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The Frenchman who shares his home with 400 reptiles

September 21, 2018 11:56 IST
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For most people, sharing a living room with just one two-metre-long alligator is the stuff of nightmares; Philippe Gillet has not only two of them, but 400 other reptiles which he shares his home  in western France near the city of Nantes.

All photographs: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Meet Philippe Gillet, 67-years-old, is a reptile enthusiast having more than 400 phobia-inducing animals, including rattlesnakes, tarantulas and lizards in his home in western France near the city of Nantes.

Gillet says the two alligators, named Ali and Gator, were rescued from a leather farm but most of the animals are pets that outstayed their welcome elsewhere and have been abandoned or donated.

Gillet feeds his Northern caiman lizard in his house in Coueron near Nantes. He says he has all the necessary permits to keep and transport the animals for roadshows which he runs to raise awareness about reptiles.

The 67-year-old has taken two decades to amass his collection of 'creepy crawlies', which also includes a Cuvier's dwarf caiman -- a small crocodile.

Gillet also has a black cobra amongst his collection, which he keeps in his living room.

He insists the locals do not mind their unusual neighbours and regularly pop in for coffee. We wonder if you would like a tarantula for company while sipping on your coffee?

Explaining why he shares his house with his 'pets', he says, "I think it’s unfair to treat these animals the way we do because we don’t understand them. We don’t understand them, we hate them, we think they’re horrible. But when we get to know them, you can call them over, tell them to come and eat something for example."

Gillet feeds his pet iguana in the garden. He says his cobra lives on the coffee table, his 50-kg tortoise roams the garden and one alligator sleeps in his bed, while the other keeps watch at the door.
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