Animal house! Couple obsessed with exotic pets share their semi-detached home with 120 snakes and 70 spiders – as well as rats, lizards, geckos, frogs, cockroaches and hedgehogs
- Geraint Hopkins, 68, and his wife Yolande live with the animals in Llanelli, Wales
- Mr Hopkins, known as Geraint the Snakeman, is well-known in the local town
- Amongst the creatures are Burmese pythons, albino pythons and red tarantulas
A couple obsessed with exotic pets keep around 120 snakes and 70 spiders along with hedgehogs, lizards and geckos inside their unassuming semi-detached house.
Geraint Hopkins, 68, and his wife Yolande live with the crazy collection of animals at their home in Llanelli, south Wales.
Amongst the creatures are Burmese pythons, albino pythons, Macklot’s pythons, a Mexican red knee tarantula and a salmon pink bird eater – the third-largest tarantula in the world, which can deliver a painful bite.
Snake and skeleton decorations adorn the rooms of their house, which are filled with noises coming from all types of animals.
Mr Hopkins, known as ‘Geraint the Snakeman’, is well-known in the town and can usually be found wearing his signature hat and zoo ranger shirt.
A couple obsessed with exotic pets keep around 120 snakes and 70 spiders along with hedgehogs, lizards and geckos inside their unassuming semi-detached house. Pictured is Geraint Hopkins with his Macklot’s python
Geraint Hopkins, also known as Geraint the Snakeman, pictured at his home in Llanelli, south Wales, where he keeps hundreds of exotic pets
He keeps around 120 snakes and 70 spiders along with hedgehogs, lizards and geckos inside his unassuming semi-detached house in Wales
Mr Hopkins said: ‘I started off in the 1980s when the local ambulance station were trying to raise money for defibrillators.
‘My friend had snakes so I borrowed one of his snakes and just started off with one snake in Llanelli.
‘We started earning quite a lot of money for charity using snakes in shop windows and people donating.’
People from the town centre came to recognise the unusual man with boas and pythons wrapped around his neck and head and he was dubbed as ‘Geraint the Snakeman.’
Snake and skeleton decorations adorn the rooms of their house, which are filled with noises coming from all types of animals. Pictured is their cat alongside two bald rats
The pair estimate that they own around 120 different snakes and 70 spiders. Pictured is one of their tarantulas
Geraint Hopkins, aka Geraint the Snakeman, pictured at his home where he keeps hundreds of exotic pets including these two bald rats
Mr Hopkins said: ‘It was the Llanelli Star that first called me Geraint the Snakeman and then everyone started to know me as Geraint the Snakeman.
‘I started doing more shows and TV programmes and talking to the press and people recognised me.’
But it wasn’t until Mr Hopkins met his wife Yolande in Llanelli that their collection of serpents eventually grew.
Mr Hopkins said: ‘I started with borrowing a snake from my mate and then, of course, I met Yolande and now we have hundreds of snakes.’
The pair estimate that they own around 120 different snakes and 70 spiders.
It wasn’t until Mr Hopkins met his wife Yolande in Llanelli that their collection of serpents eventually grew
Mr Hopkins has been called out to collect snakes by people in the area and even police forces.
If the animals are well enough he keeps and looks after them but discourages people from buying them as pets.
What animals live in Geraint and Yolande’s home?
Snakes: Burmese pythons, albino pythons and Macklot’s pythons
Spiders: Mexican red knee tarantula and a salmon pink bird eater
Mr Hopkins said: ‘I do shows and educational talks to encourage people not to buy snakes because at the end of the day they are still wild animals.
‘You can never really trust a snake – they can often just have a really bad day.
‘Snakes are definitely my favourite – people don’t realise how amazing they are. They are so intelligent. I just love being around them.’
The couple are both self-taught herpetologists and learned about the skills necessary to handle and look after snakes through various books and documentaries.
It takes two hours each day to clean up after the snakes and costs thousands each year to feed all the animals in the house.
Mr Hopkins said: ‘We have to wake up early and feed them all. What a lot of people don’t know is how long it takes to clean up after the snakes.
‘When I’m not here we have a security man. We have CCTV and security all over the house – it takes a lot of time and effort to look after them all but we love it.’
However he has suffered a few bumps and scratches along the way.
Mr Hopkins said: ‘One snake took the top of my thumb off and I get a few scratches and nips. I have been bitten but never by my own snakes.’
His work over the years has seen him brush shoulders with reality TV star Joey Essex and do a show for actor Sir Anthony Hopkins’ birthday.
Mr Hopkins has cured dozens of people of their snake and spider phobias but he ranks marrying Yolande as his greatest achievement.
Mr Hopkins (pictured) has suffered a few bumps and scratches along the way and had the top of his thumb taken off by one snake
He keeps hundreds of exotic pets including this white’s tree frog which is eating a maggot
Mr Hopkins said: ‘Meeting Yolande and marrying her has been my life highlight. And now we’ve got this place with hundreds of snakes and spiders and lizards – like you can see it’s like a zoo here..
‘I just love it all and Yolande loves it too – and who wants a boring life anyway?’
Source: Read Full Article