A python, an anaconda or even a dwarf crocodile… It is in Saint-Martin-Labouval that Ronald Bourgoin breeds about a hundred reptiles, that is, about forty different species. Poisonous or not, whispering into the ears of these animals is a true apprenticeship.
In a small bunker at the back of a garden in Saint-Martin-Labouval, everything is played out. CCTV, alarm, barred window, armored door… This is not a survival shelter, but a reptile farm. Ronald Bourgoin has a hundred animals at home, about forty different species, many of which are poisonous. Python, anaconda, viper, rattlesnake, crocodile… Animals come in all sizes and colors. Breeder’s favorite? Mangshan rattlesnake. About 150 specimens remain in the wild, this is one of the rarest species in the world. “I am breeding this individual. Just to bring down market prices and therefore avoid poaching,” explains Ronald Bourgoin.
The latter accepts only infants. “I don’t want to make them pets, I leave them their character. It’s just that when they’re babies, I can teach them how to handle them. I make a certain sound, they know what to eat. When I come to clean the cage, it prevents them from coming to look,” says the breeder. Keeping such animals at home is very regulated, and this does not happen overnight.
“The day I get bitten, I’m leaving”
First you must have all the necessary permissions. It was in 2004, when he was barely 20 years old, that he took his first steps. In 2014 he opened his business Faun’Ethic. He mainly kept reptiles for sale. But the rules have changed. “It was more difficult for me, and there is an obligation to label animals, I found it restrictive for them,” explains Ronald Bourgoin, who no longer lives off this activity alone.
So today he is only training. They last two to three days. The goal is to teach those who want to keep reptiles the right things to do: how to handle them, restraint (for example, to be able to move them in case of leaving) or proper nutrition. “Some species eat daily, like lizards. For others it is necessary from time to time. The python eats every one and a half months, the anaconda five to six times a year,” points out Ronald Bourgoin. For venomous or crocodiles, the goal is also to know how to keep them without risk. “The day I get bitten, I stop. In captivity, when a bite occurs, it was either we were too self-confident, or we did not pay attention, ”the breeder makes a reservation.
No detail is left to chance
Ronald Bourgoin’s installations have been approved by the Department of Public Welfare. First you must enter a small gateway, where all the necessary tools hang on the walls, in particular hooks to catch animals without harming them. A small window allows you to see what is happening in the room, where all the terrariums are arranged, adapted to each animal. “If there is ever a problem, it allows me to see it right away without putting myself in danger,” explains the breeder.
Everything is thought out to the smallest detail. The vents have grilles that don’t let anything in…or out. The terrariums themselves are very secure and most of them are padlockable. Some even have small wedges between the panes. “When a python enters its water tank, if it then sticks to the glass, it can create a sucker and manage to open it. What the wedge helps to avoid, ”explains the breeder. On each window, a small label recalls the name of the species where it lives and, again, whether it is poisonous. Also listed is the number of the Angers Poison Control Center. But no problem: as long as you’re not Harry Potter, you’re safe in this room.