Gecking Out


In North Platte, we have only one pet store, All Pets. From here to Grand Island, there are five, and I have visited all of them. Petsense, Earl May’s, Petco, Pet Kingdom, and All Pets. So, how does our local pet shop stand compared to others? I’d say somewhere in the middle.

All Pets was the first place I visited. It has birds, fish, hamsters, and reptiles. I researched animal care thoroughly before beginning this trip so that I could compare what I know with what I see at the pet stores. The fish were all kept with compatible fish and in correct temperatures. The birds seemed lively and the hamsters had just had babies. The only concern I had whatsoever was with the reptiles that were being kept. It just so happened that I had brought with me reptile enthusiast, senior Jensen Crow. “I understand that they’re temporary enclosures, however, I think they should be kept at moderately the right conditions in terms of things like humidity and thermal gradients.” Crow said.

The next place we visited was a pet store in Kearney, called Pet Kingdom. They kept fish, reptiles, and some small mammals. When we asked questions about their animals, the employees were very helpful. This is probably my favorite pet store because of how personable and knowledgeable they were. There was also a wide variety of all their animals. We ended up buying a spider morph ball python here.

After that, we went to Kearney’s Earl May’s. They had birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles. Everything here was very expensive, and nothing was kept in the best conditions, but it was very clean at least. They also had a lot of variety in their animals, and it was the only place I got to see a chameleon. It was also the only place that I saw tarantulas.

We finally made it to Grand Island and the first place we went was a store called PetSense. For the most part, they carried supplies and ran a grooming business, but at the front of their store, they had a couple leopard geckos and a bearded dragon. The geckos were very young, and while they were only $20, they didn’t look super healthy, but the woman we spoke to seemed to know a decent amount about the care that they needed and truthfully told people how difficult it could be to raise reptiles.

The very last place we visited was Petco. This was the only big name pet store we visited, and we ended up leaving with a baby leopard gecko. I asked where they buy all their animals and all I got back was a vague, unsure response. “We buy from various retailers around the country,” said Whitney, the Petco employee who helped us purchase the gecko. I asked this because I was under the impression that they bought from pet mills, based on expose videos that have been posted on the internet in the past, so I still don’t know for sure. All the tanks the animals were kept in were clean, and it seemed like they had what they needed, but as we were buying the gecko, we were only asked if we had a light for the gecko. In truth, geckos don’t need heat lamps, only heat mats, and beyond that, she made no attempts to try and inform us on how to care for the critter before we took him home, so I was a bit disappointed in that.

Overall, All Pets is not the best, but also not the worst. Every store had pros and cons, but my favorite is definitely Pet Kingdom in Kearney. If you’re looking to become a pet owner, there really is no best choice, you just have to know what you want. Just make sure to keep yourself informed before buying a pet and try not to impulsively buy reptiles.