Terri Sommella Fire and Ice Dragons -- Nightmare - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 10-11-2004, 02:45 AM   #1
Terri Sommella Fire and Ice Dragons -- Nightmare

DISCLAIMER -- This is long, if you want the abbreviated version, and rant just skip to the bottom. Hope it entertains

My girlfriend and I recently purchased a holdback hypo-snow from Terri Somella of Fire and Ice Dragons. It has been the worst experience we have ever had with reptiles.

We recently had to give up a beautiful pair of dragons because the female's reoccurring infection was costing too much in vet bills with no guarantee of an end. It was hard for my girlfriend to part with Yuki, and so we decided to get another dragon and this time do it right. We did our research and narrowed our choices down to fire and ice, and sandfire. We wanted a white dragon so we chose to go with Terri's snow line. Additionally we were especially attracted to her health gaurantee and return policy which I have copy and pasted below;


We guarantee the health of the animal for up to 30 days. Once you receive your new dragon, if after one week you are not satisfied with the animal, return the animal and we will refund your purchase price upon our receipt of the healthy animal. While we make every effort to accurately sex dragons, gender is not guaranteed.

Please contact us immediately upon the arrival of your new dragon. We are interested in the well being of all baby dragons that we raise. Email us to let us know when the dragon starts eating as well, since eating is a very important reassurance that your new dragon is adjusting in his or her new home. (see Care Sheet)"

You can find this at; http://www.securebaltimore.com/firea...ns/pricing.cfm

We talked with Terri, were comfortable with her, and decided to pay the $500 for a female hypo-snow, 7.5 inches long. We made arrangements to have it shipped, and I took the day off from school so I would be home when she arrived. The dragon arrived, and went immediately into the 2' by 2' cage we had already prepared for her. I then called Terri to tell her the dragon had arrived. She told me to spray her with water to re-hydrate her, and then leave the dragon alone for a couple of days. We did this, and Skadi appeared to be adjusting well, I saw her drink once, and she seemed active and alert although she would gape whenever she saw one of us, which led me to cover the sides of her cage in paper bags to lessen the stress on her. We fed her once, and of the 3 crickets we put in there, only two were left at the end of the day. The only interaction she had with us during this time was to mist her, and check her temperatures as per Terri's instructions. We were in the middle of a heatwave at the time, so daytime peak would sometimes reach 90 degrees, but we set up fans and had good air circulation, and skadi had a large water bowl she could soak in. Additionally she didn't seem to have any problems, remaining alert and active through it all.

Skadi did not eat for the first four days which for a beardie was somewhat unusual but we figured she was just very stressed by the transcontinental shipping she had endured. I called Terri to give her an update and she was VERY upset I had not called her earlier. She told me we had to get Skadi eating NOW, and that she could starve to death if not helped immediately. Skadi was 7.5 inches when she arrived, and I knew stressed lizards could not eat for up to a week sometimes, but Terri's alarm convinced me this was serious. She gave me the recipe for a formula, of 3 parts baby food, 1 part pedialyte that she used as emergency feeding and hydration. I decided to stay home from school again, went to the store, mixed up the food, and spent the rest of day trying to feed this reluctant baby dragon. Thankfully she would still gape whenever she saw me and I was able to drop the food in her mouth Even with that it took a few hours before she ate it all.

The next day, we discussed the possibility of returning the animal as per Terri's gaurantee, but she pointed out that we hadn't tried everything, so how could we say we weren't satisfied. My girlfriend then spent over an hour on the phone with Terri getting a detailed list of instructions on what to do to get our baby to eat. We then ordered a batch of "fire and ice special" superworms from the supplier Terri reccommended to us, and paid to have them overnighted to us and delivered on Saturday. By the end of that weekend Skadi had still not eaten. The heatwave had died down, we had carefully monitored the temperature, keeping it a steady 75 in the cool spot and 95 in the hotspot, which Terri assured us was a neccessity as any temperature higher than 95 would cook our baby. Additionally I talked to the East Bay Vivarium, and Steve at Big Cage Reptiles, both of whom keep young dragons, steve breeds them, about what we could do to get Skadi to eat. By Monday Skadi had only eaten once in 10 days, and it had been the formula. We were at our wits end. Again I talked to Steve, and East Bay, both of whom suggested we raise the temperatures to 80 cool end, and 100-110 basking, something Terri had repeatedly warned us against doing. Steve additionally suggested taking her to the vet and having her checked for parasites, or simply dosing her with parazap which he uses on his dragons. We talked to Terri again and she was becoming increasingly hostile and irritated whenever we called, saying "no one else had needed this much help with one of her animals". But we talked and she was insistent we NOT take Skadi to the vet as it would only stress her further. By next afternoon Skadi still hadn't eaten.

My girlfriend talked to Terri the next day, while I was out, and when I got home I found her in tears. She had talked with Terri about returning Skadi as per gaurantee on her website saying we were not at all satisfied with the animal, and since she wouldn't eat for us but had eaten with Terri maybe the best thing for the baby was to go back. Terri had proceeded to accuse us of "abusing and torturing her baby". She said that "she didn't need to take this abuse", that we were "trying to rip her off", and that "she would not take back an animal that had been abused and tortured". When my girlfriend told Terri that we had asked other breeders for advice Terri screamed at her saying "how dare you talk to other breeders, who's going to know my own children better than me"? The phone call had ended with Terri saying "I don't think we should talk again" and hanging up. Since then she has refused to talk to us either by phone or e-mail, and since we're in California and she's in Baltimore we can't seek her out in person.

Since Terri wouldn't help us we turned to East Bay, who boarded Skadi for us for 2 weeks, and after over a week of hard work managed to get her to eat. I talked with the staff there extensively, calling to check on Skadi every day, and both David and Nathan told me flat out that "we had gotten a bad animal". Saying that at Skadi's size (7.5 inches) she should be eating like a pig, and should not have taken as long as she did to adjust.

I know this was a long post, and thank anyone who's made it this far. To sum up;


We paid $500 plus shipping for this animal

Terri's website, www.fireandicedragons.com, clearly states that if for any reason you are not satisfied with your animal after 7 days you may return it for a full refund upon repceipt of a healthy animal.

We STILL want to return this animal

Terri WILL NOT respond to our attempts to communicate

We REFUSE to ship to the return address as we do NOT want Skadi to DIE.

Terri gaurantees the health of her animals for 30 DAYS.

A young bearded Dragon that does not eat normal food for 10 days is NOT healthy.


When I spend $500 for an animal why on earth would I try to kill it, or abuse it!?! I was willing to spend that much because I wanted a top of the line, healthy animal to replace a beloved pet whose vet bills had broken $1000! I'm a college student for crying out loud, and my girlfriend's a musician!! If I really was an animal abuser then why are my 7 snakes, and 2 other lizards growing like weeds? Our Leopard Geckoes tail is as wide as her head! My family bought a purebred dog when I was young, and that breeder was willing to be on the phone 'til all hours answering any question no matter how inane. While I don't expect THAT level of service from anyone, I still expect to be able to talk to the person I gave $500 to without having them insult me, and reduce my girlfriend to tears, it makes me feel like an idiot, and that makes me mad. I understand it was a VERY trying situation...but guess what...it was trying on us TOO! I missed two days of classes, including a test because I did not want our baby to die. So when someone then has the temerity and unmitigated gall to say I abused this animal and I'm trying to rip them off? Who's out $500 if Skadi dies!?! ME!! Who is ripping who off here!?! Who won't return whose calls??? Why is it that people I did not buy this animal from are the ones who have been the most helpful? When I thanked one of the guys at East Bay after he had been on the phone with me for an hour trying to figure out what could be done to get Skadi to eat you wanna know what he said to me? "don't worry about it, this is what I get paid for". What did I pay Terri for? When I told Steve at Big Cage Reptiles what was going on, you wanna know what he did? He sent me some parazap FREE! He didn't have to, it wasn't an animal he sold me. But he did it anyway. Guess who I'm going to keep doing business with?

Anyway, in conclusion if you are thinking about doing business with Terri Somella of Fire and Ice Dragons think long and hard. It may be that we just caught her on a bad month, but for $500 do you want to take thast risk? Go with someone you know, you can meet with face to face, who will show you a picture of the animal (she wouldn't). If you have the choice between someone you know who will stand behind their animals but maybe doesn't have the prettiest ones pick them over someone with pretty animals you've never met. I'm still kicking myself for not buying an animal from Steve, or East Bay, yeah they're not white, but in retrospect I can live with that.

Jonathan Newsome
Old 10-11-2004, 05:52 AM   #2

I am really surprised to hear this post, I personally purchased 2 blood holdbacks in 2003 at a whiteplains show from terri. We were extremely happy with our purchase and they proved to be EXCELLENT additions to our program.

I'd really like to hear terri respond to this before continuing. Im still in shock.....
Old 10-11-2004, 08:06 AM   #3
What kind of infection did your other female have.I ask this because it might be husbandry problem you are having.Odd you are having health issues with 2 out of 3 beardies you have owned.Maybe herping is not for you.My oppinion,take it how you want.
Mike Wampole
Old 10-11-2004, 08:35 AM   #4
Casey Hulse
That is sad

I am sorry for your beardie. Bad story all around.
For $500 Fire and Ice should fly out to you and treat her themselves.
Husbandry issues aside, there is no reason you should be treated like that, I hope this issue gets resolved, good luck!
Old 10-11-2004, 09:36 AM   #5
That sucks and is NOT right... By the way 95 is NOT warm enough. They need it hotter then that. I hope that they make is right. This is not the first time I have heard about a bad experience with them. Keep us posted. WOW 500.00 dollars....
Old 10-11-2004, 10:15 AM   #6
I have read their caresheet. They state the basking area should be 105 to 115. This is right. If you were only giving a heat area of 95 it is no wonder the dragon did not eat. If they do not get warm enough they will not eat, digest or poop their food. This would not be Fire and Ice's fault. Proper housing and food item size is VERY important to the life of a beardie among other things.
Old 10-11-2004, 11:55 AM   #7
I'm not affiliated with Terri, but I have to agree that it sounds like a husbandry issue. This wasn't your first beardie, but you're still unsure about the proper temps?

I think it's odd that her advice on the phone would contradict the caresheet on her site. However, regardless of what she told you, you should never limit yourself to just one resource. This applies to basically every facet of life, from an academic paper to animal husbandry to movie reviews. Bearded dragons are a popular pet, and there is an incredible wealth of information out there to show for it. You should be able to Google up a gazillion caresheets. If 50 of them say to keep the basking temps at 110, wouldn't it occur to you that the one or two people who say to keep it at 90 might be wrong?

Did she actually say, "Don't let the temps go over 95 degrees," or did she warn against raising the temps perhaps thinking you had them higher than what you did?
Old 10-11-2004, 12:36 PM   #8
To me it sounds like she recommended the baby be kept at 95 even though her care sheet says different.

If this is a husbandry issue, why wouldn't the first words out of her mouth be 95 degrees is not warm enough. He was forward with what he was doing and the buyers communication seems to be open and good. The temp thing is an easy fix. I feel as if the buyers had been told to keep it at 110 they would have. If I bought a high end dragon I would do some research of course, but I would also follow the sellers instructions, until a problem arose. Unless they were way off track with what I had read.

I'd also like to hear from Fire and Ice as the rep I hear about them is a good one. I live close and when I chat with rep people they have alwasy recommeded Fire and Ice Dragons.

Why couldn't you see a pic of your Dragon before purchasing her?

Good luck!
Old 10-11-2004, 12:37 PM   #9
I notified terri about this thread because I'd like to hear thier side before passing judgement. All we can do is wait and see if they reply.
Old 10-11-2004, 01:51 PM   #10

I was a little concerned in your original complaint that you said that your first dragon had a reoccurring infection, and that when you got a new dragon that you were going to do it "right". Does that mean that you were not taking care of the first one properly and it caused the infections and so now you wanted to take care of the new one right? Or did you mean "right" by getting a nicer looking one. Please explain what the reoccurring infection was.

Throughout the entire time of you explaining that you could not get the baby to eat, you never said that you tried to hand feed it with a syringe, or that anyone recommended it to you. I have never had a baby not eat that way. All you have to do is hold the baby between your fingers and put a drop of food on the end of it's nose and it will eat.

I think that there are a lot of issues here that you need to educate yourself on. You stated that you knew that some dragons would not eat for a week, yes, that is an adult. It can go for an extended time without eating, but a baby needs to be fed at least once a day. Please go buy every book on the market and read them, you should not have had to call around to so many people if you knew what you were doing in the first place.

$500 is outrageous.

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