Reptile handler Luke Cheyne is ready for the Inglewood Show.
Reptile handler Luke Cheyne is ready for the Inglewood Show. Tom Gillespie

Cuddle up to reptiles at Inglewood Show

MOST people have a pet dog or cat when they are growing up but, when he was five, Luke Cheyne scored his first reptile licence, and a carpet snake, not a labrador, was his pet of choice.

It is fitting an early interest in scaly animals led to Mr Cheyne starting Reptile Kingdom Australia on the Gold Coast.

"I've always liked reptiles and found them fascinating,” he said.

"I was catching frogs in nappies, and am a fifth- generation show person. Performing and entertaining is in my blood.

"I followed my passion and built the park, which was a lifelong dream.”

This weekend, Mr Cheyne will continue his way around the country when he makes an appearance at Inglewood Show, after missing out last year.

"Last year we were booked to do the Inglewood Show but it was cancelled due to the weather,” he said.

"So we're hoping for better weather this year - we definitely get a big kick out of coming out to these shows.

"We get a buzz about of changing people's negative opinions towards snakes.

"There's a bit misunderstanding and, giving them an understanding, can help get rid of their fear towards them.

"A lot of people ask questions which are quite relevant to rural areas where they are more likely to encounter them.”

Mr Cheyne's display at the Inglewood Show will give everyone an opportunity to get up close and personal with the reptiles.

"There will be giant goannas, a three-metre olive python, lizards, a range of venomous snakes and a baby saltwater crocodile,” he said.

"We give people a chance to hold a friendly python or cuddle a saltwater crocodile.

"There are lots of brave little kids who have their photo taken with them.”



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