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JUNE 2011

Exotic pet keeping in the north west

Teaching Awareness Animal Workshops in Birchwood The big question What is “exotic”?

Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge: Marmosets, Meerkats and much more

Contents Regulars Pet News


Upcoming events




Your Photos


JUNE 2011


Features Monkeying Around... Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge


Defining ‘Exotic’


Of Mongeese and Meerkats


EDITORIAL Welcome to this months issue of Tame magazine; as usual we have strived to deliver an exciting isse full of the most important an interesting news happening in the pet-keeping world. This issues features starts off with an exploration of one of the north-wests lesser known secrets. Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge, located in Warrington is well worth the visit. As the article hopefully points out, there is much more to the place than lizard-keeping; the shop is a home for animals of all walks of life. It also raises many questions about the state of exotic pet keeping as it is today, which is explored later in this very issue.

The term “exotic” is always a difficult one with numerous meanings; you may be surprised at what others will consider to be an “exotic” pet. This month, to highlight this difficult issue, we take a look at two more unusual choices of animal companionship; the mongoose and the meerkat. These two creatures are becoming highly popular as household pets - no doubt encouraged by certain car insurance adverts on the television! Hopefully we’ll also increase awareness about what it takes to care for such an unusual and energetic animal. As with many animals shown in this magazine, great care and research into your chosen pet’s needs will go along way to ensuring a happy and healthy pet. You can never be too knowledgeable. As usual, feel free to tell us what you think, or if you have any news to share. We all love to hear about your pets, so e-mail in anything from your opinons or photographs of your animals and their cages/ set-ups. Enjoy this months issue of Tame, and we’ll see you in July for another issue of exciting animal news!

Welcome to this months issue of Tame magazine; as usual we have delivered an exciting issue full of the most important and interesting news in the pet-keeping world.

This issues features starts off with an exploration of one of the north-wests lesser known secrets. Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge, located in Warrington is well worth the visit. As the article hopefully points out, there is much more to the place than lizard-keeping. It is also raises many questions about the state of exotic pet keeping today, which is explored later in this very issue.

The term “exotic” is always a difficult one with numerous meanings, you may be surprised at one others wll consider to be an “exotic” pet. This month we take a look at two more unusual choices of animal companionship; the mongoose and the meerkat. These two creatures are becoming highly popular - no doubt encouraged by certain car insurance adverts! Hopefully we’ll also increase awareness about what it takes to care for such unusual and energetic pets. As with any of the animals shown in this magazine, great care and research into your chosen pets needs will go along way to ensuring a happy and healthy pet.


TAME magazine Contact us on

Edward Marsh Editor

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Call us on 01925 123 456

See more articles on

*all photographs by Edward Marsh


JUNE 2011


A pet store in Birchwood has began pet workshops to educate children about keeping animals. Pets at Home, located in Birchwood shopping centre, now offers workshops on the various animals in store. The first of which have focused on degus.

The degu workshops are being run by store employee, Dave Partner. “They call me Degu Dave, as I have quite a few at home, so I offered to run the workshop” said Mr. Partner. The store aims to run at least one workshop a month; this involves letting people have supervised contact with the pets as well talk about looking after them with children. “We often sit the children down and discuss with them the needs of the pet” added Mr. Partner, “We like to promote awareness for their requirements. Its not just about the cage or the animal, its about nutritional needs, how to feed and make sure they’re healthy”

“Degus are great pets, they’re very lively and are always happy to see you if you spend enough time with them, but they do have special requirements. They need a large enough cage to be able to run around, and we can show you the reasonable sized cage that we would recommend for a group of degus.” Degus, medium sized rodents that originate from south America, are social animals that require a large space to house several degus at once, it is recommended they are not kept individually The store plans to run further workshops on different animals, primarily focusing on their small pet section, which includes guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits. “Hopefully we’ll focus on the guinea pigs, we have alot of them in stock right now, they’re very popular” added Mr. Partner. “Anyone interested in such a pet should attend the workshop, its a good chance to learn about them and an opportunity to introduce them to your children before buying” “They’re all very popular with children” commented Mr. Partner, “but its

Pictured: A staff memeber holding a young degu during one of the workshops important we teach them the responsibilites involved before taking one of them on”. The Birchwood store also sells tropical fish, but does not sell reptiles unlike other pets at home stores. There are curretly no plans to feature either in any future workshops. Pets at home were asked to comment on wether this would become a common a monthly scheme in other stores throughout the nation-wide franchise, but have so far not this has not been commented on.

For more information on the next available workshop the store can be contacted directly on 0 1 9 2 5 8 5 2 7 3 4 . General information about the store can be found on w w w. p e t s a t h o m e . c o m


A Warrington animal shelter is still seeking new homes for small animals.

The RSPCA shelter, located at Slutchers Lane, still has numerous animals that need re-homing. Many have been at the shelter since the post-christmas period. “Christmas is one of the busier times” said an RSPCA spokesperson, “we always try to find them good homes” “The public are welcome to come in and have a look” The small animal section in the shelter holds numerous hamsters, rats, gerbils, birds, rabbits and guinea pigs. Many are unwanted christmas presents but can not be returned to the pet store. Others have simply been returned or , in more rare cases, found abandoned. Whilst the animals are not free, as basic care and health costs need to be recovered, the animals are not over-priced. Many of the pets available may also require a home visit from an RSPCA officer, to make sure the new potential home is suitable for the new pet, before the adoption can take place. The shelter also has a dog pound and cat nursery, and members of the public are encouraged to visit these as well when looking for a new pet. For those wishing to donate for the continuing care for these animals, and the support the RSPCA offers, the shelter also has charity stores throughout the Warrington area. The RSPCA is a charity service and runs off public donations. For more information, the shelter is open daily, except tuesdays until 4 pm and is open to visitors. It can also be called directly on 01925 632944.

Pictured: A homeless rat, one of the many animals still seeking a new home.

Alternatively they can be accessed at www. r sp cawar r i n g t o For more information on the RSPCA visit www. r sp ca. o rg . u k

TAME magazine



JUNE 2011

This months events; whats happening in the pet keeping world and where to find it. 12th June




Leeds 12th Annual Fancy Rat Breeding Context

Harpoole Road, Leeds

14th June

Red Iguana showcase and breeding conference

Carling Academy, Manchester

14 - 16th June

Royal Python exhibition and sale

Corner Exotics, Warrington

18th June stock clearance sale.

20th June

Exotic Expo

MEN Arena, Manchester

21st June

22nd June

Meerkat Madness

24th June

Snake Workshops

24th June

Tropical Fish Workshops

TAME magazine

Corner Exotics, Warrington

Your Letters

JUNE 2011

Another round up of the best letters received at the Tame office this month. Got something to say? E-mail us at Dear Tame,

To Tame,

Thank you for last months amazing issue. Whilst I enjoyed reading it immensly, I have a few issues. Firstly, you reported that Red Iguanas are not interbreedable with Green Iguanas. This is not true as I have encountered many Red-Green hybrids. Secondly, I think this magazine needs more photographs of animals, its difficult to understand the exact species, photographs make this issue much more clear.

I really enjoyed last months issue, keep up the good work! I think its great you promote the exotic pet community and the various societies that we have here in the north

To whom it may concern,

Can you make an effort to promote local breeders in your magazine? I am a breeder of boas and pythons, I have many pets for sale but find it difficult to advertise my stock to the right audience Thank you I feel your magazine is in touch with the right community and to Joe H utilise this would be of great help to me and others. Tame Offices, If this is possible, please let me know. I would like to raise an important issue. As a breeder of leaopMary, ard geckos, it surprises me the Yours Sincerly, Mike G. amount of ‘breeders’ that do ont Stockport understand genetics Tame Magazine, It would be of great benefit if To the editor, this magazine was to explain how Once again, great issue last genetics work, both breeders and What are the fundemental differmonth. I’m really starting to enjoy casual pet keepers breed animals, ences between turtles and torthis magazine and the articles and it helps to know what genes toise? featured within. are dominant and what can be I have had several of both for However, would it be possible expected from a specific pairing. many years now, and apart from to feature more articles about the obvious aquatic and land mammals? I know there are sever- Thank you in advance, preferences, the exact difference al interesting species out there that between the two isn’t exactly could be considered exotic; the Kenneth clear. Where do I draw the line? hedgehog, marmoset and meerkat My razorback musk, for example, spring to mind. has claws on its flippers and is Dear Tame, It would be very useful to me well at home on land as well as in if you could feature this as I am Are Zebras an exotic pet? Or do water, yet it is a turtle? interested in purchasing one. I hope this issue could feature in we just count them as horses? Besides this, I really enjoy the a future issue, as I’m sure I am not magazine, keep up the good work! Yes, it is legal to own a zebra in the only one who is confused by Looking forward to the next the united kingdom, it has be done this, or has at least wondered. issue, I hope it involves more before mammals. Keep up the magazine! Adios

Thanks Magnus K, Liverpool

Jenny Horsebreeder

Jerome W Pet Enthusiast TAME magazine


YOUR Infant Coatimundi from Bob in Liverpool

Once again, more photographs of your wonderful pets found throughout the north west. Want to see your photo here? E-mail us at photos@tamemag.

Fluffy the skunk, sent in by Tom, Manchester

Dave’s new Ganet, not yet named. suggestions?


TAME magazine

PHOTOS Baby Bearded Dragons, bred by Joe & Linda, Birchwood

More next month!

Iggy, an Chinese Water Dragon, basking on his favourite branch. Sent to us by Iain, from Leeds


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s a town, Warrington has a big, if hidden, pet community. It has several pet stores selling both regular and exotic species. However, by far the most impressive, is Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge, located outside of the town in Padgate. Leeroy’s relocated to its bigger location at Padgate Lane in November and it is easy to see why. Leeroy Sherratt, who owns the store and lives locally, needed the space for the vast amount of pets available. “Its choice” said Mr Sherratt, “I wanted to offer as wide a range as I could. We already have shops that sell your usual pet animals; hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits, but I’ve always been interested in the alternatives out there. Warrington didn’t have a store like that”

Exotic Pets

According to Mr Sherratt, the most popular animal is the bearded dragon, an increasingly common household reptile, although Leeroy’s offers plenty more choice; lizards, venomous and non-venomous snakes, arachnids, marmosets, bats and crocodilians can all be found. The staff work regularly with local vets to ensure the animals are in their best health. The website also features additional animals, which can be brought into the store through various breeders and contacts when a specifically bred creature is needed.

The store is also open for people to come in and take a look around. As the website proclaims, “Come along and see some animals you would normally only find in a zoo”. Leeroy’s is also home to both Nelson the African Grey Parrot, who is very friendly with customers, and Fifi the European skunk.

Conservation and Rescue The shop also spearheads an animal conservation project. Mr Sherratt houses two ring-tailed lemur’s upstairs, which are not available as pets. “They’re not my pets” commented Mr. Sherratt, “They’re a conservation project. There’s an estimated 2000 left in the wild,we have more in captivity so I help breed them. I’m in contact with other breeders and we do what we can” A similar breeding programme is underway with the cotton-eared marmoset, but this is not an endangered species and is readily available

“I’ve always been interested in the alternatives out there. Warrington didn’t have a

The staff take great care with these creatures, and meet all and any of their nutritional and temperature requirements. Likewise, additional care and responsibility is taken to make sure they go to the right owners. “We’re more than happy to talk and give advice on keeping them, but we’re very careful who we give pets to. For example, the venomous snakes require a license, which we will check through the council before handing over.”

“Likewise, we’ll also perform house checks when people want to buy any of our mammals. We’ll go to their house and make sure it suits the animals needs, and that there are no risks. We’ll also do the same for some of the larger snakes, such as the pythons and boas, who need the space” Besides the animals themselves, Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge also stocks and sells a wide range of cages and vivariums, as well as food designed for exotic ani-

8 TAME magazine

mals,. This includes a large variety of live insects, such as locust, grubworms and meal worms. Leeroy’s ensures that all the food needs for the pets sold in the store can also be found within. They also sell books, clothing and other related materials.

costs of feeding them”

and legal as a pet in the UK.

In a similar effort, the store has opened an animal rescue service. The store aims to take in and find new homes for unwanted pets, as well as injured animals that can not be released back into the wild for health or legal issues. “We currently have some young grey squirrels” said Mr. Sherratt on the new initative. The squirrels were found abandoned, the mother most likely killed. “They legally can not be re-released, and the vet was going to put them down so I took them off his hands. We’ll keep them until we find someone who can take care of them. We also have terrapin turtles that need a new home too. We try not to charge money for these, but we may need to cover the

Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge is open every day of the week, but has extended hours on weekdays so customers can visit after work hours.

Shop Profile 01925 259008

AROUND... “They’re a conservation project. There’s an estimated 2000 left in the wild”

Above: One of the ringtailed lemurs being bred as part of the conservation project to preserve the species. They are not available for purchase as pets and require a license to breed them.

Left: A cotton-eared Marmoset, one of the more unusual mammals sold in store which will often require a home visit from one of the staff before purchasing. They often have special requirements, such as heating and a large amount of space.

TAME magazine 9



‘‘ E X O T I C ’’ DRAWING THE LINE BETWEEN ‘EXOTIC’ AND ‘SMALL’ PETS: OR DO THE TWO OVERLAP? By Edward Marsh It may not be an obvious question, but it is important; what defines an ‘exotic’ pet? It is an important question because the word exotic often denotes an animal with special needs, or extra care, as opposed to a normal, or more conventional animal. For example, one of the earliest definitions of exotic is of an animal that originates from another country. This months profiled shop keeper, Leeroy Sherrat, believes this view. “quotey quote quote” However, pets at home, the largest pet chain in the UK, operates under a different viewpoint. The franchise seperates its livestock between fish, reptiles and ‘small pets’. Small pets in essence is the opposite of ‘exotic’. It focuses on mammallian species. The issue with this is that ‘small animal’ implies simplicity, an animal that is easy to care for. This obviously gives it an advantage over an exotic choice. The problem with this is ‘small animal’ is such a loose category. The flemish giant, for instance, is a large breed of rabbit. It is neither big or simple to look after. It has various needs and health issues due to its size, in addition to its large dietry needs. Pets at Home were asked to comment on the issue but have not replied. One store worker, Dave Partner from Warrington, was available to comment. “Pets at Home specialise in small pets” said Mr. Partner, “this generally includes small animals and are the more popular choice for families and small children”

Pictured: The Mongolian Gerbil, or Clawed Jird, was originally considered an exotic creature. Now a common household pet, much more knowledge exists on them. So, do we now no longer categorised or consider small pets as ‘exotic’? This highlights the problem perfectly, the subtle suggestion that these animals are easier to keep makes them a favourite with familes. Although this may sometimes be the case, it results in many missing out on the opportunity of a greater pet experience with an animal more suited to their needs and lifestyle. At the very least, the choice should be made more aware of. On the other hand, there are benefits to this. Being reffered to as exotic and high-maintenance means many will often take greater research and consideration before purchasing such an animal. On the other hand, many small animals are often returned or abandoned because owners were not aware of what they were getting into. Just visit any RSPCA centre, the small animal section is as busy as the dog kennels. The RSPCA was contacted for figures on this issue, as well as where exotic pets, such as lizards and snakes, that need re-homing are temporarily housed, but declined. The solution? There is no definitive answer; whilst stores like pets at home can arguably encourage better choice, the ultimate decision still lies with the potential owner. Knowledge of more exotic creatures, such as iguanas and snakes, is becoming more and more common. Animals often blur as time progresses; the mongolian gerbil, for instance, was originally brought over during the 1940’s and, airing from arid plains, was considerd an ‘exotic’ alternative. Now it is a common household pet no more unusual than a cat or dog. To summarise, both ‘small animal’ and ‘exotic’ are just labels, they only guide the decisions of people who should be more knowledgeable anyway.

Have your say... What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Pictured: Pytons, like most snakes, can be considered the more typical “exotic” example; their temperature and feeding needs, plus the wide range of sizes and colours, marks them out from normal “small” mammalian pets

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Want to share your opinion? Contact us at

Pictured: A pet meerkat at home in a custom built vivarium.

& Mongeese

Of Meerkats

An example of a more unusual ‘exotic’ pet, a closer look at two increasingly popular animals; the meerkat and mongoose. By Edward Marsh The meerkat and the mongoose, both members of the family Herpestidae, are increasingly popular. They are often classed as “exotic” pets due to their specific needs and requirements. Although they look similar, there are many important differences between the two. Leeroy Sherratt, owner of Leeroy’s Lizard Lounge in Warrington, sells and breeds both meerkats and mongeese. Both are legal, and require no licenses, but there is very little common knowledge on the keeping of such unusual creatures. “They’re great pets” said Mr. Sherratt, “They

can be very friendly when use to you, but there are some key differences between the two”

Mongeese The dwarf mongoose is the common pet variety found in the UK. It is a smaller species of mongoose, with a dark brown coat. It can be kept by itself or in groups. “They’re very social animals” said Mr. Sherratt, “they love company, it doesnt matter if its a human or another mongoose”. However, as with most social animals, more time will be needed to spend with your pet if it is housed by its own. Animals

The Dwarf Mongoose, pictured, like the Meerkat is a very social animal and often requires the company of other mongeese or its owner. Lone mongeese are often at risk of developing stress

such as the mongoose often tend to become very stressed when kept on their own, likewise out of boredom. Grouping also has its own problems. . Like most group animals, introducing new members at later stages can disrupt the group hiearchy, leading to fighting. “They need to be brought together or introduced early” said Mr. Sherratt “Its not common, but its still an issue” As for houseing itself, the size of the home will depend on the number of mongoose kept. They can be kept in either vivariums or cages, provided there is plenty of space and ventilaton. Although they can be kept in vivariums, temperature is not an issue.

Meerkats Meerkats, however, are a much newer pet in the UK. It is recommended that they be kept in groups, although it has been known to keep individuals. “They act very much like they do in the wild” commented Mr. Sherratt, who owns several meerkats, “They’ll take turns watching out, and will look after each other. This includes the owner” “They need a large space so they can look out and have somewhere to hide when they get scared”. Meerkats also don’t eat when on watch ‘shifts’, and often need to eat straight after. Having just one meerkat, therefore, can be quite stressfull if it decides to stand on its shift for too long. Their diet is also complex, ranging from dry cat food to fresh fruit and vegetables. Since the species is still new on the pet keeping scene, there is still some debate on the correct diet and feeding methods, what is known is that meerkats still retain their instinct to forage and dig when outside. Sand is also recommend to help recreate an aird environment, such as those found in the wild. Like the mongoose, however, they are very social and can show alot of affection towards their owner, provided time and attention is spent with the animal. The RSPCA were asked to comment on the suitability of meerkats and the possible re-homing rates, but have yet to comment.

TAME magazine


Edward Marsh Magazine  

Animal Workshops in Birchwood Teaching Awareness The big question What is “exotic”? Exotic pet keeping in the north west JUNE 2011 £1.50

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