LEWISTON — Mr. Drew and His Animals Too is on the hunt for a new space in Lewiston to house its growing menagerie of slimy, slithering and skittering critters.

The exotic animal rescue organization occupies nearly 2,000 square feet on two floors in the Pepperell Mill at 550 Lisbon St., its home since 2018. But owner Drew Desjardins said they’ve outgrown the space and are searching for a larger location with better parking and more efficient heating.

Many of Desjardins’ exotic animals require summery temperatures to thrive, and heating the old, poorly insulated mill building is particularly expensive.

“Maintaining it in the winter months, it’s crazy,” he said. “I’m constantly running heaters and heat lamps and stuff all night long just to maintain a comfortable environment … we maintain 80-85 degrees (Fahrenheit) at all times.”

Desjardins said they don’t have a set timeline for moving. At the moment, they’re searching for a place with at least 6,000 square feet that would enable them to have separate areas for the education center, retail and quarantined animals.

The new location would also need to have space to host activities and events, he said, something which they can’t comfortably do at their current location.


Once a small, in-home operation, Mr. Drew and His Animals Too has grown to become one of the foremost exotic animal rescues and education centers in the state. The organization cares for several hundred reptiles, amphibians, mammals and more.

“We can’t stop taking in animals,” he said. “Who else is going to do it? You know, what we’re taking in, the humane society doesn’t touch.”

Lew S. Ton is “the resident greeter and mouser” at Mr. Drew and His Animals Too in Lewiston, according to Andrew Desjardins, right. The feline waits Tuesday afternoon for visitors to pet him. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Desjardins cares for unwanted or injured exotic animals and relocates hundreds out of state where they’re legal to own, legal to release or can be used for educational purposes. He keeps a number of different animals at the center to educate people through in-person and virtual events.

He aims to share his passion for conservation and environmental awareness through his organization. But it’s the children in particular that he strives to inspire.

“If I can make them aware at a young age how important even this little spider is to the bigger picture, they’re the ones who are going to grow up with that and hopefully hold onto that,” he said.

While a for-profit entity with 12 employees, Desjardins envisions converting the organization into a nonprofit in the future. But he’s not ready to make the change.

“We probably could become a nonprofit at this point,” he said. “But my concerns have always been, as a nonprofit, that I would lose my ownership. I would lose my vision because you have a board that’s going to make the decisions.”

Ultimately, Desjardins hopes to create a family museum of natural sciences and draw more people to Lewiston. Even now, Desjardins welcomes many far-flung visitors at the center.

“Let’s make this a destination point where they want to come here,” he said. “That’s always been my focus with (Mr. Drew and His Animals Too). We can make this big.”

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