Past Meeting, Jun 2020: Rick Amour: That Fish Place – That Pet Place

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June 21, 2020 by lancasterherp

The Lancaster Herpetological Society (LHS) wants to thank everyone who attended our second digital meeting on Friday using Zoom!

We were pleased to have Rick Amour, the owner of That Fish Place – That Pet Place, speak to us about how his business has evolved over the years! The shop started in 1973 as a means to provide aquarium supplies to the people of Lancaster county and has expanded to a one stop shop for virtually any pet you can imagine. Rick worked at That Fish Place for more than 20 years before buying the business in 2015. It was fascinating to learn about how the aquarium business and hobby has evolved over the years. Hearing about how hobbyists have been growing and maintaining coral, and keeping its diversity alive was gratifying, but also sad in that humanity is largely reasonable for the dying off of the coral reefs. The shop is one of the largest pet stores in the world, and was the largest for a time, until a store in Germany (Zoo Zajac) took the mantle. Largest store or not, that does not change the fact that people come from around the country, and the world, to see That Fish Place and be greeted by the iconic gaping shark mouth at the entrance. That Fish Place prides itself in putting the well-being of the animals ahead of profits, and makes sure that a prospective buyer understands how to care for an animal before they bring it home. The reptile section of the store has been growing over the years as herpetology has become more popular. All of the reptiles on sale are kept in enclosures set up to show potential buyers the ideal way to house them. Furthermore, That Fish Place is continually running educational events about all sorts of pets, including reptiles (though these have been temporarily put on hold due to the pandemic). To top it off, Rick very generously donated $500 to the Lancaster Herpetological Society! Thanks a lot Rick for the donation, and for providing a source of education and supplies for all of us reptile and amphibian enthusiasts!

The shark at the entrance of the shop has been a constant feature of the shop, and has become iconic. Did you know the shark does not have a name?
The nameless shark greets thousands of visitors each year!

Beyond having Rick talk to the Society, Greg Schechter of the Southwestern Herpetological Society was in attendance. He recently released a mobile field guide for the herps (called Schechter Natural History) that runs on Apple and Android phones for identifying reptiles and amphibians in North America and Canada. I have spent some time with the app and have been thoroughly impressed. You can narrow the scope to a particular state to focus on what you might come across during your adventures. Each animal entry is complete with helpful illustrations, a detailed description of their range and habitat, along with field recordings from many of the frogs! This app will surely be a boon to any herper who does not want to be carrying around a printed field guide while rummaging through a stream or hiking amidst the forest.

Thanks again for all who attended the meeting. Stay tuned for more information about next month’s meeting of the Lancaster Herpetological Society, which will be on July 17th at 7pm EST. It remains to be determined whether it will be in person or digital, though I would hazard a guess that it will be digital.

-Gregory Wier


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