While looking for something interesting to do the other evening, I ventured into a new store I have been meaning to check out for quite some time.
It's called BJ's Little Rodents & Reptiles and it is located at 18 Main St. in Chelmsford.
I must admit to being a little hesitant before heading inside, as I heard they had a large inventory of slithery snakes and big hairy spiders; of which I tend not to be a big fan.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the store were two crocodiles, and from there, my gaze rested upon a cage where a pair of lemurs named Junior and Juliet live.
I met store manager, Mathieu Desrosiers, who gave me a guided tour through the store and held all the animals I asked him to, so I could take some photographs. He was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and answered all my questions, such as what all the animals were, where they came from, life expectancy, etc. I was able to touch the animals, but the only one I chose to touch was a soft and furry Lemur.
I photographed everything from a kinkajou to iguanas, blood pythons, parrots, turtles, a sugar glider, a pink-toed tarantula, as well as Asian emperor scorpions and geckos, to name just a few. If you're looking for a pet that's a little less mainstream, this is definitely the place for you.
I enjoyed watching the parrots and cockatoos and fell in love with a pretty parakeet called a sun conure, with its colours of bright yellow, orange and green. What a treat to photograph!
The manager's three-year-old son, also named Matthieu, was also in the store at the time of my visit. I was surprised how comfortable young Matthieu was with the critters; gleefully holding a large albino snake as it was wrapped around his shoulders under the watchful eye of his dad.
Later, I photographed him holding a sizable Asian emperor scorpion in his little hands, a scorpion which I am sure would make most grown men cringe, but young Matthieu had a huge smile on his face. His dad explained to me that Matthieu already has four pet snakes at home and loves to handle all the exotic pets available for purchase at BJ's Little Rodents & Reptiles.
I had two heart-stopping moments while in the store. Once when Mathieu Sr. was holding a Guyana pink-toe tarantula in his hand. As I was zooming in to take a photo, the spider jumped towards me and then fell to the floor.
The other fear-filled moment happened as young Matthieu was holding a snake, I was crouched in front of him taking pictures and he began to walk towards me with it! That will get the blood flowing pretty quick!
I have to say, this is one of the best pet stores I have ever been in. The manager was really friendly, knowledgeable and helpful and the experience was as interactive as it could be, with my fear of snakes and big, hairy spiders. He explained to me that some of the reptiles are obtained locally, as pets are surrendered to them by people who are no longer able to keep them for various reasons.
You can find their Facebook group by searching BJ's Little Rodents & Reptiles.
BJ's Little Rodents and Reptiles is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Birthday parties can be hosted either on-site or at your location. For more information, contact BJ's Little Rodents & Reptiles at 705-855-5091. It is worth checking out.
To see the pictures that I took during my tour through the store, visit www.janetyoungphotography.com.
Janet Young is an amateur photographer who likes to share community events with Sudburians.