Eric LeBlanc, 43, loves reptiles so much he lives with hundreds of snakes and lizards. A fire at his reptile store killed some of his animals so he moved the rest into his home where they frolic with his kids. Despite the danger the animals could pose he has no problem allowing his three children Erica, three, Larry, four, and Katie, seven, to handle them.
“The worst bite my daughter got was from a bearded dragon,” said Eric.
“My son got bit in the forehead one time by a ball python when he was around two-years-old.
“He opened one of the tubs after me and basically startled it – the python jumped up and bit him on the nose.”
His store is undergoing repairs and while the reptiles live the family, he is trying to raise his children to have no fear of them.
He said: “They make great pets. They don’t have fleas and are low maintenance so you don’t have to take them to a vet regularly like a dog or a cat.
“I have Shelby a seven-year-old albino lavender reticulated python – these are some of the biggest snakes in the world.
“Obviously the bigger the snake the bigger the teeth, so it’s dangerous – but Shelby is very placid. She is over 19ft long and believe me I know what she is capable of.
“When you hold her you can feel her moving you – she is like one big muscle.
“When she is playing with the kids she really pulls them.
“They can really feel the strength of her – you’ve got to have total respect for these animals and that’s what I have.”
He doesn’t seem to be putting his children in danger however as he insists they are safe and won’t leave them without supervision. He said: “In this country everybody has an opinion.
“Some people think it’s safe for kids to shoot guns.
“I won’t let my kids shoot guns but I’m comfortable with them being around reptiles – I guess we’re all pretty individual in how we bring our children up.”
“My kids have been bitten by pythons and dragons but they’re always fine,” added Eric.
“Growing up I was bitten by snakes, dogs and lizards but my biggest accident was when I fell from a tree – anything can happen – kids will be kids.”
He says the children now know so much about snakes they can tell different kinds snakes apart and know to leave them alone or approach them.
Eric also owned a 7ft 2ins crocodile monitor lizard called Jellybean, which was allowed to play with his children – unfortunately he died in the fire.