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Unbreakable bonds: Residents share what they love about their unique pets |


Karma’s a Fish owner Ron Adamski shows off a snake that is for sale at his pet store. He said there is a high demand for people wanting unique or excotic pets. He said anyone wanting to get a lizard or snake, should research them before buying.

ALPENA — Dogs and cats are the pet of choice for many people wanting to add an animal to their family, but there are many people who choose to have more unique pets, such as lizards, snakes, turtles, and spiders.

It is a growing trend, one local pet store owner in Alpena said.

People who own exotic pets say they have strong bonds with them and their pets have personalities, moods and emotions like cats and dogs.

Ron Adamski, owner of Karma’s a Fish in Alpena, said people come from all over the region to purchase the small reptiles, amphibians and other critters in his store. He said people like having animals few others have, and select them for various reasons such as ease of care, cost, and uniqueness.

“People like having pets that are out of the mainstream and different,” Adamski said. “I think more people around here are buying them because we’re here now and they don’t have to travel out of town, or order online. Many are affordable and easy to take care of, and the demand is pretty high for things like a bearded dragon.”

Courtney Gagnon holds a blue Iguana while at the pet store on Monday. She said the animal only had three legs, but was friendly and would make a good pet.

Patti Grochowski and her children have a baby corn snake, a California king snake that is about four or five feet long, and a leopard gecko as pets. She said her kids love the animals, but admitted that some people think it is odd to own those types of pets.

Grochowski said the animals are gentle with the children and each has its own personality.

“They are good with the kids. They don’t bite, they don’t scratch, they are safe, and they are easy to care for,” she said. “They are just like any other animal, they have their own characteristics. Our bigger snake is more active than the baby, and the gecko really likes attention and wants to be in the spotlight.”

Grochowski said if she were to purchase another exotic animal, it would be an iguana.

“The kids think they are pretty cool and eventually we want to get one,” she said.

Makayla Grochowski, left, Kiara Grochowski ,center, and Tori Grochowski show off the family’s pet snakes. The large one is a California king snake, and the other a baby corn snake.

Jesika Brown, of Alpena, has one of the calmest pets a person could want in her ball python named Ru, and most energetic in her ferret, Noodles.

Brown said Noodles is constant entertainment for her because he is a “spaz” and likes to play, run, and jump from the minute he is left out of his cage. On the flip side, Brown said, when she needs to ease stress, or wants to relax peacefully, her snake helps her to accomplish that.

“If I’m having a bad day, or need a laugh, I pull out Noodles and he brightens my day,” Brown said. “Ru is so relaxing and so loving. A lot of people cuddle their cats, I cuddle my snake when I need some loving attention. I give him little kisses and he’s amazing.”

Adamski said before people purchase a exotic pet, they should do research so they know what to expect when they are brought home.

“Learn how to take care of it and you can find that all online,” he said. “You want to know how that animal is going to be when it grows up? How big is it going to get? How much is it going to cost to care for? You have to look at the big picture and into the future when you decide to get a pet.”



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Unbreakable bonds: Residents share what they love about their unique pets |

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