New reptile house is a hit with visitors to farm
- Credit: Archant
A farmer’s passion for crocodiles has blossomed into a full scale conservation project with the opening of a new reptile house.
Andy Johnson, owner of Johnson's of Old Hurst, cut the ribbon to officially open the house on Sunday, helped by conservationist and friend Ken Sims, who holds an honorary fellowship from the Zoological Society of London.
Mr Sims is a director of Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, in Norfolk, and met Mr Johnson through their shared love of crocodiles and alligators.
The reptile house will be home to Mr Johnson's collection of 15 crocodiles and alligators, which includes the critically endangered Siamese crocodile.
The house is also home to caiman crocodiles, American alligators, iguanas, turtles, and tropical fish.
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The house is temperature-controlled to mimic the native habitats of the reptiles and took six months to complete. It was formerly used as a cattle shed.
Mr Johnson, who runs the farm with wife Tracey and sons George and Edward, said his love for crocodiles started when he was a teenager, on a trip to Florida.
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