There comes a time in your life when you meet a bloke and you're convinced he's lost his marbles. The man behind Pails For Scales Pet Mega Store! To the non reptile blooded human, picking up a snake that has the potential to end your days in one bite, may seem a little risky, if not crazy. But Roy Pails is one of the most down to Earth fellas you can meet and he's the first to tell you - That in the world, a human is in hospital every minute due to dog attacks... so who's the crazy one? I guess he has a point. It's not long after meeting Roy that you soon discover he is truly passionate about reptiles. As one of Australia's largest breeders, his knowledge of reptiles seems endless yet as any snakey will tell you, there's always something new to learn about these fascinating creatures.
THE STORY SO FAR...
Roy Pails moved to Australia when he was just 9 years old. He migrated to the great land from England. It wasn't too long (a month or two) before he'd caught his first reptile... a 'beaut' Blotched Blue Tongue! Whilst out collecting Blue tongues as a 12 year old, Roy came across his first snake and just couldn't help but pick it up. Before getting bitten, this spotty young Roy let it go... but the bug had set in fast. He was now a fully-blown snakey. There was something about the piercing eyes and amazing scales of his first snake catch that had really struck home. After that, Roy returned to the Werribee area of Melbourne, which before being swallowed by sprawling suburbia, was a haven for reptiles. This time Roy was prepared. He'd taken along a few jars in case he should stumble across another reptile, he wanted a closer look at. That day he caught 2 common tigers and 2 little whip snakes... they just had to go home with him.
That was the birth of his collection! From that day on, Roy caught more and more... and more.. and more snakes, setting up pits in his parents garden to house the reptile collection. Now 18, Roy met Brian Barnett, who was keeping reptiles from the Northern part of Australia in heated cages. The sight of pythons and other 'exotic' species excited Roy. That was it... he headed straight home and made a start on his first heated cage! From there, Roy bought many reptiles and it wasn't long before his father's pool room was no longer used for gaming. Cages where everywhere and his Dad wasn't too keen on the idea of no longer being able to play pool with his mates. So much did Roy's collection grow... his Dad had to extend the house and built a snake room! (Good job he had good parents). His love for animals didn't stop at reptiles either, Roy is a very kind hearted bloke and this showed from an early age. Orphaned animals of all kinds could find a home with Roy (and still do!).
The family then moved to Ballarat and his father built a double garage just to house Roy's growing collection. Soon after Roy bought 2.5 hectares of un-touched bush land in an area close to Ballarat. He started to develop this land, building a wild life park, housing and showing a vast array of Australian wildlife. Roy being Roy, took in every animal he could into the park and it soon over took his life, acting almost as a full time career. It soon took over and became too much for Roy to handle.... so there's a big lesson to be learned there: Don't open a wildlife park unless you have a truck load of money!
After selling the house and land, Roy set up in Ballarat where he established a bigger breeding facility which housed over 200 reptiles. This included some outdoor enclosures as well as a 7m x 4m croc house. The reptiles have their own bank account and the money made from the reptiles goes back to the reptiles.
Now the reptile facility is complete, Roy has used the reptile money to purchase two properties to help save the native animals in the Berringa Area, along the edge of Moonlight Creek. Adjacent to the reserve Roy is trying to clean out the introduced weeds and remove the rocks from the old mine site to spread around the property as habitat for the animals. More recently Roy and his family have purchased a third property in the area which has facilities to camp out, this will allow increased time spent there working on making it wildlife friendly. Along with the purchase of the property was the purchase of a tractor which will make light work of removing weeds and rock, alot easier than a wheelbarrow and shovel!
Native to the property is Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Koalas, Brush Tailed Possums, Ring Tailed Possums, Dunnarts, Spotted Tailed Quolls, Sugar Gliders, Copperhead Snakes, Common Brown Snakes, Little Whip Snakes, White Lipped Snakes, Jacky Lizards, Weasel Skinks, 3 Lined Skinks, Blotched Blue Tongues, just recently discovered Juvenile Eastern Blue Tongues - (the property must be an overlap area. The Eastern Blue Tongues coming from the south and Blotched Blue Tongues from the north, we have owned the property for over 14yrs and this is the first time they have been sighted), Banjo frogs, Brown Tree Frogs, Spotted Grass Frogs, Common Eastern Froglets, Brown Toadlets, native Australian birds (Roy is still working to get them all identified), native Australian plants (also still trying to get them identified).
Native Birds sighted so far: Brown Quails, Black Faced Cormorants, Australian Shelducks, Australian Wood Ducks, White Neck Herrons, Australian White Herrons, Masked Lapwings, Whistling Kites, Wedge Tailed Eagles, Common Bronze Wings, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Long Billed Corellas, Galahs, Crimson Rosellas, Eastern Rosellas, Australian Owlet Nightjars, Southern Boobook Owls, Laughing Kookaburras, Rainbow Beeaters, Superb Fairy-Wrens, White Wagtails, Magpie Larks, Pied Currawongs, Grey Currawongs, Australian Ravens, Black Faced Cucko-Shrikes, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Peregrine Falcons, Brown Falcons, Welcome Swallows, Scarlett Robins, Grey Shrike Thrush, Mistletoe birds, Grey Fantails, New Holland Honey Eaters, Tawny Frog Mouth Owl, White Winged Choughs, Red Rump Parrot and White Throated Tree Creeper.
Black and White Currawongs on the property.
Lots more still to identify but Roy is alot better with reptiles than with birds!
Roy has planted thousands of native trees on the property, the main focus is the banksia trees. Banksia's have been wiped out of the area. Some of the photos of the property can be seen on the general photos page.
This is how the 1st property looked ten years ago, bad erosion, lacking in trees! (2001)
This is how it looks ten years on! Since stock has stopped grazing on the property. Hundreds of native trees, grasses and shrubs regenerating.(2011)
Building more habitat for the native animals in the surrounding areas of the property, whilst at the same time devaluing the price of the property. The tractor makes light work of a job like this, alot easier than one rock at a time
Had another fantastic, relaxing weekend off planting more banksias, building more habitats and generally walking around enjoying the wildlife. We also put out a lot of roof tiles as the block is on the edge of Rokewood Plains so we are hoping there are some striped legless lizards in the area.
We had a close encounter with about 75 Grey kangaroos after creeping up on them. Lots of young joeys just coming out of the pouch. (June 26th, 2011)
Weekends are just too short!
Just love being out in the bush with the clean fresh air!
If anyone would like to donate some unwanted roof tiles, please feel free to drop them into the shop.
New wetlands project has started this month (April, 2012). So excited, can't wait to see the end result, obviously it will take years for it to be fully completed.
One of the things that disgusts Roy is that fact that people are continually dumping their household waste into the Moonlight Creek. Hopefully they no longer live in the area and the new owners will clean this up!
Ruins of an old miner's cottage at the edge of the Moonlight Creek. Berringa was a big gold mining area, on the first property there is the large British Banning Mine.
This is the view looking down onto three of the trees we have planted on Property 1.
Spring has sprung! (2011)
Another problem has been people cutting down the old trees for firewood. Both these trees had hollows in them, making them great for Eastern Rosellas and possums to nest in. Roy has constantly reported this to the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and as far as he knows nothing has been done. Obviously native animal habitat is not important to them! Hence why they are continuing to do controlled burns, wiping out native animals and their habitats! If you are scared of bush fires then maybe move to the city. Something Roy always tells people when they say they have snakes around their house and they had to kill them, he replies move to the city where you won't find any. It is disappointing that it is accepted that people are allowed to kill snakes and never get prosecuted by DSE or RSPCA.
One of the dams on property three and the Swift's nests in the cave on the edge of Moonlight Creek on the first property purchased.
Another gorgeous sunset whilst relaxing at the property.
Pails for Scales was established in June 2005, a pet shop with a difference. The shop sells unique and wonderful pets! You can find everything from your common pet goldfish through to spiders and snakes. The quality of reptiles sold by Pails For Scales is excellent and you'll struggle to find a better place in Australia to buy reptiles.
Roy now has one of the largest collection of reptiles and is widely known as one of the country's largest and well respected breeders. His passion and knowledge for reptiles is quite astonishing. Take the opportunity to chat with Roy about his reptile knowledge!