Couple has no problems sharing home with creepy crawlies

By: Patrick Beech

For many, they may be creepy crawlies, but for a couple in Gua Musang, Kelantan, snakes, frogs, lizards and tarantulas are part of their household.

Though it was difficult to accept her husband's interest at first, Zulfarina Zulkifli, 35, said she has now grown used to having these creatures around.

Her husband, Muhammad Helmi Izzuddin Yusof, 35 and her have since successfully bred more than 10 types of reptiles and amphibians.

"The two of us and our son are now living with more than 20 animals comprising species such as the Western Hognose Snake, Cornsnake, Sailfin Dragon (lizard), Blue Tongue Skink (lizard), Leopard Gecko (lizard), Tarantula (spider), Pacman Frog and Pixie Frog.

"I not only breed, but also sell them online to interested parties. I have a licence issued by the Department of Wildlife Protection and National Parks (Perhilitan) to keep these exotic animals," said Zulfarina.

Muhammad Helmi said his hobby of breeding and collecting exotic animals started while studying at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 11 years ago.

His devotion to the breeding of the species gave him the opportunity to sell them to like-minded hobbyists.

"We have also been producing and selling snake food for the past four years, said Zulfarina, adding that despite only selling online, the response so far has been more than encouraging.

"We are in the process of opening a shop selling exotic animals, our own processed animal feed and medicines, so for now, bookings and other information can be channeled to our official Facebook page, 'Raptor Riot Malaysia HQ'," she added.