Texas is an odd state where you can have almost any pet without too much (if any) trouble. And when I say any pet I mean things that should be in zoos… monkeys, lemurs, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! I also had seen this one pet shop in Houston online that seemed to have the most bizarre things, little mammals I had never heard of (and I’ve been in the hobby a looong time, it takes a lot too stump me!) People seemed happy with this place too according to the reviews. I thought Ishould visit at least one pet shop on my travels anyway.
I did not expect it to be situated in the middle of a trailer park. The place was small, much smaller than I expected, it was… a normal pet store. I walked around anyway. They had such a lovely variation of reptiles, including the cutest baby tortoises you could ask for and a lizard that I swear to god just skittered in from Jurassic Park. Reptiles were the one kind of house pet I’d never had. Still lizards fascinate me and the snakes were rather cool too. Too many pythons though, I really don’t like the idea of selling a little snake that grows up to be aggressive and 18 feet long. Sigh.
Finally I wandered to another corner and found the mammals. This is what I was here for! There was someone here handling some sort of Asian ground squirrel. In cages there were a couple degus, another squirrel, some very healthy looking furless and furred rats, some skinny pigs, a kinkajou and a lemur. Texas is the only state in which lemurs are legal to own as pets as far as I know. Kinkajous are only legal to keep in a handful of states. I was slightly disappointed. I sorta wanted to see some of the really unusual things this place often had on their website… like capybaras, pacas, or maras, or something I’d never heard of and couldn’t identify (like the one fossa fossa I found on an ad one day.) Still it was sort of neat…
Then I saw what I came to see. Just outside, behind a fence, there was a young lion, no more than 3 or 4 years old, and apparently his mate, a large orange tiger. apparently hybrids were legal here too. It was pretty amazing, seeing two large cats living not only in someone’s back yard but in a trailer park in Houston. I’m all for exotic (domestically bred) pets, but even this is too far for me! Still, the animals at the shop, including the cats were very robust and healthy. Everyone looked great. They even had classically fussy animals like chameleons and sugar gliders that looked very healthy. And let me tell you the furless rats didn’t have a scratch on them! That’s an accomplishment! And I know because they were my favorite breeding project once.
I left the shop only to find a large tortoise wandering the yard and the three micro-mini potbelly pigs in a pen. They were so cute! She said they only got to be about 35 pounds. Man if I had a place of my own, with a nice yard, and this little shop were closer that would have been super tempting. The largest was a salt and pepper gray with a little white star. So cute. Its been way too long since I’ve seen piggies.
On the way out I got to witness one of the funniest sights I had yet seen – it was a couple, the man obviously a stoner, grinning ear to ear, a lemur on a leash going bat shit crazy in his car, his girlfriend looking disgruntled like, “Why did you just buy a fucking monkey?! Now I can’t even get into the car!”
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