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Who We Are: Our Story of How We Got to Where We Are Now

At The Reptile Nook, we have a passion for educating people about reptiles and even helping people face their fears of these misunderstood animals. We didn’t know it at the time, but our story began back in 2007, when owner and animal care lead, Zack, got his first pet reptile…a red-eared slider turtle named Amber. Like many of our animals, she was a rescue that needed a new home, so she became a family pet for his family. 10 years later, he got his second reptile, a leopard gecko rescue named Spot.

In 2018, Zack and The Reptile Nook’s other owner and lead educator, Jess, met at The Zoo in Forest Park in Springfield, MA. They eventually began dating, and got their first snake, Peach together. From there, Jess’s love for reptiles exponentially grew. After lots of research, our owners continued to grow their reptile collection by adding a veiled chameleon, Milo, and a panther chameleon, Chewie, to the family. They were both special needs rescues that required lots of vet visits to get them to better health.

With these 5 animals, we began doing education programs to schools and other education programs to teach about our animals and from there, the idea for The Reptile Nook was born. We first began an Instagram page in an effort to gain a following before making the jump into starting the business, knowing that word of mouth is a powerful tool.

In May of 2021, we decided to keep expanding in species diversity for our programs and added Hulk the pacman frog to teach about the difference between reptiles and amphibians. Later in the same year we also added Cassie the Saharan sand boa and Mushu the Chinese water dragon. We also launched our website and Facebook page to begin the process of opening for business.

By February 2022, we took the leap and officially registered as a business, with Spring 2022 bringing in our first official clients. This was a year of a lot of growth for us, with the additions of 5 new animals. We also made our debut on tiktok in order to continue spreading the word about who we are and what we do. Owners Zack and Jess tied the knot in October of 2022.

Today, we have a total of 18 animals that live permanently at The Reptile Nook. While we no longer have some of the animals that we began with, we have continued to grow both in species diversity and

demand for programs. Our first two animals, Amber and Spot, now enjoy being retired animal ambassadors, only going out to programs when they are specifically requested. We have grown into much more than providing reptile-themed programs. We now provide memberships through the Patreon platform and an online shop that sells decals, snake sheds, teacher materials, paintings from animals, and more.

We would love to thank all of our clients for your support in all that we do, and we look forward to continuing to grow even more in the coming months and years.

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