About

Welcome to my website, South West Animal Services.img_3619-1

I look forward to providing a range of services from educational and interesting Animal Encounters to helpful, reliable Reptile Consultancy.

My aim in offering these services is to enlighten and educate people on the wonderful animals that I work with, and their wild counterparts.  And to benefit other reptiles and exotics being kept in captivity by sharing the knowledge i have accumulated after many years of working with animals.

So Here Is A Bit About Me.

I have been keeping reptiles since I was twelve years old, but I have been very interested in animals for far longer.  Whilst that does feel a long time ago, my passion for animals has only grown stronger.

Much of my knowledge has come from a huge amount of research, mainly from books and publications from trusted authors, (rather than the largely uncredited information on the internet).  It has come from working alongside specialists in their field, but mainly from my own practical experience working with reptiles and other species every day. As I’ve been fortunate enough to turn what I love into a full-time career.  I remember getting careers advice as a teenager and being told that I had to get focused!  I don’t think they had a folder for careers with reptiles, or in falconry, and so contrary to what I had been told I couldn’t have been more focused than to want to work with these animals and I soon became self-employed.  I still look back at those early days with great fondness, it was like a whole new world was opening up before me.

South West Animal Services - About
Training a Red Tailed Hawk with friend Steve Hopper at South Hams Hawks & Owls

I have kept the usual pet species and wouldn’t be without owning dogs, my Hahn’s Macaw and more recently my Barn Owl.  But it was when I started keeping reptiles that I really found the animals I wanted to work with on a larger scale.  Although I am passionate about all animals, i feel many aren’t suitable for captivity and many more can’t be reproduced ethically.   However there are many species of Reptiles, Invertebrates and Amphibians that thrive in captivity when their environment and husbandry is correct.

So over the years that followed I continued to expand my collection and breed the species that I kept. I think part of understanding a species includes learning how they reproduce, not as a one-off, but to several generations.

Years of working with animals has taken me into a variety of environments, from volunteering in Zoos to being involved in television work, highlighted by the natural history series  ‘Life In Cold Blood’ and ‘Life’ both with Sir David Attenborough, as well providing animals for programmes such as BBC’s ‘The One Show’.

I have worked with HM Custom and Excise, being called upon to rehabilitate and rehome illegally imported, wild caught reptiles.

And in addition to all of that I have worked with a pet shop, breeding easier to keep species of reptiles for the pet trade, whilst imparting my knowledge and experience to customers in the pursuit of educating people on the requirements of these specialised animals.

All the while I continued to keep and breed many more challenging species myself.  While I have not successfully bred all of the species I keep, I have had a great deal of success and I am really proud of those achievements.  Through hard work and dedication as well as a no expense spared attitude, I can safely say my animals are kept to the highest standards, all of the time.  Those standards have led to being accredited by vets and over many years of keeping animals i have been visited by a number of vets,  both professionally and as friends, all have been very impressed at the high standard of husbandry.

Veterinary approval was key to the process of successfully obtaining my Dangerous Wild Animals Act License, allowing me to keep the venomous Gila Monster and Beaded Lizard.

I even have the honour of being Chairman of the South Western Herpetological Society, to which I joined as a budding teenage herpetologist, making many good friends and learning so much along the way.

As my life with animals continues, I hope the services i provide will educate and inspire many to these wonderful creatures.

Thank you,

Logo - Chris Johnson