“As a little boy growing up in Holland, Marc van Steenis loved to chase snakes and lizards around on family vacations. His fascination with animals evolved into a degree in zoology, and a collection of around 800 to 1,500 creatures, including reptiles, amphibians and large bugs. Luckily, his wife and two children don’t mind.
“They grew up around these animals, so they are used to it now,” says van Steenis. “They love to pet the cute reptiles like baby geckos and tortoises, but they are less interested in the snakes. Snakes pretty much just eat, sleep and poop.”
When he’s not busy raising his kids, ages 8 and 10, he travels around the city as the Seattle Reptile Guy, presenting his menagerie in classrooms, at children’s birthday parties, and even for corporate team-building events.
“In my experience,” says van Steenis, “when people see and touch animals at a young age, they are more likely to care about them for the rest of their lives.'”