OVER fifteen hundred years since St. Patrick is reputed to have banished snakes from Ireland one can only wonder how the patron saint would now react to the appearance in south Fermanagh of a whole host of weird and wonderful reptiles, including pythons, dragons, boas and geckos, following the recent opening of an Aquatic & Exotic Pet Store in Kinawley by Enniskillen man, Raymond Bell.
Thirty-year-old Raymond, a former gardener and handyman, has re-located to Derrymackin, having operated for a short while in Enniskillen, citing rent and other costs as the reason for his move to the tranquil rural setting at the very end of the Clonliffe Road from where he now supplies to customers from as far afield as Dublin, Derry and Sligo and even Kenya.
Raymond, who says he has always kept fish himself from a young age, has “a basic interest in and knowledge of animals” and now stocks a wide variety of unusual pets ranging from clownfish, butterflyfish, catfish, snakes, dragons, stick insects, to birds and small pets such as budgies, canaries, rabbits, hamsters, rats and mice.
He operates on a wholesale basis too, supplying smaller, independent pet stores being, “one of only three stores in Ireland to import our all our fish”, as well as offering tank maintenance and boarding of reptiles and small pets’ services, also bringing exotic pets around schools for children to see and hold, something he describes as “very enjoyable and educational, children really love it, good fun for them”.
Revealing that his favourite pet is an Asian green bassick, better known as the ‘Jesus lizard’ due to its ability to walk on water, Raymond who doesn’t keep any venomous creatures as “you are sure to get bitten and then you have to pay for the antidote”, is very pleased with the success of his Kinawley move and St. Patrick is likely smiling too.
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