
I love animals. I hope that with lots of early exposure to all kinds of live animals, Theo will learn to love and value them as well. We got a one-of-a-kind animal experience at the Serpentarium in Lodi yesterday.
The Serpentarium has two locations, one in Elk Grove, and one in Lodi. Both sell reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates such as tarantulas and scorpions, as well as supplies. They are feverishly working on a Roseville location as we speak.
The store in Lodi features a living reptile museum upstairs. Admission is only $2 per person over the age of 2. For additional fees, you can buy feeding or handling experiences. Which is just what we did. And I just can’t say enough about what a great experience we had. The animals were gorgeous and healthy, and the staff were all very friendly and engaging.
Check out our thrilling adventure below. Click on any image for a full-size slideshow.
Theo and Daddy pose at the entrance of the Serpentarium Living Reptile Museum in Lodi. The location is a little off the beaten path, with an entrance along the side of an unassuming warehouse.
Near the front door on the lower level, Vlady has a meeting of the minds with a Fly River Turtle named Ariel. What a nice smile! The hose in her tank is emptying water out for some maintenance.
Upstairs in the living museum, Daddy and Vlady check out an eager-to-escape iguana.
Another family purchases a feeding experience: 2 mice for $5. You can watch as an employee feeds any of the large carnivorous lizards. The snakes are too gargantuan to get very excited by a little mouse snack. Two massive iguanas don’t get mice either—they are vegetarians.
This sleepy monitor lizard has to be coaxed repeatedly to wake up enough to respond to a mouse. He even takes his time in snatching the mouse placed right on his tail!
Will a two-year-old boy be traumatized by watching a giant lizard snuff out an adorable mouse? Not so much. He found it exhilarating.
The view of the lower merchandise level from the museum level. I’m waiting for Vlady’s purchase—6 mice for $12—to be collected and brought upstairs.
The friendly lizard keeper offers one of our mice to another monitor lizard.
Talk about right at eye-level!
Two monitor lizards rest and digest their breakfasts.
Our final mouse offering goes to this happy fella. A male employee comes to handle him because the lizard poops on females. Who knew reptiles were so discerning?
The lizard handler lets the boys pet the monitor lizard, so that they can feel how supple and smooth the reptile’s skin actually is.
A gorgeous Green Iguana named Zeus regards all of the activity. We’re told that we are lucky today that the museum is not quite as busy as usual.
Back on the lower level, which holds many more living reptiles and amphibians, two Frilled Lizards look mighty alert and proud.
A small brown tree frog looks charmingly like something out of Star Wars.
Theo watches some very active baby Pink-bellied Side Neck Turtles.
We purchase another animal experience: $5 for 2 people to handle a tarantula, a scorpion, and a hissing cockroach. Here, Theo holds a rosy-colored tarantula.
Prior to having Theo hold the scorpion, our handler demonstrates one of the reasons people like to have scorpions as pets. Under UV light, this little guy goes from a shiny black to a cartoon-level aqua color.
The scorpion moves a little too fast to stay in Theo’s hands. It has an active stinger but seems to pose little threat—this one has venom that’s not very potent. We are told that contrary to what many think, you cannot remove the stinger to make a scorpion a safer pet, as that would kill it.
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