Reptile hobby becomes a hidden gem

A collection of exotic reptiles is the last thing you might expect to find at a Scarborough holiday park.

But an unsuspecting-looking outbuilding at Pinewood Park off Racecourse Road is home to an amazing collection of creatures - including a 13ft albino Burmese python.

Jordan Woodhead with his Caiman Crocodile. Pic Richard Ponter 144209a

Jordan Woodhead with his Caiman Crocodile. Pic Richard Ponter 144209a

The menagerie belongs to 20-year-old reptile enthusiast Jordan Woodhead, whose parents own the park.

Jordan was hoping to open the reptile house as an attraction for holidaymakers and members of the public, but due to zoo licensing laws, he has been left unable to do so.

The law states that a licence is required if you’re displaying wild animals to the public for at least seven days a year, in any place that’s not a circus or pet shop.

Jordan has found himself in between licences as some of his animals are classed as “hazardous” - and the next step up is the licence that large attractions like the Sea Life have, which is beyond Jordan’s reach.

He said: “I wanted to try and make a business out of what I love doing, but the next level up on the licensing process was a step too much.”

However, despite the blow, Jordan remains philosophical and will keep some of his favourite creatures, while others will be found suitable new homes.

Those set to stay in his collection include a dwarf caiman, a Nile monitor, a snapping turtle known as “Big Al” and two reticulated pythons.

Jordan said: “It’s quite hard to find responsible homes, especially for reptiles.

“People are sometimes attracted to owning a big reptile, as they might seem like a good pet, but then when they need an eight foot enclosure it doesn’t seem as good.”

Jordan got his first reptile at the age of nine and has built up his collection - and knowledge - over the years.

He said: “I’ve just always loved them. There’s nothing else quite like them - they’re fascinating.

“There is an element of danger, but I take precautions and the risk is worth it to me. It’s about knowing their personality and body language.

“They’ve got a lot of character, especially lizards and crocodiles.”

Jordan is in the process of training his dwarf caiman - called Lucy - after reading about a keeper training one in India to perform up to 30 commands.

He is hoping his knowledge and experience will lead to his dream job working with animals - especially crocodiles.