A man who is crazy about reptiles has a large collection of huge snakes and he has no problem allowing his three children to play with them.
Eric LeBlanc and his kids play with snakes
A father allows his three young children to play with his 19ft-long python and huge lizard collection – despite the fact they have been bitten in the past.
Mirror Online reports that the man, Eric LeBlanc, is a reptile enthusiast who owns hundreds of lizards and snakes . He recently had to move dozens of the apex predators into his home when a fire at his reptile store killed some of his animals and injured many more.
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.”
43-year-old Eric is in the process of repairing his decimated reptile store and is trying to raise his three children to have no fear of reptiles – particularly while many of them are living with him.
He added: “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.”
Despite having a laidback attitude to his children being around the animals he insists they are completely safe and would never leave them unsupervised.
Eric added: “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.”
And he believes in an old school rough-and-tumble approach to parenting.
“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.”
But there are some snakes Eric won’t allow near his children.
He added: “Every animal has a different temperament just like people – but these guys are giants who can do a lot of damage. My children have been taught how to approach them and can definitely tell if one of the animals is agitated.
“They’re really learning and know the difference between lots of different pythons and different kind of rattlesnakes – they absorb everything.”
Erica, Larry, and Katie appear to love their unconventional upbringing and have no fear of their pet reptiles.
Katie said: “I like snakes because they can be kind and gentle with you. They are nice and they don’t really try to turn around and strike at you.
“You have to start timid with them and hold it free. You need to be relaxed and know that it’s not going to hurt you.
“At first they may try and strike at you but once they know you don’t mean them any harm they’re really nice.”