I was out on Long Island a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful day and I was going out to visit with Gennady and dress my new stake. After a few hours in his studio my stake was in perfect form and I left so he could get back to his own work.
On the way home I stopped at Country Critters in Patchogue, a pet store that I knew about from Martha Stewart’s show. (They don’t have a web site so I can’t link to it for you.) I had been there on a previous trip and had stopped in to see if there were any kittens. That was, of course before we got Henry from a neighbor here in Staten Island. The most surprising thing about the store is an incredible collection of salt water fish, not only fish but corals, sea anemonies and baby giant clams.
The building itself has an unimpressive warehouse shape, you park in a treeless lot and enter through double glass doors near a loading dock. On the right is a large store that looks like a specialty grocery store, that’s where the birds, puppies and kittens are with all of their supplies and toys. In front of you and slightly to the left is what appears to be a grotto with a waterfall. As you peer over a rocky ledge into the pool you see enormous fish, about 4 or 5 feet long. There are signs warning you not to extend anything over the water’s surface. I imagine that these fish can jump and pull you in for dinner.
Immediately to your left is a ramp about 10-15 feet long that rises about 3 feet to a wonderland of colorful aquariums. On your left is a brilliant blue, 3000 gallon tank with small sharks in it, on your right there are large tanks with rays and large fish in unusual shapes. Beyond that and to your right there are a vast number of tanks with an incredible variety of sea life in them. It’s almost like being in the stacks at a fantastic library where all the books have been replaced with colorful animated creatures. I took a long movie as I entered Country Critters, you’ll get a taste of what it’s like to be there. Click on the PHOTO below.
Here is a britannica link to information that includes a short video of an anemone eating a small fish and one for Animal World.
Here are two really nice sea anemones in one of the tanks in the store.
Here’s a short Video of this fish moving in the fast currents of this tank. Or click on the photo.
Here’s a movie of the red shrimp tank followed by one of the lion fish in the next photos.
There’s also an article on the invasion of Lionfish in the Carribean, the introduced species is decimating the coral reefs. Apparently the Lionfish is a voracious carnivore introduced to the Atlantic by hobbyists in the 90′s. They have no predators in the Atlantic except themselves. In the Pacific where they are native , large groupers eat them and keep the population down. There’s more in the article.
On the last visit I was pleased to see a small octopus in a tall tank near the ramp. It was interesting because I knew ‘he’ could see me, he’d change color or move toward my finger if I touched the glass. He wasn’t there this time, but there was this large eel. . .