By Renee Lucia Ramos
Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Jan 30 (EFE).- Jose Alberto Deladillo dreams of opening a reptile pet store in the Nicaraguan capital, but, right now, he has settled for keeping 45 snakes as pets at home.
The 27-year-old veterinarian lives in Matagalpa in the northern part of Nicaragua with 15 species of snake, including the highly venomous Bothrops Atrox.
The young reptile collector tells Efe he keeps the snakes in his house in an attempt to end the stigma and prejudice surrounding these exotic animals, and to show that they are only dangerous if bothered.
Among his collection are specimens of false coral, boa constrictors, rattlesnakes, pythons, and green snakes.
Delgadillo says that he discovered his love for reptiles eight years ago when he got an iguana as a pet. It motivated him to study veterinary medicine and specialize in snakes.
His two-story living room is full of terrariums, glass and wooden boxes that he usually opens to clean or feed the snakes inside.
Besides his 45 snakes, Delgadillo’s house is also inhabited by a human roommate, a dog, 12 turtles, six iguanas, and three bearded dragons, which are completely harmless.
The house has now been converted into a small reptile shelter, where visitors can pay a nominal price to enter and see the cold-blooded animals.
“They are animals that are demonized, really. The animals (snakes) are there, they don’t move, they don’t make noise, in a certain way they do tend to be boring animals,” he says.
Delgadillo recommends that people adopt snakes as pets if they are allergic to dogs or cats.
“Reptiles are a very good option,” says the veterinarian, who regrets that snakes are killed for no reason, due to ignorance and lack of animal education.
Delgadillo often receives calls from residents of northern Nicaragua to relocate the snakes caught in the city to a safer place.
His fame as a snake breeder in the country has led Delgadillo to take up selling live food, such as rats, mice or worms, to other people who have the same hobby.
In Nicaragua, there are 107 snake species, only 13 of which are poisonous, according to a study carried out by the Nicaraguan biologist, herpetologist and naturalist, Milton Salazar-Saavedra. EFE