Fire at Bassets Cricket Ranch could leave lizards hungry

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It's not clear how the fire started but damage estimate tops $1 million.

This bearded dragon lizard has a voracious appetite, for crickets.

But Ian Lockwood, the owner the pet shop and animal rescue where he lives isn't sure where his next meal is coming from.

"All these guys need to eat, at this moment I'm just kind of in a daze. I don't what I'm going to do."

Lockwood owns Exotic Pets in Visalia. She's upset because the crickets and mealworms other bugs this pet shop and others all over the United States get to feed their reptiles comes from Bassets Cricket Ranch, just outside of Visalia.

But shortly after midnight Friday the place caught fire. Captain Joanne Bear of the Tulare County Fire Department says it was a two-alarm blaze.

A couple of the buildings that housed some of the crickets were destroyed, along with some of their operations.

It's not clear how the fire started and the Bassetts are upset. The damage estimate tops $1 million. They've been raising and selling crickets and bugs for decades.

But now, pet shops, zoos, and reptile owners will be scrounging for new supplies.

For what Lockwood describes as a variety of reptiles and amphibians who live on crickets, "Bearded dragons, lots of leopard gecko's all my frogs eat, turtles, it's a lot of animals ."
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