Marc Bence/for metro edmonton
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Once kept as pets in households across Canada, some of these crocs are now stars of a unique travelling show that is making its first appearance at Capital Ex.
Considered to be the largest crocodilian travelling show in North America, exhibit host “Little” Ray Goulet with the Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo Show has given animals who were once surrendered by pet owners a new life in educating young people about the facts and myths behind the exotic animals.
“Some reptiles make great pets, but obviously a Nile crocodile doesn’t,” Goulet said. “Believe it or not, this is a huge problem in Eastern Canada, more than you might think.”
Goulet’s zoo in Ottawa is a haven for 800 reptiles and other animals that have mostly been surrendered as pets to a variety of animal shelters across Canada and he says those shelters have no where else to turn.
Sometimes officials at the zoo will also rescue crocodiles that have been cared well by their owners, but some of the other animals were found in poor condition where “they will never reach they’re growth potential because of neglect,” Goulet said.
During this stop in Edmonton, Goulet plans to adopt a boa constrictor, and an iguana that was “found bleeding from its mouth.” With Goulet’s help, the iguana is now healthy.
“They told us there is nobody here in Edmonton that can take these animals,” Goulet said.
“And this always happens on a regular basis since these reptiles have longer life spans than dogs or cats. Some reptiles live for 25 years.”
The travelling reptile show has 13 animals and once the show packs up it will head to Saskatchewan for another summer festival.
“These animals attract so much attention from people and once we have their attention, it gives us the opportunity to make them aware of the problems that we have in our own backyard,” Goulet said.