Best Pet Store - 2006
Readers' Choice: PetSmart
It's a little intimidating to walk into a store past tarantulas and scorpions situated right at the front door. But, after passing the creepy crawlies, you'll be dazed by the variety of creatures on display at Underground Reptiles. Poison dart frogs of the brightest blues and yellows, green iguanas, and yellow- and brown-striped baby leopard geckos fill cages on shelves throughout the store -- and those are the most common varieties. Besides the crunchy crickets and wiggly wax worms being sold for food, there's also a back corner where the dangerous serpents are kept, venomous snakes in secured terrariums. Want an odd feeling? Peer at the black mamba from only three feet with just a thin barrier of plexiglass protecting you, then turn around to see a cute half-dollar-sized baby tortoise. It was strangely unsettling when we did it. But cold-blooded critters are sometimes joined by their mammalian kin at Underground -- hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and other rare mammals. For the showstopper, there's a python big enough to eat your dog. The store will even bring out a slew of slithering friends for your kids' birthday party. Sssseriously.