Exotic Pets: the weird and wonderful

Chuck Gray holds his Argus monitor named Myron at his store the

Pet dogs, cats, horses and birds are fine, but in the world of
pets, they’re pretty tame.
Cheryl Behlmer, owner of All Beautiful Creatures pet-sitting
service in Gilroy, has seen a little slice of everything.
Pet dogs, cats, horses and birds are fine, but in the world of pets, they’re pretty tame.

Cheryl Behlmer, owner of All Beautiful Creatures pet-sitting service in Gilroy, has seen a little slice of everything.

“I had a bearded dragon that lost its skin once,” said Behlmer, who visits animals while their owners are out of town, feeding those that need it, dispensing medication, and supervising vet visits.

“One of my more interesting clients? I have a client who says their worms are their pets.”

More commonly, when people think of exotic pets, reptiles, fish and birds come to mind.

These animals often require special care, but owners enjoy their more unique looks.

An interest in breeding reptiles led Chuck and Laura Gray to open their pet store, the Reptile Ranch, located in Gilroy.

“We have 25 years of breeding the animals and the knowledge of caring for that animal,” said Chuck, who has begun sharing that tradition with a few of his younger clients.

“We had some kids who came in and bought monitors, but their moms wouldn’t let them keep ’em in the house.

They come every day to feed them, though, and I’ve started a breeding program to teach them how to breed these guys.”

White throat monitors are some of the most popular exotic pets in the South Valley, according to Chuck and Junior Zavala, assistant manager of Raven’s Pet Safari in Hollister.

The shops also stock a wide variety of snakes and other reptiles, from Burmese pythons, albino boas and king snakes to panther chameleons and iguanas. Raven’s also carries tarantulas.

“We get a lot of teachers in here,” said Zavala, who noted the store hopes to begin carrying large birds like macaw and African Gray parrots.

“They like to pick up things for their classes like millipedes and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.”

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