By Jeff Rebitski, Staff Writer

Watched with much anticipation, the small shop on Federal Blvd. next to the Dairy Queen has been changing for some time while the owners of the store, Rich and Kylie Troia prepared to open their Critters, Scales and Tails pet store.

The only store like it in Fremont County, this little shop provides life support for many pets, including a vast number of reptiles, fish, rodents and spiders. If it is small, furry or weird, they probably have it in this quaint little shop. 

Aquariums line some of the walls and bubble away, creating a soothing atmosphere while in another room there are reptiles, including several varieties of snakes and lizards. I gazed upon scorpions and even a tarantula that will take a special owner as they are not as popular as a puppy. Ferrets scurried around their cages in eager pursuit of who knows what while the hamsters peered out of their toilet paper tubes, curious about the commotion and sounds of people. 

The Troia’s and their daughter had spent a lot of time considering this endeavor before agreeing to embark on it in January. Renting the building was interesting as the landlord explained the pet restrictions, but an agreement was negotiated and they were off and running. The Troia’s also have another business that cleans carpets. Rug Doctor keeps them busy and they hope to find a suitable employee to take over that responsibility as their pet store grows in responsibility. 

I asked Rich about the animals and where they come from, he replied,”The fish we order from either California or Minnesota and are delivered as far as Casper. The reptiles are only allowed on Alaska Airlines and will only come as far as Billings. Rich obviously puts some miles on his car just to get these future pets to Riverton.

Both Rich and Kiley want to remind people that having a pet like the ones they carry is a huge responsibility even though they are small, some can live for many years. Turtles for instance can live for up to a hundred years and require placement in a last will and testament for continued care after the owner passes away. Proper care and feeding does cost some money, but proper planning and maintenance for your pet will reduce unexpected vet bills. 

Critters, Scales and Tails carries all the required cages and products to properly care for your new or old pet and they are happy to provide any advice needed to all pet owners in Fremont County. Simply call or stop by for questions and answers. If you always wondered about owning an exotic pet, they are also ready to help you make the right decision about species and or size that will best suit you.