Weston man to open reptile zoo in back garden?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 December 2010 | UPDATED: 08:27 03 December 2010
A SNAKE-mad Weston man says he is determined to fulfil his lifelong ambition of opening a reptile zoo – in his garden.
Rupert Langridge, aged 26, owns about 100 animals, 70 of which are snakes, and after coming into some inheritance money he has begun transforming his large double garage into his very own zoo.
The George Street resident, who does not need planning permission for his unusual attraction , says he wants to educate, entertain and offer an experience to the people of North Somerset and his aim is open to the public once he has his zoo licence.
Rupert, who runs Strictly Scales with help from his girlfriend Scarlet Rain, said: “Snakes get such bad press, they are misunderstood and misrepresented.
“My goal is to educate people about these amazing creatures.
“People think that snakes eat people, so they focus on cute and furry animals like panda bears. Snakes are just as crucial as they protect crops and, in the tropical regions of the world, they are the number one form of rodent control. They need just as much support.”
The zoo will feature four of the six largest snake species on the planet and on the opening day a 17ft 45kg female reticulated python will be on display.
Additionally there will be a large tropical pond with Amazonian fish, flying snakes and turtles. A proportion of the zoo will be devoted to evolution of life on earth, the relationship between man and reptiles and the internal anatomy and senses of reptiles.
Tropical fish, insects, amphibians and a variety of tropical plant species will also be on show.
Rupert, who studied zoology at university and is a qualified teacher, offers educational talks to schools and says the zoo will be open in March 2011.
He says there has never been a verified report of a snake eating a person and out of the roughly 2,800 species of snake, only around 15 per cent pose a potential danger to humans.
Rupert, who is insured, has a snake licence and is CRB checked, says he will not rest until his reptile zoo mission is complete.
He added: “I believe the solution lies in education and encouraging an understanding of these remarkable creatures. There is a lack of education about snakes and I want to take people on a journey.”