Bilodeau has been working with animals for 17 years - but he’s not the only one who’s been at Zoo Creatures for that long.
“Our alligator, Wally, is 17 years old and we’ve raised him from a hatchling. He spends the winter in the building and the summers out in his cage.”
Tortoises, koi fish, and chickens are also year-round residents of the Zoo Creatures property.
Education is the most important mission of Zoo Creatures. They believe that the more people know, the less stigmas and stereotypes will be placed on these animals. Recently, in Canada, two young boys were found asphyxiated in their home, the main suspect being a pet ball python. However, it is very rare for this to occur, and the case is still under investigation.
“It’s very common for people to immediately blame these animals,” says Bilodeau. “But the truth is more people have died in a shower than by reptiles. More people are hit by cars than attacked by reptiles.”
This fear is largely one of adults. At events, adults are the ones who shrink back in fear and run in the other direction when Bilodeau brings out an animal.
“I take out a snake and 90% of the kids run towards me and the adults run in the opposite direction.”
This curiosity and fascination is one that they want to keep in the kids and get the adults to feel. Because it turns out that reptiles, like snakes, are a lot less maintenance than animals like dogs or cats. There are no allergens, snakes shed in one piece, and their mess is contained to their enclosure - that leaves only one area to clean as opposed to needing to vacuum up fur all over the house. The more people know about these animals, the more people will tell their friends and the less these stigmas get thrown around. Considering branching out into exotic pet territory?
“The biggest thing is to research whatever you want to get into,” says Bilodeau. “Come in and talk to us and we can find the right animal to suit you.”