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If you walk into your local pet shop, you’ll likely see a variety of animals you want to take home immediately — from dogs and cats to turtles and lizards. Some such stores have even become community centers, offering events like birthday parties, story time and more. But in terms of pure selection, you can’t beat Zoo Zajac in Duisburg, Germany.
Billed as “das größte Zoofachsgeschäft der Welt,” or “the biggest pet store in the world,” Zoo Zajac has actually been certified so by the Guinness Book of World Records. It currently stands at 130,000 square feet in an industrial part of town, and looks like a giant warehouse. Bloomberg Businessweek said the store is twice the size of the White House and three times as large as your favorite Whole Foods Market.
Inside, you can shop not just for animals, but for everything they need, too. And you can expect some less-common pets to be available as well. A sloth at Zajac World will apparently cost you a cool $10,000. If that’s too rich for your blood, you can also purchase monkeys, armadillos, jellyfish or one of 50 species of tarantulas. Overall, the store features 250,000 individual animals from 3,000 species.
The zoo’s social media pages naturally feature images of the animals. Here’s an aracari, also known as a toucan, in a Facebook photo:
Here’s a meerkat:
Bloomberg Businessweek called the store’s collection of reptiles one of the finest in western Europe. This is a rare Chinese crocodile.
Piranhas are among the aquarium animals you can purchase at Zoo Zajac.
As you might imagine, people flock to Zoo Zajac to view its animals, although they are more likely to buy some pet supplies or a coffee at the cafeteria while they’re there than an animal. Zoo Zajac gets up to 12,000 visitors on a Saturday. It hosts seminars and lectures, and makes sure its enclosures are up to current care standards.
“All animals are housed in a species-appropriate manner at Zoo Zajac and adapted to the animal’s needs,” the store’s Facebook page says in German. “The animal enclosures are spacious and lovingly designed down to the last detail.”
The staff includes three veterinarians, an animal healer, four biologists, and 10 vet assistants and animal keepers. It also includes owner Norbert Zajac, who opened the space in 2004 after buying a pet shop from a woman who wanted to unload it before she gave birth. Zajac is a lifelong animal lover and local personality, often seen in YouTube videos talking about his crew, his animals and his work. He claims he died three times after being stung by a lionfish at the store and gives five-hour tours of the space.
The videos are in German, but you can still see the setup of the store and some of the animals, like store mascot Frieda the sloth:
We so want to visit this place. Talk about an animal-lover’s paradise!