Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 00:00
You have heard of Japan's very popular cat cafes, now there exists a different type of pet cafe for exotic animal-lovers. Located in the capital city of Hanoi, Vietnam, this particular cafe has an impressive range of snakes, rats, lizards , tarantulas, hedgehogs, squirrels and even hooting-cute owls for cafe patrons to amuse themselves with!
Pet Café is the brainchild of 28-year-old Nguyen Minh Nghia who owns the establishment. He has a degree in mining and geology, but is working as a stockbroker now. He has been obsessed with animals since childhood, and that prompted him to start the café.
“I loved animals since I was a little boy. I began raising reptiles 5 years ago, when a friend asked me to feed his salamanders as he was too preoccupied with his own business,” Nguyen said.
He fell in love with the exotic animals and traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Australia and China, amassing a huge collection of snakes, salamanders, and other reptiles.
“These pets are easy to feed, but for beginners, it is not a walk in the park,” he said. “You have to read a lot of materials to learn how to raise reptiles. I’ve chosen reptiles that are suited for the environment and climate in Vietnam. To keep them alive here, I’ve got to study a lot about their living environment. My café is always dark because many reptiles do not like the light.”
Nguyen has spent 6 to 8 months training each and every single one of his reptiles, after which they become tame and harmless. To make the environment comfortable for the reptiles, Nguyen spent a lot of time digging holes in the café walls, building glass cages with steel frames and installing a specially designed lighting system. Each animal has its own specialized and cozy habitat to live in.
People who have visited the café all have their own various mixed reactions. Some immediately take to the scaly creatures and become friends, while others are hesitant and wary at first. Many are downright scared, but their curiosity is what drove them to the café in the first place, with some help and reassurance from the staff, they will begin to open up to the reptiles.
Pham Oanh, a 23-year-old customer, said: “Once you make contact with animals like lizards, other sorts of reptiles and even spiders, you will find out that they are actually friendly.”
“The café is very interesting,” said another female customer. “You can see many different kinds of animals like milky snakes and thorny-tailed lizards here. They are very friendly, but the first time I came here I didn’t dare to touch them. After coming here several times, I really love this café now.”
Pet Café is a huge hit with both the young and the old. This includes parents too, who like bringing their kids to show and educate them about the animals in reality, instead of learning it from behind a TV screen.
If you have a phobia of creepy crawlies, perhaps this café with its sweet scaly residents and patient staff can help you overcome it!
Check out the video below to learn more about Pet Café.