I began Roaming Reptiles 18 years ago after escaping from my previous career as a teacher of 20 years. It began with 2 snakes & 2 lizards. Whenever children or adults visited my home, they wanted to see & touch the reptiles.
I thought, “A lot of people haven’t had the experience of touching Australian reptiles!”
I bought more lizards, turtles, snakes & eventually a crocodile. I was in heaven!
I had finally found my calling! I had grown up in Melbourne surrounded by 4 golf courses with lots of bushland to explore. I was always collecting tadpoles, catching lizards & frogs. I’d often get bitten by ants searching for birds’ nests whilst standing at the bottom of a tree. This career move was a wonderful choice.
Like others, the pandemic hit my business hard, but I was thankful for some support from the government. I sold a third of my animals (fewer mouths to feed & heat) I complained a lot about losing 90% of my work. I spent my time reflecting on my life, doing lots of jigsaw puzzles, weeding my lovely garden & riding my bike.
I also decided to teach my puppy Jarrah tricks during the various lockdowns. He now has his own Facebook page called: Bark to the future dog tricks. Participants can ask him to perform from over 30 tricks by offering his favourite treats. He’ll jump through hoops, enthusiastically put the recycling away & ride an electric skateboard. Jarrah (a cavoodle) visits schools, parties & events.
I now run 4 interactive programs: Australian reptiles, What’s Safe in my garden? (Australian insects, spiders & scorpions), Professor Brains science, and my new 2021 program: Bark to the future.
As some of the restrictions are easing, I can now work in some Kinders & attend the odd birthday party.
I had an epiphany during all my spare time & realized how much I missed educating children about animals & science. The excitement on their faces after touching a scaly reptile. The squeals of delight riding the air powered hovercraft during the science display & the laughter after seeing Jarrah pull his toy truck over to them was priceless.
I love living in Geelong but also travel all over Victoria to work. Yes, I roam, but Geelong is HOME!
Come & see Roaming Reptiles’ amazing Australian animals on Sun 5th Dec. 10-3pm at Geelong racecourse. Jarrah is making a guest appearance at 1pm.
The Expo is a free community event, for the full program: https://humansingeelong.com/humans-in-geelong-expo-2021/
Victorian State Government rules are that everyone who attends an event must be double vaccinated.
By Tracey Sandstrom, Photos supplied.