Programme 5: Cold Blooded Passion
Reptiles are the fastest growing sector of the pet industry in the UK and it looks like Ireland is following suit. As homes get smaller and lives get busier, traditional pets like cats and dogs are being replaced by more unusual and exotic creatures. We meet the people that are crazy about their scaly friends.
Nicola always loved reptiles, so when she left her family home she bought herself a gecko. Little did she know that her partner, Caroline, would surpass her in her interest in these cold-blooded creatures. Caroline and Nicola are planning to build a house in County Wexford with a reptile house, equivalent in size to an average house, as a home for their ever-expanding family.
Rosie and Denis, and Denis's sons Cal and Donnacha, from County Limerick, keep about 250 animals, but the showpiece of their menagerie is their reptiles. They are at the heart of the family both literally and figuratively: Jeffrey the iguana's home is incorporated into the island in the kitchen/dining room where he lives with Hilda the tortoise. Fiachra, a boa constrictor, Boris and Doris the Berber skink lizards, two royal pythons, a giant black and white tegu lizard, and several turtles make up the part of the reptile clan.
16-year-old Lauren Rodgers lives with her parents and older sister in Kinsealy, County Dublin. She has always loved animals but wasn't allowed to keep a pet. In 2005, Lauren's parents finally agreed to her having a tortoise. This led to the reptile collection that Lauren has today, which includes water dragons, bearded dragons, tortoises and snakes.
In this programme even those of us who detest reptiles may begin to understand their appeal. Be warned: you may find yourself craving a little scaly friend of your own!