Best Bets: Exotic Pet Stores in the Triangle
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
When you hear “exotic pet” you may think of the three animals exclaimed by Dorothy and the gang in the Wizard of Oz. Actually, a lot of animals are classified as such: snakes, spiders, and even hamsters make the cut. In short, if it is not a common domestic cat or dog, it probably falls in this category. In that line of thinking, even most big chain pet stores like PetSmart and Petco are considered exotic pet stores. While the Triangle does have both stores, we want to highlight six locally owned shops that specialize in unique animals.
Fish Room 6119 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27616
The name is a dead giveaway. Owner, Eric Fortune and staff “submerge” themselves in all things fish. From freshwater Albino Rainbow sharks to saltwater Banded Serpent starfish they have a massive collection of underwater organisms. Speaking of organisms, they also carry coral of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Did you know coral is an animal and not a plant? Don’t worry plant lovers, Fish Room also has a large array of live plants for your tank.
BeWild, Inc. Durham, NC
This small nonprofit focuses on providing affordable animal education while helping rescue reptiles and other critters. In addition, they provide an adoption program. Check out the “Quarantine” page to see who will be up for adoption soon. You may see a friend that slithers like a Ball python or a handheld munchkin like a Leopard gecko. Besides reptiles, you’ll also find the occasional tarantula or toad ready for a loving home.
Breadbox Farm 338 Wesley Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Bread adoption? No, you silly wabbit, they adopt rabbits. At this rabbitry they breed Netherland Dwarf rabbits which is the smallest domesticated rabbit, weighing in at 1.1 – 2.5 pounds. These little furry bunnies are up for adoption along with Breadbox’s rescues. You can fill out an application to have your own four legged hippity hop, but be aware that they take your adoption seriously, so make sure you are up for the task. Don’t worry, their website provides educational resources to get you started on the right path.
In & Between the Triangle
Aquarium Outfitters Carolina 823 S Main Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587
While the name gives away their primary focus, you’ll be surprised to find out that they also sell reptiles and arachnids. First, let’s dive into the deep end and look at their speciality…fish. In their weekly newsletter you’ll find a long list of only 5% of what they are carrying. Last week, this list included fresh water organisms like the Yo-yo loach and Bamboo shrimp and saltwater fish like the Pearlscale butterflyfish and the Clown triggerfish. Keep scrolling and keep your eyes peeled for the “Critters” section to find tarantulas, scorpions, snakes, and lizards. You can also check out their Facebook page for additional pictures and information.
Fintastic Aquariums of Wake County Inc 303 E Durham Road Suite A, Cary, NC 27513
Fantastic name, fintastic store! This exotic saltwater fish and coral retailer is located near the heart of downtown Cary. Follow their Facebook page to catch all the aquatic sea-life they are offering. Make sure to check out their selection of coral. Remind you of anything? Tie-dye shirts perhaps? The colorful coral display of Frags, Torches, and Duncans will leave you mesmerized. Try to snap out of it though because you also have to check out their fintastic fish from angel to goby.
Reef Keepers Aquarium, Inc. 1681 Old U.S. Highway 70, Clayton, NC 27520
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” Dory from Finding Nemo would love this next exotic pet store, Reef Keepers Aquarium, Inc. This shop specializes in all the hiding places Dory could possibly every want. From Acanthophyllia to Torch coral they have a variety of multicolored creatures for you to add to your home tank. If you are looking for fishy friends to join along, they also sell rare and exotic specimens. You may even be lucky enough to purchase a Clown fish like Nemo or a Paracanthurus hepatus like Dory.