Pet store's move allows tortoises some room to roam

An African Sulcata tortoise

How much is that tortoise in the window?

Barts Pet Store has moved to 4425 S. 84th St. from 107th Street and Mockingbird Drive. The new store was formerly occupied by Omaha Oriental Food & Gifts.

Barts “stands for birds, amphibians, reptiles and turtles,” said owner Don Everson.

The new store is “seven times bigger” than the old shop, said a store employee, who was watching four African Sulcata tortoises — each weighing about 50 pounds — wander the confines of a glass terrarium.

The additional space may be a good thing given that a full-grown Sulcata is considered the third-largest tortoise in the world. The 8,000-square-foot store provides plenty of room for tortoises, boas, ball pythons and displays of fish, including koi and tilapia. The two-year-old business also carries larger birds and parrots, including cockatoos and green fronted Amazon parrots, he said.

As for the Sulcatas, the year-old youngsters, which weigh about three ounces each, sell for $225 apiece, while the 35-pound 8-year-olds sell for $1,200 each. In either case, be prepared to create a desert room. The tortoises require a controlled environment with an ambient temperature of 90 degrees and a basking spot of 110 degrees.

“We have to be sure you know how to take care of that animal before you take it out of the store,” Everson said. “If we don't have it, we'll get it for you.”

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