Ark de Triumph

Dear Ace: Where can I go in Charlottesville to buy a boa constrictor/talking parrot/ferret/alligator/elephant/etc.?—Zoe Keeper

Zoe: Let Ace first address the issue of putting the words “exotic” and “ferret” in the same sentence. Ferrets, faithful reader, are not exotic. They sleep 14-18 hours a day and, according to Ace’s trusty source (thanks, Wikipedia!), include raisins among their list of tasty treats.

But, even though his opinions sometimes differ from those of his readers’, Ace loves to deliver the news—good and bad. He’ll tackle the good first, since he’s a glass-half-full kinda guy.

Brace yourselves: There are ferrets available in Charlottesville. In fact, ferrets and boas and alligators (oh my!) are all available—one just has to know where to look. And so, in his ever-expanding quest for all things exotic (including, but not limited to, animals), Ace went to straight to the source: Hello, Craigslist. A quick search revealed a few young ferrets available, as well as not one, but two red-tail boa constrictors.

You can also find these creatures at local retailer Pet Forum, “The largest pet and pet food discounter in Central VA!,” along with skinks (not to be confused with skunks) and trap-door spiders. They don’t sell alligators, but Ace searched around and found somewhere you can at least enjoy their company (even if you can’t take them home): Luray Zoo. Just a little under two hours away, and you’ve got yourself alligators, crocodiles and a Gila monster. The zoo won’t let you adopt the animals, but you’re certainly welcome to sponsor one. Ace is thinking about sponsoring a donkey, himself. The more he pays, the more it’s fed, the bigger his ass (heh heh).

Sadly, after much research, Ace came to the conclusion that there aren’t any elephants available for adoption in Charlottesville. Neither is there any “etc.,” whatever that might mean. (Ace isn’t a mind reader, folks—specificity is your friend!)

As for the talking parrots, Ace found a few of those at Pet Forum, too. But again, he’s not so sure a bird can be considered “exotic” just because it’s colorful and can mimic the sound of the microwave. You feel him?

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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