By Giacomo Brunelli @GiacomoBrunelli
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Videographer / director: Colin Weatherby
Producer: Giacomo Brunelli, Florence Kennard
Editor: Florence Kennard
Jay Brewer has interacted with snakes since he was a young boy.
Jay told Barcroft TV: “All this started from a childhood dream, I like reptiles because I found a lot of comfort - when I was a kid, I had nothing coming from an orphaned background”.
After being left on his own at the young age of 14, he decided to buy a small pet store that eventually turned into 'The Reptile Zoo'.
“I spent more time than most kids would ever spend outside, seeing the different kinds of animals was really fascinating for me - I decided I wanted to do something different for a living,” Jay explained.
'The Reptile Zoo' has over 100 species of reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and boasts one of the largest collections of reticulated python morphs in the world.
Other animals on site include alligators, iguanas, giant tortoises and monitor lizards.
Jay said: “The Reptile Zoo is my childhood dream and it’s got all kinds of crazy cool animals in it."
With over 30 years of experience working with reptiles, Jay cannot count the number of times he’s been bitten.
“People ask me how many times I’ve been bitten; I honestly ask them how many times have they farted? They go, ‘that many?’ and I go ‘probably more’,” Jay added.
Jay’s biggest and favourite snake is a reticulated python that measures a whopping 20ft.
Jay runs the business together with his family - and his oldest daughter, Laura, who has grown up around the reptiles, is now helping to manage the business.
Jay said: “My oldest daughter Laura, she was literally born here - she was born and the next day she had to come to work."
Laura added: “I joke and I say I that I make sure the place doesn’t burn down - Jay’s to the extreme so I sort of reel him in a little bit."
Jay’s most dangerous animal on display is the highly venomous gaboon viper - the snake with the longest fangs in the animal kingdom.
With millions of followers across various social media platforms, Jay has become an internet sensation thanks to his unique collection of animals.
“I never thought I’d be successful, I always knew I was going to try but I never thought I could do this well - I’ve been able to work with my family, it’s a big deal to me,” Jay said.