New Snetterton zoo will host mammal and reptile menagerie

Jamie Mintram who runs Jurassic Encounters and a rescue sanctuary in weeting, will be opening a zoo

Jamie Mintram who runs Jurassic Encounters and a rescue sanctuary in weeting, will be opening a zoo near Snetterton with his wife Michelle. He is pictured at home with some of the animals which will be residents at the new zoo. WIth Echo the Lynx. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A sanctuary for rescued reptiles and small mammals including meerkats and porcupines is set to open in Snetterton this spring. Jamie and Michelle Mintram, who run Jurassic Encounters reptile rescue sanctuary, have gained planning permission to convert a former caravan sales site on the A11 into a home for their 150 cold-blooded charges.

Jamie Mintram who runs Jurassic Encounters and a rescue sanctuary in weeting, will be opening a zoo

Jamie Mintram who runs Jurassic Encounters and a rescue sanctuary in weeting, will be opening a zoo near Snetterton with his wife Michelle. He is pictured at home with some of the animals which will be residents at the new zoo. He is holding a Cayman. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

'At the moment we're based at home, but we're looking to expand and open a visitor centre, like a mini zoo,' said Jamie.

'I visit schools and parties with a mobile petting zoo, with an emphasis on education. At the new site we will focus on school visits and also disabled access.

'We're going to be more of a visitor centre but will focus on interaction between people and the animals, because that is what we are known for with our roadshow.'

The couple, who have run their sanctuary at home in Weeting for almost five years, plan to construct a tropical house for their various reptiles – from corn snakes and bearded dragons to small crocodiles – and create outdoor enclosures for small mammals.

The zoo's furry attractions will include domestic animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets alongside more unusual mammals like raccoons, skunks and even porcupines and pygmy goats.

For a more exciting experience you can get up close with lynx, a breed of big cat.

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As Jurassic Encounters operates an adoption scheme for some of its rescued and unwanted reptiles, Jamie hopes to keep the numbers of animals at the zoo to between 150 and 1,800.

He said: 'The common ones like corn snakes and bearded dragons we try to find homes for.

'Certainly the specialised reptiles are unsuitable as pets so we will keep them here permanently.'

While he and Michelle already have much of the necessary specialised equipment, Jamie said they had been 'flat-packing' some buildings for the site for a quick and easy set-up.

'We're hoping to get the keys to the site in the next week or two,' he said. 'It's going to be a lot of late nights and hard work but we're hoping we can get it done in three months.'

Do you provide care for unusual or exotic animals? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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