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About Us

History of Exotic-Pets.co.uk

Exotic-Pets.co.uk started life as MantisUK.com back in 1999, at the time Karen was keeping and breeding Praying Mantids. Because her first Praying Mantis was mis-sold; Karen wanted to give as much information as she could with her own Praying Mantids so others didn’t make the same mistake.

“I can remember the day when I visited my local pet shop and found this fantastic looking creature, I'd never seen anything like it before. It was already pretty large and when the pet shop owner told me it would reach a size of around 20-25cm, well, I had to have it.

I asked the pet shop owner everything that I would require to keep this strange looking insect. I purchased a large glass tank, heat mat, spot light (for it to bask), a plastic plant, spray bottle, live crickets and not forgetting the bright green Praying Mantis. As this was my first exotic pet, I paid for this with my hard earned pocket money, which I'd been saving for some time.

When we got home I set everything up, fed it a live cricket, it was great, then within four days, it died! Devastated and upset, I had no idea what I had done wrong, everything was set up correctly... well, so I thought. Looking back on this now, the pet shop owner only told me one correct piece of information, that it ate live insects. It wasn't going to reach 20-25cm, it was an African Praying Mantis, these reach no larger than 10cm and it was already sub-adult when I bought it.

The reason it died so quickly was due to the high temperature, room temperature is adequate, so basically, everything I had purchased wasn't required. A few years later, I found someone selling Praying Mantids and I decided to give it another go. Once I knew what I was doing, my eyes were opened and before I knew it I had at least fifteen different species.”

Originally Karen was going to sell her Mantids via the Free Ad papers - but her brother Philip suggested she create her own website, as this was a cheaper and better way to publish her Praying Mantis knowledge and have a larger outlet.

With the help of friends within the web industry, Philip designed and built Karen a site for her new found hobby; MantisUK.com. The site became very popular, not only was Karen selling out, but it opened up communication with a host of industry contacts and experts.

The hatching of Exotic-Pets.co.uk

It wasn't long before Karen was asked for and offered other insects and reptiles. Seeing an opportunity that there was a market for an online pet shop, Philip created Exotic-Pets.co.uk.

 “I was only working on the site part time and had a full-time job however it wasn't long before it became apparent that I needed to quit my full-time job and concentrate all my efforts on Exotic-Pets.co.uk. At this point, I managed to locate the perfect building to run Exotic-Pets.co.uk from and I obtained a pet shop license.”

Since then, Karen has put everything into building Exotic-Pets.co.uk. The same MantisUK.com ethos applies to Exotic-Pets.co.uk, our aim to supply good basic care and information, along with the best quality Amphibians, Reptiles, Inverts and pet supplies the UK pet trade has to offer.

TV and Film

“When MantisUK.com was at the top of the search engines, I had a range of people contact me within the publishing, TV and filming industry. My first contact was with Paul Harcourt Davies, a photographer. He wanted to use some Orchid Praying Mantids for a book he was currently working on.

Back in 2002 I was contacted by a lady who required a number of Giant Praying Mantids for filming the IMAX Bugs 3D Movie which was released in 2003. I jumped at this chance and provided a number of adults and Oothecas for the mating and hatching scenes. My family and I went along to watch this film; it was breath taking! I even got my name and website in the credits!”

Since then, the amount of people contacting us has grown, here is an up to date list of all programs, TV and films we have helped with:

  • German TV studio - for filming a children’s show
  • American and German Book Publishers - to use some photos in their books
  • Local Radio Stations - BBC York, BBC Sheffield and Peakfm.
  • Various TV Production Companies - insects for shows
  • BBC - Let Me Entertain You hosted by Brian Conley and Christine Bleakley.
  • BBC - Life in the Undergrowth (helped them source insects)
  • BBC - LIFE – (helped them source livestock)
  • Clash of the Titans (2010) – filmed footage of Scorpions to make CGI in film
  • Show Me, Show Me (November 2012) – Frogs provided for show
  • The Alan Titchmarsh Show October 2013 – provided all exotic reptiles for a live performance
  • Channel 4 - Easter Eggs Live (April 2014) – provided Egg Eating Snakes for first ever live feeding and helped with upkeep of newly hatched reptiles
  • The 4 o’clock club – provided Toads for filming and handling

If you'd like to read more about Exotic-Pets.co.uk; Meet the Team, Mission Statement