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Honestly , I wouldn't be so concerned about the welfare of the "critters" , as much as I would the TOT'ers . Imagine one of your "critters" gets out and bites someone . Not only would you have a nice lawsuit on your hands , BUT , you would also put a BIG hurting on home haunts in general .
I know thqt theres a LOT of animal activists out there ( I know first hand - I drive a bull rack ) and they of course , would make sure that no harm would come to the "critters" , but ... think of all the "moms" you would have on your case , if little Johnnies friend thought it would be neat to dump the snake tank over ( or other critter - aka - tarantula - scorpion - rat , or whatever ) to scare likttle Suzie , who is behind him .
no , poeple are hard enought to try and control , but , sorry , animals can NOT be controlled 100 per cent and I think that this like playing with matches . .

Not a good idea IMO .
Shoot , we have enough safety issues without going that route . ( Now , if this is for a professional haunt , then please excuse everything written above . )
 

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A few years ago there was a thread about cockroach rooms.

One guy posted that he had built his room out of plexi-glass and then raised live cockroaches and put them in between the plexi-glass and outside walls (Including under the floor).

He said it was a lot of trouble raising the cockroaches, and probably wouldn't do it again - but it was very cool!
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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A few years ago there was a thread about cockroach rooms.

One guy posted that he had built his room out of plexi-glass and then raised live cockroaches and put them in between the plexi-glass and outside walls (Including under the floor).

He said it was a lot of trouble raising the cockroaches, and probably wouldn't do it again - but it was very cool!
That would most likey be me..... I worked in a Haunted House for 13 years and last few years got to design one each year. And yes I liked the effect of live creatures. :)

Actually raising the roaches was fun and easy. The hard part was designing the plexi-glass floor for people to walk over without hurting the bugs. We did have animal rights people called out on us and I had to show them that the bugs were actually safe and taken care of. (I got rid of all my creepy crawlers once we started having kids, but now that they are older, I have started to collect a few. I currently have a pair of blaberus craniifer (death head cockroaches) which are much more difficult to breed so we'll see how it goes. I'm hoping I'll have babies before Halloween.

Besides the roaches, one year I helped design a jungle room with head hunters and again, inclosed in a plex-glass area we had our snake Crusher (although he was much smaller back then, only about 5 foot long). The last year that I worked in the Haunted House (before they decided to close it), I designed a two room butcher shop, the front had arms and leg hanging from the ceiling and the plexi-glass case/meat counter, I build as a large rodent cage with screen bottom and removable trays to easily clean up after the super rats we had crawling around inside with props and actual rib bones the rats like to chew on. The back room (or freezer) had a half body (live actor) on a chopping table screaming for her life when the guest would move in to take a closer look, leatherface with a chainsaw came out after them.

We have also done the greet the TOTs at the door with rats on our shoulders. If you are not familiar with animals and just want to do it for a scare effect, then I would say NO! But if you know your animals and take care of them and are sure both the TOTs and animal will be safe, then go for it. I can't tell you how many people ask to hold a scorpion when they see me handling them.
 

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Lord of the Cemetery
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My giant white rat, Stitchface, would sit on my shoulder on Halloween night when I was greeting the TOTs. He was huge...blind in one eye and with half his face missing following a fight with another rat.
He was extremely gentle, despite his hideous appearance.
The "braver" TOT's could give him pieces of fruit...the less brave ones could touch or stroke his tail...

I do wish he had had better bladder control, though.:(

I agree with pod...If you know your animals, and are using them as part of an experience, rather than to scare, then there should be no problem...otherwise using live animals to scare people can be distressing for animals and TOT's alike.
 

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I was going to use either my brother's guinea pigs or my pet rabbit for a mad scientist's lab as the next victims for a "crossbreeding" experiment, so unless your animals will pose a threat to the guests, you'll be fine.
 
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