Wimbledon warms to exotic animals as demand for unusual pets rises


One pet shop reports a rise in the sale of bearded dragons.


By Katherine Cowdrey and Daniel Sandford

Critters such as snakes and spiders are some of our greatest fears, but in Wimbledon this may no longer be the case as demand for exotic and unusual pets is rising.

Midge Patching, an employee at pet shop Creature Company, reveals that requests for unorthodox pets are becoming more commonplace.

“Five years ago it was a struggle to even sell a pair of (bearded) dragons in a year, now we sell two or three a month,” he said. 

The store also sells at least one tarantula a month, as well as scorpions and reptiles such as leopard geckos and snakes.

No animals in the store are poisonous – the more exotic inhabitants are actually deemed less dangerous than the hamsters for sale. However, should you wish to welcome a poisonous arachnid or reptile into your home, varieties can often be ordered on request.

Mr Patching professed his excitement at the store’s most recent acquisition, an African Pygmy Albino Hedgehog. The affectionate palm-sized breed, with a life-span of up to 12 years, was first bred into captivity in the United States 10 years ago and has become increasingly popular. Customers are willing to pay in the region of £200 (RRP) to own one, with an enclosure likely to set them back by the same amount again. 

Asked what he thought the reason behind this rising trend for the exotic could be, Mr Patching – all the while his pet ferret, Marble, draped snugly around his neck – said:

Often our customers are looking for something a bit different; for kids how awesome is it when they can tell their friends ‘Yeah I have a dragon!’ But it’s all age groups. People want pets as unique as they are.”

With customers keen to gain the bragging rights that exotic pets afford, giant spiders and ferrets on leashes may slowly become a less astonishing sight in future.

Photo courtesy of meantux, with thanks.

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