A WOMAN has revealed that she shares her home with 15 snakes – and a tarantula called Norman.
Among the creatures sharing Kelsey Alldritt’s flat is a Burmese Python that is already 11ft long and will be 16ft by the time it is fully grown.
Kelsey, 28, recently moved from her home city of Aberdeen to Pembroke, Wales, taking her entire collection of exotic creatures on the 540-mile trip.
Her fascination with the reptiles only began four years ago when her boyfriend, Theo, 31, asked her to look after his small pet snake while he worked offshore.
Now Kelsey takes care of a reticulated python, a carpet python, two boa constrictors, two Amazon tree boas, a red tail boa, four royal pythons, a corn snake, a western hognose and a Brazilian rainbow boa.
Keeping Norman the Tarantula happy in the non-snake department are a bearded dragon, two ferrets and three giant snails.
Kelsey devotes her time to educating people about the benefits of having snakes as pets, and is determined to change people’s perceptions of the much-feared reptiles.
She said: “Theo was working offshore and he asked me if I was comfortable going into his flat to to feed his snake whilst he was away. I said I was, and I instantly fell in love with his small snake.
“Four and a half years later and we kept on collecting, and we had 15 snakes in the one bedroom.
“Theo was offered a job in Wales and so we moved into a place which is slightly bigger for the snakes.
“It was difficult to move them, but these snakes are our children and we love them very much”.
She added: “My aim is to educate people about these incredible animals. They’re simply misunderstood and given a bad reputation. If I can change the minds of only a few, I feel I’ve done my bit”.
“People’s perceptions of snakes are never seen in a positive light, and I feel a lot of this is down to how snakes are portrayed in the media and on documentaries.
“When a snake feeds it is arguably more humane as the prey is killed before they swallow it whole, unlike a lion which would probably eat you alive.”
Kelsey warned that safety and common sense is paramount when dealing with these animals.
Kelsey continued: “Each snake has its very known tank that is locked at night or when we are out. Although we like to have a least one or two out of their tank when we are home.
“All of our snakes get an upgrade on the size of their tank when they outgrow their current one.
“The best bit is feeding the snakes as it is just an amazing experience. The snakes feed on frozen rodents which require their own freezer.”
She added: “I’d love a dog, I grew up with a dog, but Theo and I work full time and it is not fair to leave a social animal like that alone all day. Snakes are not social animals making it easier to keep.
Kelsey said: “Whenever I get people telling me that I am wrong to have a snake as a pet I say ‘everything you call a pet was once a wild animal’.
“My aim is to educate people about these incredible animals. They’re simply misunderstood and given a bad reputation. If I can change the minds of only a few, I feel I’ve done my bit”.