Family Of Eight Lives With 81 Exotic Animals
Dad-of-six Scott Gavin has made five enclosures in his garden for his creatures to live in, but still has three pythons that share a room with his 12-year-old son, Robert.
But Scott, 35, insists that it's all 'totally safe' and that the snakes, some of which are as big as 12ft long, are fine to slither round his back garden while his children, including his three-year-old and 21-month-old daughters play.
And because of Scott's passion for his animals, his children all love them too. His son Robert, who is autistic, finds comfort in Rosie, his pet skunk.
His other children Jake, 12, Chloe, 11, and Ellie-Mai, eight, all play in the same area as his creatures, which also include a barn owl, meerkats, hedgehogs, Burmese pythons and giant cockroaches. Many are also registered for therapy visits to elderly homes.
Scott said: "My youngest Megan, who has Down's syndrome, loves the snakes but she is too heavy handed.
"If it is a sunny day, I allow the snakes to roam free in the garden and bask in the paddling pool whilst the children play.
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"But I'd never leave them unattended as they could constrict any of them at any time. We have got cute fluffy guinea pigs, rabbits, meerkats, ducks and reptiles including geckos, lizards and snakes. Robert and Rosie the skunk are inseparable.
"We have 14 snakes including pythons, corn snakes, a false water cobra, Baron's racer and western hognose - they are harmless.
"The pythons could constrict you at any moment but I look after them and I don't think it would happen."
The family lives in Kirkby, Merseyside in a five-bedroom house, and they spend roughly £400 ($500) per month caring for them.
Scott runs Party Central Entertainments, an animal educational and party visits company, and he said the animals become a good talking point for the elderly. They're also used at prisons as a way to bring fathers and sons together on visits.
He said: "There's many perks to the job such as seeing people's face light up when they are a few feet away from a racoon or realise a skunk doesn't actually smell.
"But I will never forget the moment an autistic boy broke his five year silence when communicating with me about one of the skunks - his mum was so happy.
"It is also fascinating to see the elderly with the animals and hear stories from back in their day."
Featured Image Credit: Storytrender