Nightmare on Kettleman Lane

Imagine a semi-venomous 18-foot False Water Cobra slithering through a cage, a terrifying African Spitting Scorpion that can accurately shoot venom from one foot away into your eye causing you to go blind, and a colorful Ball Python that stretches up to six-feet long. What would you say if we told you it could all be found at The Serpentarium in Lodi—and it’s all for sale?

            The creatures that live at The Serpentarium on Kettleman Lane are the monsters that too often occupy our worst nightmares, but they are also the subject of much oohing and awing when people step into the reptile store that once operated partially as a museum.

            A change in the business model has taken The Serpentarium to a mostly retail business—and helped Owner Robert Coral expand to five more locations (and counting!)—which means there is no longer a fee for entry. However, interested parties can still step in to oogle at the venomous (and not so venomous) beasts.

            All of the animals at the specialty reptile store are captive bred as opposed to wild caught, captive hatched, or even farm bred. As a result, the creatures are heartier and have more longevity. “Everybody in the reptile industry will prefer captive bred animals any day of the week,” Tyler says.

            Amongst the most spine-chilling creatures is a Tailless Whip Scorpion, a crawly creature Reptile Specialist Tyler Clark, who works at The Serpentarium, likens to a villain from Harry Potter. These horrifying looking scorpions have one little secret though—they are actually completely harmless. Despite being capable of inducing blood-curdling screams from grown men, the creepy crawleys don’t even sting.

            Poison Dart Frogs are another worthy choice for interested parties. They get their name from their poisonous nature, but the truth is, these amphibians are actually harmless outside of the wild since their venom is created by their diets when they aren’t domesticated. “They aren’t actually poisonous,” Tyler says.

            Among the most popular pets to take home, however, (and a Tyler favorite) is the False Water Cobra (hydrodynastes gigas) The Serpentarium has come to be known for. Semi-venomous, they are among the most dangerous snakes housed at pet stores in California, due to state restrictions. Originally from South America, these rear-fanged cobras “hood” when threatened, resembling the cartoons we all watched as kids.


The Serpentarium

708 W. Kettleman Ln., Lodi

(209) 426-5839