Member Spotlight: Zoo Med

Gary Bagnall, Owner

Zoo Med Laboratories is one of the best-known suppliers of exotic pet foods, reptile products, and reptile habitats. Headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California Zoo Med currently has over 1,000 products, and 15 unique product patents. From humble beginnings, Zoo Med started in 1977 in Gary Bagnall’s one-car garage in Costa Mesa, California. The company began as a live reptile import/export business, but after the company’s development of the reptile vitamin, Reptivite®, in 1981, Zoo Med turned its focus to animal care products and never looked back. Now, Zoo Med is at the forefront of the reptile industry.

When Zoo Med first started out, reptiles weren’t as widely accepted as household pets as they are nowadays. This presented itself as a challenge for Zoo Med, requiring them to provide proper education and give consumers access to the products and resources needed to keep reptiles. Today, reptiles have been globally accepted by all walks of life and Zoo Med is certainly seeing growth in the industry.

One of Zoo Med’s biggest accomplishments to date was creating the first UVB Reptile lamp back in 1993. This invention served as a tipping point in the Reptile industry. Proper lighting is one of the most important categories when it comes to reptile husbandry. By creating a lamp that produces UVB, which is a spectrum of ultraviolet light that reptiles would typically get from being exposed to natural sunlight, it allowed Zoo Med to essentially recreate their natural environment. This results in natural behaviour of the reptile pertaining to everything such as feeding, mating and simply living a healthy and complete life cycle as an animal would in its natural environment.

Zoo Med team

Zoo Med prides itself on being made up of true hobbyists. Everyone that works at Zoo Med has reptiles, fish, birds, etc. at home. At the headquarters, they even have their own animal husbandry facility where they use all of their own products to care for these fascinating animals. Since these animals naturally breed, Zoo Med is able to donate them to schools, educational centres and zoos. This allows people who would otherwise never see these animals in their natural environment to do so.  Zoo Med is involved with the US Association of Reptile Keepers, Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group, The Turtle Survival Alliance, and The International Iguana Foundation. They give back with large donations and sponsorships demonstrating that they care for the reptiles they love so much. In addition, Zoo Med sends product donations to over 100 clubs and rescues every year.

For Zoo Med, being a PJIAC Canada member shows that they don’t just care about themselves, but they care about the industry and the community. They participate in over 80 shows a year whether it be consumer shows or tradeshows. At consumer shows, they do not sell any products.  Zoo Med is there to answer questions, support their partners, interact with customers and simply educate whoever is willing to listen. By being a part of the PIJAC Canada community, Zoo Med says they are able to continue doing just that.