City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Exotic Family Pet

A family shares their love for the shelled and scaly variety of exotic reptile pets.

What sparked your interest in having reptiles as pets?

When I was younger I held a Ball Python at the Orange County Fair, and I heard a lot of the typical reactions that, to me, sounded insulting, like, “Ewww! How can you hold that thing? How could you even like that?” And all I could think was, “How could you say that to such an adorable cuddly animal?” From then on, I was hooked on reptiles, and my passion eventually led to working in the reptile industry. Most people just have no idea how unique and amazing snakes, lizards, and tortoises really are.

What kinds of exotic pets do you own?

I currently have Blue Tongue Skinks, turtles and tortoises, an Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, some Ball Pythons, and Hognose snakes. Currently the most exotic thing I personally own is a Northern Blue-Tongue Skink, a lizard species indigenous to Australia. One of the biggest females I have acquired is named Lightning, who is seven years old, and she shares a cage with her sister. She is an incredible pet who loves to cuddle with blankets. Their most unique physical feature is of course their jet-blue tongue, which they proudly display when they feel threatened or unsure of their surroundings, and to fend off or warn predators.  

How do you and your family take care of their special needs?

Blue-Tongues need UV lighting to make sure their bones grow nice and strong, and a heat light to stay nice and toasty at around 80-90 degrees. Reptiles are cold blooded, so their body temperature is whatever the ambient air temperature is. They eat daily a variety of raw meats like ground turkey and chicken liver, sweet fruits, cat food, and sometimes small rodents. Their cage should be as close to their natural environment as possible with lots of places to hide, proper humidity, and warm temperature levels. Once you get everything set up, though, they are really not hard to take care of at all.   

Tell us about Reptile Island!

My father, Chris Giacoletti, was in the reptile industry for many years surveying wild population growth, maintaining habitat conservation, and providing animals to major motion pictures. Together we opened Reptile Island in 1994 with locations in Yorba Linda and Stanton, offering birthday parties and an incredibly large selection of animals, cages, supplies, and staff to educate and prepare people for owning their very own reptile. 

Check out Reptile Island at 3960 Prospect Ave, Ste. S, Yorba Linda, or call (714) 524-8442 for more information.

  • Nicole Giacoletti holds Lightning, one of her family's pets they call "cuddly and sweet."