foot Jungle Bob Outback Center,
which is located behind the store.
“We have a bamboo tiki hut
that serves beverages where
folks can sit and visit, and houses
educational toys, such as lizards
or snakes, and other keepsakes,”
Real lizards and other creatures also wander the center.
Tortoises munch collard greens
grown in the center’s organic
garden. Turtles surface in their
own lagoon in anticipation of
treats, while colorful fish glint
and glide in the koi pond, awaiting a pellet repast.
A carnivorous plant bog
features exotics, such as Venus
flytraps or pitcher plants, which
also are for sale in the store.
However, this area serves a
more significant function—it’s
the residence of rescued or unwanted animals.
“Predominately, the Outback
is a rescue for the giant tortoises,
iguanas and red-eared sliders,”
Smith said. “We are not a profes-
sional rescue, but we rescue more
creatures than most because, as a
store, we are a repository for any-
thing no one wants.”
Rescued creatures run the
gamut from a reptile left behind
by a college-bound owner to the
roomful of reptiles that had been
abandoned for weeks.
“When they were found, they
were emaciated and sick,” Smith
said. “We saved them all.”
New homes are found for the
rehabilitated animals, or they
are donated to sanctuaries or
refuges in the Southeastern U.S.,
“They come up once a year
when the weather starts to get
cold and take everything,” he
said. “There will be plenty more
to populate the Outback the next
summer. There’s that many unwanted animals out there.”
THE JUNGLE BOB
The Jungle Bob Membership Program allows customers to take
part in the many classes, workshops and clinics held throughout the year. A small annual fee
also includes special sales events,
guaranteed reservations for animal boarding and discounted
“My veterinarian comes to
the store once a week to see cus-
tomers and help with rescued an-
imals,” Smith said. “It’s great to
have a vet with a heart.”
In addition, Smith continues
to present his educational pro-
grams to schools, libraries, camps
and even senior centers.
“My introductory program is
called ‘The Unloved, The Unusu-
al and the Unknown,’ which is an
introduction to reptiles, amphib-
ians and invertebrates,” he said.
Students have the opportunity
to touch and hold the animals accompanying Smith.
“We are able to dispel the
myths,” Smith said. “You’ll nev-
er convert everybody to being a
believer, but if you reach that
one kid in the back of the room,
Often, that captivated child
will show up later at Jungle Bob’s,
parents in tow.
In addition to the more than
100 Jungle Bob You Tube videos
that currently exist, new releases
are in the works, under the Jungle
For the future, Smith will
focus on expansion of the Jungle Bob products wholesale
division, and the possibility of
franchising his unique concept,
including community outreach
JUNGLE BOB’S REPTILE WORLD
AT A GLANCE
Location: 2536 Middle Country Rd., Centereach, NY 11720
Owner: Bob Smith
Square footage: 2,000, retail store; 2,500 Outback Center
Employees: 5 full time, 6 part time
Years in business: 8
Products and services: Amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, feeders and a full line of
supplies, Jungle Bob line of products, books, gifts, decorations, habitats, handling equipment,
plants, Outback Center, rescue, lectures, boarding, veterinary clinics
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Produced by: AUGUST 2 - 4, 2016
Y BAY , USA
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