Improper care, false advertising, rough treatment, and rude service from Petco


I'm currently working on a school project for AP Environmental Science about biodiversity. This is a project that involves different variables, showing our understanding of interdependence, and the study of living subjects, showing our ability as students to maintain a controlled study with free, independently thinking variables (such as animals). I've always wanted a fish tank, and there's no better way to affordably do this than to responsibly set up a community fish tank and observe the inhabitants, so I was immediately excited to start working. The project will be active over the course of a year, and maintaining the best possible health of the animals involved is the heart of the whole setup, so you could imagine how disappointed I was with the (so far) outcome of the snails I've purchased at Petco.

I had done about 6 months of research on the animals that were going to be involved in the project, but not much on available store quality when I had initially bought my apple snail and three nerite snails. I was very upset with the customer service. I had no pick of which animals I received, and all of them were either sick or injured.


Suzie, the apple snail, was falsely labeled as another species, and nearly half her shell was brutally torn off by her tank mates. The man who helped me dropped her while handling and roughly smacked her against the glass wall in attempt to catch her, leaving a still healing crack across her entire body (more details on Suzie's condition are described in the attached photos). Suzie is currently doing MUCH better, and the remaining nerite snails are as well.

The nerite snails seemed a little better, however they were all severely malnourished, half of the animals in the tank were dead, and the loaches had bitten into the shells so far that the sensitive flesh beneath was openly exposed. In a later photo, one of those bites is still visible, and has yet to heal (circled in red). Two of the snails are currently doing fine, but the third (with the most and deepest bites) died shortly after living in the tank, maybe a few weeks? I was told by the employee that "helped" me that none of the invertebrates are fed. Really? NONE of your animals are being properly managed? The deceased snail ate like it had never seen food before once it was introduced, but rarely moved across the tank. It was clearly sick, and despite my best efforts, it did the best it probably ever could have seeing the conditions it had previously lived in.

The tanks were filled with dead animals, and they were all crammed into tanks much too small for any one of them -let alone the hordes of around 100 nerites and about 30 apple snails ON TOP of the aggressive fish. The employees were rude and didn't want to help me, it was a struggle to convince one of them to come give me their sickly animals. When I asked if I could have an apple snail, the man didn't even hesitate to pull any one out of the bottom of the tank. He even looked through the ones crunched together at the bottom, some of which had been dead for so long the little trapdoor appendages had rotted off and floated away as he pushed around for Suzie. Had I have known beforehand how awful the conditions were, I NEVER would have purchased any of these animals, but once I was there it felt wrong to just say "never mind" and let them die there. Out of curiosity, I went to another Petco (this time to purchase extra filter cartridges since it was the only nearby place that offered them), and the conditions were exactly the same. Dead fish in overcrowded tanks being handled by rude employees. These places should be shut down.


As for those last two photos, that is not Suzie or any other snail from Petco, those are other apple snails of the genetic strain that Suzie is. I was under the impression that I was going to have a snail the size of a golfball, not a beast like that. She will definitely be well taken care of here, but buyers be warned! THAT is what Petco is trying to sell as the comparably tiny Golden Inca Snail.

This review is a subjective opinion of a user.
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More Review Details

Layout of Store
Diversity of Products or Services
Discounts and Special Offers
Customer service
Exchange, Refund and Cancellation Policy

  • What I liked
    • Not much any more
    • Variety of goods for sale
  • What I disliked
    • Animal conditions
    • Customer treatment
    • Animal handling

Reason of review:
Lack of education among workers who deal with abused animals on a daily basis
Preferred solution:
Full refund
Monetary loss:
Product or service
Apple Snail
Review category
Pet Stores
review #774813 by

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Feb 17 #1113589

You have some valid points but at the same time it's totally unfair for someone to generalize an entire company based on their experiences at TWO stores..

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Jan 21 #1098494

We're sorry about your recent experience and thank you for bringing it to our attention. We'd like to make things right. Can you please call our customer support team at (888-824-7257) so that our team can look into this situation further? We appreciate your feedback on this and we look forward to hearing from you.

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