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undertaker
09-15-2006, 12:21 PM
Has anyone used live animals in their haunt or been to a haunt that did? How were the animals used? Was it worth it?

AcoreMANNER
09-15-2006, 01:18 PM
I've been thinking about using live animals too. I've never seen it in a haunt. Whenever I ask people their opinion its about 50/50 on whether they think its a good idea or not.

Jim Warfield
09-15-2006, 04:16 PM
At least when you build them their tiny little rest rooms, they don't take up much room.
Besides certain aromas and the possibility of someone getting bit, also consider people's allergys to pet dander, it can be a real concern, says this voice of experience.

09-15-2006, 06:23 PM
Two years ago we had a dozen live rats in a large cage that the customers had to walk under to get out of the room. It did freak people out but there was 2 problems, first is the fact that they stink bad and the cage needs to be cleaned every day! Second is that they tend to sleep a lot. Not much that is scary about a sleeping rat. The positive thing was that they became part of the family. We would play with them every day. They are very friendly and in a weird way kinda cute!

As far as weather or not it was worth it I would have to say it's probably more trouble than it's worth.

Howie Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House
www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com

Duke of Darkness
09-15-2006, 07:39 PM
I haven't seen this done at a haunt other than the exotic animals that were residents at Verdun Manor back in Lance Pope's day. There are some potential problems with using live animals as part of a show, including stress on the animals, required care and maintenance, unreliability of animal "performers," not to mention claims of animal cruelty. That said, handled well, it could go over in a big way.

Something that I have been toying with is a bizarre animal petting zoo.
I am planning on using a blue tongued skink, a monitor lizard, several snakes, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, "Stickbugs", and perhaps a descented skunk. Anybody have any ideas for other creatures that might work?

Dave

Bonesaw
09-16-2006, 01:16 AM
Personally I wouldn't try it. Too much potential for an animal lover to claim yur abusing the animalz & call the SPCA on you & have you shut down.

Jim Warfield
09-16-2006, 01:31 AM
Taxidermied "Pets" being babied and catered to by a nutty human would be more interesting.
I removed "Mr. Tuxedo from his place in the kitchen because people were telling me they were allergic to cats and some people where being physically cruel to him when I would turn my back. Some people hate certain types of animals.

Midnight13
09-16-2006, 11:51 PM
We have had both live snakes (up to 500) in a scene and live rats for many years in our haunt. Overall they are great for marketing ("we have live Snakes!), but are very hard to maintain (especially if you have to keep them all year around, feed them, etc,...). Unfortunately you can't make wild animals act the way you want them to, and usually they are piled up in the darkest corner where no one can see them. Snakes tend to be very inactive and most people don't believe they are even real because they aren't moving much.

Rats will eat through just about anything (including the walls) and are hard to maintain also. They are better as line entertainment than in a scene. They stink and only live a year or two.

I have great sources for snakes if anyone needs them. Email me at Dwayne@midnightproduction.com

jason
09-17-2006, 08:08 PM
[quote="Howie Slobber Erlich"]Two years ago we had a dozen live rats in a large cage that the customers had to walk under to get out of the room. It did freak people out but there was 2 problems, first is the fact that they stink bad and the cage needs to be cleaned every day! Second is that they tend to sleep a lot. Not much that is scary about a sleeping rat. The positive thing was that they became part of the family. We would play with them every day. They are very friendly and in a weird way kinda cute!

As far as weather or not it was worth it I would have to say it's probably more trouble than it's worth.

at the USS Nightmare one of our icon characters is the rat lady (cpt. mitchell's mistress). she has been with us for many yeras..actually since the uss nightmare I was around. there would be people in line that look forward to seeing her with her other 30 or so little children.

yes, the rat's do smell..whcih is great!
yes, there cages do need to be cleaned...which we have a staff for
yes, the rats do sleep ONLY if you do not give them something to eat on during your show AS WELL as keeping the lights sort'a low.

besides rats, the boat carries love snakes..and last year we did have a hissing cockroach crawling all over an actor's face (he brought his pet).

sidenote..there will be a 2 lb rat in the show this year (as well as 2 actors working in our clow area who are..professional clowns. WOW did we strick some gold!)

the staff at the USS Nightmare wish you ALL a very happy and very safe season!!! let the haunting begin!

jason

www.ussnightmare.com
www.myspace.com/ussnightmare

AcoreMANNER
09-17-2006, 09:53 PM
If you had people walk under a rat cage....didnt the rats poop through the cage and possibly onto the customers. And, if you did have a poop catch or whatever didnt it block the view of the rats as they walked under?

Can you guys please be more specific on how you used the rats? I like the idea of walking underneathe them.

jason
09-18-2006, 08:56 AM
the look of the room for the rat lady is a room filled with cargo crates that are stacked to the ceiling! in the main box you get a clear image of the rat lady. on the left side of her crate is another crate that has a hole created by the rats from chewing through the box in means of escape as well as the age of the crates (this boat has been around since the 1930's ya know). above those two crats is another that, it too, has holes in them where you get a different overhead view of the rats. yes the rats run rampid in this room as well as the boat..some have escaped.

no wonder we have sooo many cats on shore (we even have a black cat that hangs out)!!


no poop get's in the way of the customer's viewing pleasure nor does anyone get pooped on....unless your the rat lady! ha one reason is that the cages get cleaned every night.

brad
09-19-2006, 05:56 PM
If you had people walk under a rat cage....didnt the rats poop through the cage and possibly onto the customers. And, if you did have a poop catch or whatever didnt it block the view of the rats as they walked under?

Can you guys please be more specific on how you used the rats? I like the idea of walking underneathe them.

One answer to that question would be to have the actual cage made out of plexiglass, at least on the bottom. One hallway design that I will be using is a hallway filled with snakes, rats, spiders, and roaches; 4 of the most creepy and feared of small animals. It has been researched some and in no way will be harmful to any of the animals.
Overall, the patron will be walking through the hallway with rats and snakes on top and bottom, then roaches and spiders on either side.

One easy thing for us is going through a small local zoo, that will be renting these creatures out to us. So far everything is coming together, so it will hopefully work out pretty well.

Jim Warfield
09-19-2006, 07:05 PM
Having live snakes, rats and others will see some people wanting a refund if they find this out before entering, after they buy a ticket.
Quite a few of these people will not be coming back..ever.
Our peculair tastes for entertainment do not suit everybody. just how peculair one wishes to go and yet still have enough paying , returning good customers is the balancing act we all (or most of us ) try to do.
Of course if those snakes and rats are financial investors in your place, what else can you do but try to placate them?
I was very fortunate that I couldn't find a partner when I was looking for one when I opened this place.

AcoreMANNER
09-27-2006, 01:11 AM
I think Im gonna try a rat scene. And maybe have some lizards somewhere else.

I think the way you display and are keeping the live animals will be the difference in wether they have a problem or not. Dont put a rat in a box and shine a light on him. Give them some freedome, maybe some hay or whatever they like to jam around on. Show them some love. Sounds fun.

Hopefully the pet store will buy them back.

DrARKane
09-27-2006, 08:52 AM
I have used rats in my haunt for a few years now .All my rats have been socialized and work well with people . Females are the best if you want activity as the males are the ones that tend to sleep alot. All my rats are litter trained and for the most part will only use the litterbox, (a very easy thing to train a rat to do) . I do not recomend useing hay or cedar for bedding as hay can poke a rats eye out and cedar has been proven to be harmful to the rats respiratory system. The shredded paper bedding is the best in my opinion. And if you change it often there is very little smell if any. I feed them pellets once a day with a few treats every once in a while. I keep them on a fairly low protein diet (they tend to live longer,lifespan is only about 2 to 3 years) and when i want them to move around for the show i throw some sunflower seed into the rat room and that keeps them moveing around for quite a while. Rats should be bought from a reputible source, alot of rats have been bred for snake food and not for temperment..these are the ones that will bite and a good rat bite is not fun. I use alot of black art in my show and my Irish silver rat is a real ham and seems to have figured out the routine pretty well...i work with my rats at least an hour to 4 hours a day everyday.almost all of my older rats will come when i call them. All in all they are fun to work with , need attention as do all creatures, and they are not for everyone.
Happy Haunting
Dr ARKane

AcoreMANNER
09-28-2006, 07:23 AM
DrARKane - Thanks for all that useful information. How much does a rat cost?

DrARKane
09-28-2006, 10:24 AM
Average price for a rat bred for good temperment is anywhere from $5.00 to $12.00 this will get you a good augouti, rex or dumbo.or a mix breed of the same. I paid $15.00 for my irish silvers and $75. 00 for my giant african. Lots of good information out there on care and training, just look around. Dont mix your males and females or you will have lots of rats. Cages are very important..they need room and should be given new things to play with and things to explore as they can get bored very easy. not hard to work with and keep if you commit to it. They should have lots of attention. Feel free to ask any more questions if i can help i will. They are really great pets!
Dr ARKane

Duke of Darkness
09-28-2006, 02:37 PM
DrARKane -

As I said above, I am playing with the idea of a bizarre petting zoo. We already have a couple of lizards, a snake, some hissing cockroaches, etc.

I am wondering how well a Giant African Rat would work in this environment. They are bizarre and creepy enough for the exhibit, but I have heard that they can be aggressive. What do you think?

Thanks,

Dave