Photo gallery: Norfolk family tells of living with 145 pets

Jamie and Michelle Mintram, along with their children Josh and Chloe share their Weeting home and ga

Jamie and Michelle Mintram, along with their children Josh and Chloe share their Weeting home and garden with 145 pets and rescue animals.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

It is your average three-bed family home, lived in by a husband, wife and two children.

And a shiny burrowing scorpion. And a pair of skinny pigs. And Spud the Argentinian horned frog. And Button the gargoyle gecko.

In fact, it is far from your average three-bed family home. For Jamie, Michelle, Chloe and Josh Mintram share their rooms with 145 pets.

In every corner, nook and cranny of the Weeting home and garden, which resembles a 21st century Norfolk Noah's Ark, there is a member of the magnificent menagerie.

Mr Mintram, 39, has a licence to look after exotic animals and most of the reptiles were rescued from irresponsible owners. But the bulk of the exotic mammals were bought by Mr Mintram as family pets.


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The couple's dream is to open up a small zoo nearby, made up of mainly rescued animals.

Mr Mintram met his future wife Michelle, 32, when they were both lab technicians, about 12 years ago.

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They bonded over their love of wildlife, and Mr Mintram said: 'I have always loved reptiles, but Michelle preferred more furry animals. Farther back, my mum bred parrots and parakeets, and was a pioneer in captive breeding. It rubbed off on me.

'I bought my first cornsnake at 11 and my collection grew from there.

'But I never set out to get 145 pets. We have so many because we are a rescue sanctuary for exotic animals, which there are not many of.'

The menagerie boasts more than 30 snakes, including the boa, five baby pythons and cornsnakes that live in the garage along with the crocodile, monitor lizard and a multitude of creepy crawlies.

Inside the house every room besides the living room is floor to ceiling full of tanks and cages.

The Mintrams share their bedroom with two baby tortoises. Chloe, six, and Josh, eight, have grown up in this strange environment, and Mr Mintram added: 'It's nothing unusual for them to see me coming home with a raccoon or a crocodile.'

Josh shares his bedroom with three chinchillas and a lizard, while his sister Chloe's room houses Lily the pink cornsnake and a yellow budgie.

The couple clean the house and gardens every day so the smell never gets too bad, but the skunks, which have their own toilet, once sprayed in the bedroom, which left an awful stench.

One of the drawbacks of housing so many pets is the cost.

Mr Mintram said: 'The food bill is about £100 a month. Mark from Mark's Greengrocers in Brandon has been a tremendous help, giving us discounted rates. There's also a £250 heating bill per month, as many of the animals require a constant heat source.'

He added: 'We have a number of scorpions and the shiny burrowing scorpion is always trying to sting me. And the boa constrictor is not the friendliest.'

Thanks to his ever expanding collection, Mr Mintram now runs Jurassic Encounters, a mobile petting zoo.

? Can you beat the Mintrams' collection? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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