ONLINE, ILLINOIS -- I had the worst experience with Backwater. I ordered an adult garter snake on a Thursday which meant it would ship out Monday and arrive Tuesday. So the weekend passes and it's Monday night around 7 or 8 pm. I email their customer support line because I hadn't received tracking information. At this point I'm pretty optimistic still, I was just excited and I wanted to make sure everything was ok with my order. Next morning, nothing. I get a response around 2-3 in the afternoon telling me they are out of adult garter snakes and asking if I'd accept a baby instead.
At this point, I'm pretty annoyed that no one thought to mention this to me between when I placed my order on Thursday until they received my email wondering where my package was on Tuesday but whatever. I accept and ask when I should expect it. I receive an email back saying I should expect tracking information later that day and the snake would arrive the next day. Great! Wonderful! Except 8 pm rolls around and guess who still hasn't gotten tracking information. I email them again saying I'm starting to get frustrated as I'm still not receiving any tracking information.
Next day I get a response around 4-5 pm. “I don't understand what the problem is, my last email confirmed your order was shipped out. I don't know why you didn't receive tracking information but here it is” with a link to tracking information. I click the link. It detailed that the package had arrived that morning at a time when I was home, received by a person with a last name different from mine at an address in a different state. They sent me someone else's tracking information.
I email them back just saying it was someone else's tracking information. Several hours later I receive an email with tracking information saying my package is shipped. I never received an apology. But the story doesn't even end there. When I did receive the snake. I expected a snake that had been eating for several days, well taken care of etc. instead I got a baby garter snake who looked to be about a day old. He was tiny and skinny and possibly underweight.
For some reference, garter snakes are so little when they are born, they do much better in groups of their littermates. Garter snakes also give live birth. I expected a decently sized baby who was past the littermate grouping size and was a healthy weight so close to 8 or 10 inches long. I received a snake 4-5 inches long. For a happy ending he's doing okay however I had to make an entirely new setup when he arrived as well as needing to research what to feed this tiny thing. I've attached a photo of him but it makes him look bigger than he is, believe it or not.
SACRAMENTO, NORTH CAROLINA -- The snake that was delivered was pretty, but way too small (about 3") to be sold and shipped. It could not eat the pinkies, which Backwater Reptile suggested feeding it. We contacted Backwater Reptiles, informed them of everything that we were trying and the only response we received was to do the things that we had already documented trying. They did not even bother to listen to anything we informed them of and were absolutely worthless.
Backwater Reptiles insisted that the snake had eaten pinkies before being shipped to us, but we could not find any pinkies small enough for it to eat. Eventually we took the snake to our veterinarian and we were told it was too small to be force fed. We kept it alive for over a month by feeding it chicken broth. I've kept many snakes over the last 30 years, but allowed myself to be rushed to get a Western Hognose Snake for my son's 18th Birthday. Never again! Found a new pet shop and will never order one online again!
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- Ordered a Brazilian rainbow boa and I received no order confirmation. Know what - shipping confirmation as stated on the website that I would no notice of delay which on the website was stated that I would be notified yet based on their shipping timing chart I received the boa for three days late and of course shockingly confirmation. Know what -shipping confirmation as stated on the website that I would no notice of delay which on the website was stated that I would be notified yet based on their shipping timing chart I received the bow or three days late and of course shockingly (sarcasm) the poor boa was dead upon arrival.
This animal needs roughly 80° to survive which I understand if the package can't be kept at that temperature but there was no temporary heating pack it or anything to attempt to keep the animals at a somewhat reasonable temperature. Their packaging is not labeled as live animals it is labeled as perishable handle with care. I highly say stay away from Backwater Reptiles.
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- I've tried to just contact this company for a breeding pair of leopard geckos. I have questions I want answered before I give my hard earned money to anyone. I have been waiting for a reply from these people since about January 2018. I read all their so called testimonial on their website and found that it is all BS! I bet they made those testimonials on their own with fake accounts. It's too bad for them because I am looking for a long term business relationship with a good breeder for my leopard geckos. It damn sure won't be Backwater! I wonder if anyone has bothered to turn them in to the BBB?
After my own experience with these people and reading almost exactly the same story from other people I'm convinced this company is just a front for overcharging people through non-refundable shipping costs. I purchased a tarantula of 60$ value through them. Paid 39.99 for overnight shipping. It was dead on arrival. followed their instructions and find out after the fact that their live on arrival guarantee isn't what the definition of the words would lead you to believe.
Granted these people will send me a new tarantula for "Free" But I'd have to pay for shipping again, an additional 39.99 so after taxes and all said and done I'd be paying over 150$ for my original 60$ purchase because of their Negligence. And quite frankly at this point how long they took to reply considering a dead animal was involved and the insidious way they have set up their business model. I don't trust this company. STEER CLEAR OF THIS COMPANY.
CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA -- I tried to order 2 scorpions from this company. They say they have an Iron Clad live arrival guarantee. There is no guarantee at all. They have a scapegoat contract you have to agree to before they will do anything. I didn't think much of it until my scorpions got delayed one day and showed up dead. They did send me 2 more but I had to pay an additional $39.99 for the second try.
They showed up on time and still one was barely alive and the other dead. I wasn't going to spend another $39.99 to try a third time. To get my money back from the dead scorpions I had to send them a photo with the dead scorpions on the box they arrived in. When they sent the second pair. I had to did the old dead scorpions out of the garbage so they could see all 3 dead at the same time. So now after $79.98 in shipping I have 1 scorpion. This company is a ripoff.
SACRAMENTO, CA, CALIFORNIA -- My grandma ordered me a Avicularia Avicularia Pink Toe Tarantula. I wanted one so badly and could not bear to not have one. So the day I was given it was already a terrible day. I flunked two tests and was embarrassed in PE when I tried to do push-ups and failed. So my parents decided to give it to me to cheer me up, but when I got it; it was dead.
And no it doesn't end there it was the wrong species, the wrong size, and it was late! Then the company refused to give us a new spider. So we asked for our money back and they wouldn't. So I went to YouTube to complain and my mom went to yelp to write a review. And lo and behold they finally gave us our money back. So please don't buy from Backwater Reptiles.
CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA -- You know what's a great anniversary present. A frog, it's even better when it arrives dead and the company will not do anything to refund the order. This is unacceptable and one of the most pathetic excuses of a company I have ever dealt with. As someone who works at a store that sells both reptiles and amphibians this company is the equivalent of the puppy mill that dogs come from.
Both frogs (clown tree frog and pixie frog) were dead when they arrived and arrived a week late when overnight shipping was paid for. They didn't cover it due to how it's cold in our area but the problem is it took six days to arrive leaving the poor frogs stuck to freeze to death as a result of this company's negligence. I've had many animals shipped to me and this is by far the most cruel and horrible way that I have ever seen a animal shipped. It's clear to see that this company cares about one thing and one thing only, your payment.
They didn't even say sorry or act like they care that 2 frogs froze to death because of them. As someone who professionally deals with animals please disregard this company and stay far away from such a horrible company. Please do yourselves a favor and avoid this company like the plague. If you're stuck on ordering anything from them it can wait. This is the most pathetic poor excuse for a specialized animal company I have ever had to deal with.
ROCKLIN, CALIFORNIA -- We ordered a baby avicularia pink toe spider. The company improperly shipped it in substrate (dirt) and the baby spider was killed during shipping. The spider was labeled with another breed of spider so we aren't even sure they shipped the correct baby spider.
We ordered an arboreal spider (they climb not dig) and it should have been shipped in a packed tube with lightly packed paper towel or tissues as they are very fragile. We have ordered many other arboreal spiders and never had them shipped in loosely packed dirt. The company demanded we pay them another $40 to ship a replacement spider despite their negligence in shipping improperly. Given that they clearly do not know how to ship these I am not comfortable sending them more money.
They don't breed the pets they sell! They are drop shippers who take NO responsibility for how the animal/spider was shipped and then demand the customer eat the costs. They threaten you with collections if you tell them you are going to do a chargeback.