Out of Africa and into Boston – an exotic breed of pygmy hedgehog has come to town thanks to a new pet shop opening this month.
Apty-named ‘Out of the Cage’, the pet shop will offer customers the chance to pet and handle a variety of animals and creatures.
The business has been set up by young Boston couple Chris Gregg and Tara Bullock with the help of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur James Caan’s Start-Up Loans scheme.
It is to be located in Boston’s historic Wormgate, which is enjoying the benefits of a series of developments to encourage shoppers back.
“We are hoping to offer a different kind of pet shopping experience and are happy for customers and visitors to handle the pets,” said Chris, 20.
“It’s important to get people interested in the animals and to learn about them, but also help them to become more tame too.”
One of the main attractions will be the rare African pygmy hedgehogs, which are smaller and lighter in colour than their British counterparts.
“They make very good pets, are good natured and easy to handle,” said Chris,
The creatures can be kept in a standard guinea pig hutch, but must be kept indoors as they are used to the warmer African climate.
“They also need a specialist food,” said Chris. “It is a meat-based relish which we stock.”
Other pets to be seen at the shop when it opens on April 21 will include a variety of small rodents, reptiles such as bearded dragons and geckos – and what Chris calls a few ‘unusual extras’.
“We will also have some milipedes and scorpions,” he said. “And stick insects.”
Customers will be offered advice and support from the couple, who have experience in pet retail and care and a general passion for animals.
Start-Up Loans is a Government backed youth entrepreneurship initiative. So far it has helped 2,500 young people to start up their own business.
Speaking to The Standard, James Caan said: “I wish Chris and Tara the very best of luck in their exciting new venture.”