The East Bay Vivarium is a store located in Berkeley, California , USA. The store is more than forty years old, the oldest and largest of its kind in the United States. It sells snakes, lizards, various other reptiles and amphibians, and supplies to maintain and care for them. The store is open to reptile enthusiasts, hobbies, and the general public. The store was considered a "must-see" by the Disney family and a "strange attraction" by the New York Times in Berkeley.
The perennial was owned by Ron Cauble. In 1970, he opened a business in his basement in Oakland , California.The first storefront was located on Mac Arthur Blvd. in Oakland, and in 1979 he moved the store to an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) storefront on Emeryville Market in Emeryville. In 1988, he sold the store and opened The Bone Room in Albany. The building was damaged during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The damage was so bad that the store had to move around. The insurance company denied the claims for damages that allowed the store to move. The owners had to pay $10,000 to get out of their lease. Moving to their current location on Fifth Street in Berkeley, they made efforts to stabilize the store in order to avoid future earthquake damage by having shatterproof plastic cages and attaching the shelves to the walls via straps.
The location of Fifth Street is 6,000 square feet (560 m2). The front is the store and the back, which is closed to the public, is the breeding centre. As of 2001, Cliff Moser and Owen Maercks were co-owners of the vivarium.
Parking concerns threatened to close the vivarium in 2008. Owen Maercks spoke at the zoning board meeting protesting the building of a 22-unit, three-storey building next to the vivarium and causing a loss of parking space. The vivarium offers only approximately five parking spaces for visitors. That same year, The New York Times called the Perennial and Moe's Books the only two "must-see" sites in Berkeley.
The store carries between 5,000 and 8,000 pets for sale at any given time. They sell animals such as spiders, fish, snakes , lizards, chameleons, frogs, crawfish, and tortoises. Specific breeds include rattlesnakes, iguanas, reticulated pythons, tarantulas, Burmese pythons and box turtles. They breed most of their stock in the back room. Prices range from $3.50 for a tree frog and $25 to $50 for a snake, to $1,000 for a Chinese crocodile lizard. They sell snakes that are venomous to small amphibians, not necessarily people; snakes that are venomous to people are illegal to be sold in California. The vivarium also breeds crickets, rats and mice for food in a specific private space on the premises. They also sell rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and chickens for food. Customers can also pay a small fee to pet animals in the store.
This hidden gem in Berkeley, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Cafe Ohlone
- Games of Berkeley
- Morrison Library
- Fairy Post Office
- Founders Rock
- Fish House
- The Vine Street UFO
- Indian Rock
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!