Frequently Asked Questions

What are your hours?

We are open on Mondays and Wednesday-Saturday from 12-8pm EST. 

Can you order (specific animal/specific supplies) for me?

Possibly. If your interested in placing a special order, stop in to our storefront to discuss specific requests. Generally for supplies, what we are able to order will be dependent on which brand the product comes from, and if we are able to get it from one of our distributors. When special ordering animals; there are a few common factors we look for:

Do you carry live feeders? What are your prices?

We do carry live crickets, mealworms, superworms, and dubia roaches. We do NOT stock live feeder mice or rats. For our full feeder menu and prices click here!

Do you carry turtles, small mammals, birds, live rats, or saltwater fish?

No. For varying reasons we do not stock these pets- and we have no plans to. However, we do stock supplies for a wide array of animals, such as turtles, so still check us out!

Do you carry mud puppies, box turtles, or northern salamanders?

NO! These species and others are native to Michigan, so though you may not realize, we can NOT sell these animals and never recommend them as pets. In Michigan, it is illegal to keep any native species in captivity regardless of how they were acquired. Animals born in the wild not only deserve to remain there, but it is also a serious risk to the animals health AND the surrounding ecosystems, to remove them from their wild environment. 

I, or someone I know, have a pet they are no longer able to care for. Can you take it?

We have a pet surrender form available at our storefront for anyone who is looking to re-home a reptile. We are glad to see the animals go on to new homes, and we are happy to care for them in the meantime. Please visit us in person to start this process. See above if the animal in question is a species native to Michigan- regardless of when or how it was obtained, we do not take in species native to Michigan.

My child is very interested in reptiles, but as a parent I have no experience keeping one as a pet, what do I need to know?

Firstly, you've got a really cool kid. Secondly, we know it may feel overwhelming, but we've got your back. We don't want to see an animal go into a home that isn't ready even more than you don't, so we're here for every question you may have. That being said, there is a lot to learn about how to care for a lizard or a snake, that you as the parent we are going to need to learn along with your child. Most of your questions are going to be about the type or kind that is "best" to start with, and what kind of supplies and costs go along with your pet. Beyond coming down to our storefront and chatting to us in person, we highly recommend taking advantage of the greatest tool at your disposal- the internet. Here are a few YouTube channels and websites that we recommend parents or first time owners check out:

I want to start breeding feeder insects, can you help?

Yes! We breed many of our own feeders here and are more than happy to show you how.

I want to start breeding reptiles, can you help?

YES! Northern Scales Reptiles started with the goal in mind of stocking the best bred animals, with the best care possible. In order to do that, we work heavily with the local breeders that we've been able to find in the area, and are always looking for more. Some of the animals you see at our storefront are bred right at Northern Scales, so whether it be snakes, geckos, tarantulas, or anything else we are happy to share what we know to help you get started.

What does "captive-bred" and "wild caught" mean?

If you aren't familiar with the reptile community, you probably aren't familiar with these terms, but they are super important. Unlike the domesticated dogs and cats we're used to seeing in the pet world, reptiles have a place in the world both naturally, and in captivity. Excuse the brief history lesson, we promise it's necessary. The first recorded burial of a dog took place an estimated 14,200 years ago, indicating they had begun being kept as pets. Cats are estimated to have been domesticated nearly 10,000 years ago. This means that tens of thousands years ago, humans had already began taking wild dogs and cats into captivity, and breeding them. Eventually, the need for removing the animal from the wild became impractical, as the wild population shrunk smaller and smaller from years of collection- and the captive population grew as more people began keeping them as pets. Presently, after so much time, we have the domestic cats and dogs that we know and love, that are unable, in most situations, to return to the wild and survive. 

Now, the first wave of reptiles being removed from the wild and kept as pets (not for show), is estimated at it's earliest to be in the 1940's- LESS THAN 100 YEARS AGO! This leaves the reptile community in the midst of some serious debates about ethics and environmental responsibility. You see, we have few relatives left of domestic dogs and cats in the wild, due to our removal. We've already seen that collecting reptiles from the wild, has seriously impacted wild populations, many already finding themselves on the endangered list. This isn't just horrific for that species, but for their entire habitat that is loosing a link of it's food chain. If that isn't reason enough, due to the unethical conditions and practices under which they are collected, wild caught reptiles are malnourished, dehydrated, sickly due to exposure, and overly stressed (especially towards humans) due to the capture process. These conditions in most cases lead to the animals passing long before their expectancy, if not soon after arrival. Captive bred animals come from parents that are themselves adult reptiles thriving in captivity, which allows the breeder to handle and care for the baby reptile since birth. This means the breeder essentially sets a good tone for what the animal can expect in captivity. This will include what they'll eat, how it's prepared, how often they'll eat, and most importantly, they breeder will teach them that they don't need to fear the large hairless monkey that's reaching into their space! This has shown to increase captive lifespans, decrease health complications, and overall allow for a positive mutual relationship between pet and owner.

In short, when buying and selling reptiles, an animal that is collected from it's native habitat is referred to as "wild caught" and an animal that is bred by animals that are already in captivity is "captive-bred". By purchasing only captive bred animals, the buyer protects the health and safety of the animal, ensures their purchase won't have a negative consequence to the animal's habitat, and supports ethical participants in the pet trade, further demotivating wild collectors. 

More Questions? No Problem!