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About Town

Snakes and Skinks and Tegus, Oh My!

By Joyce Coulson

Zoo Nights are back at Savage Serpents at 1307 Adams Avenue in La Grande!

Starting in February, on the first and third Saturdays of the month, Savage Serpents has been halting normal sales and charging an admission fee of $4.00, allowing exotic pet animal lovers and those who are curious to interact with all of the Savage Serpent animal ambassadors in the shop. The first Zoo Night was on February 3rd during the normal store hours of 1:00 to 6:30 PM.

I have a special love for snakes and have had two boa constrictor companions in my younger years. So, I pop into Savage Serpents every chance I can. I figured I could get my reptile fix and help out a great cause at the same time. The proceeds from these events will go toward owner Allyson Smith’s rescue/501c3 efforts for exotic pet animals in the area.

Tucked into a charming storefront on Adams Avenue in La Grande, Savage Serpents is probably the most unique shop in Union County. Owner Allyson Smith has a wide selection of reptiles and amphibians, as well as bunnies and birds, on offer along with all of the supplies to give each of these lovely creatures the great life they deserve.

Occasionally though, it doesn’t quite work out with pet parenthood for some in the area and Allyson has been stepping up to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home for years. Last year alone, she has given over 300 animals a second chance at a new life.

Allyson began her local journey with Petsense in 2018 where, as the store manager, she expanded the store’s resources for reptile owners in Union County and sought to educate people about reptiles through interactions with them. It was then she discovered the need for rescue services, as folks surrendered their reptiles that they were no longer able to care for.

With the opening of her brick and mortar, Savage Serpents, in 2022, Allison has continued those efforts with ever-increasing vigor. Zoo Nights now gives everyone a chance to get up close and personal with such stars as Hondo, the Argentinian Black and White Tegu, Vader, the Blue-Tailed Skink, Vision, the corn snake, and Jabba, the Leatherback Bearded Dragon.

I found small dark tan boa constrictor with what looked like small yellow hearts on its length and immediately fell in love. But it was not to be. The great majority of my cats would not be happy and a couple of them would just think it was another toy. Oh well, I can always visit.

Interacting with each of these delightful creatures will give anyone a new appreciation of reptiles. Zoo Nights is not only a fun time for everyone, but the proceeds help give other exotic pet animals in Union County the great life they deserve.

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