Reptile lover Eric LeBlanc owns hundreds of lizards and snakes.
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Recently, he has had to house some of the reptiles when fire broke out at his store and killed and injured some of his animals. The reptile enthusiast is not scared of the animals, and he allows his children Erica, 3, Larry, 4, and Katie, 7, to play with them.
His children have been bitten before. His daughter was bitten by a bearded dragon, and when Larry was 2, he was bitten by a ball python. He opened one of the tubs and frightened the animal, so it jumped and bit him on the nose.
Forty-three-year-old Eric is still repairing his reptile store. He wants to raise his children so that they have no fear of reptiles, since many of them are sharing their home now.
He adds, “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.”
He says Shelby is non-aggressive. The snake is over 19 feet long, and when you hold her, you can feel her strength. Eric says he has a total respect for the animals that he handles.
He is very relaxed about letting his children interact with the animals, although he stresses that he never leaves them unsupervised. He claims that his children are not in danger.
He says that everyone will have their opinion, and some people let their children shoot guns. He doesn’t allow his children to handle weapons, but he is okay with them handling the snakes. Eric says it’s just down to the difference on how a parent raises their children.
He doesn’t worry too much about the reptile bites. He says, “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.”