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Tony Flynn
Behind the front door of a neat terraced house in Eccles, there lies an incredible collection of snakes and dragons, I kid you not. Welcome to the home of Mike Aldcroft. 


In one heated tank are two snakes, one is a huge and I mean huge, albino Burmese python which is nine feet long and growing, plus a smaller boa constrictor, coming in at a mere four foot long! 

The albino python is named Athena and the Boa constrictor is named Noah, as in Noah the Boa presumably. 

Mike first got interested in snakes and lizards when as a young lad he and his brother John used to visit their aunt in Colne, her next door neighbour had rooms and rooms of snakes all in heated glass cases and from this their love of lizards grew. 

In the other corner of the front room is a tank with a collection of bearded dragons, Goliath, Spike and Jaws. 

Mike's four children love the creatures and have no qualms in handling them, I sadly had to decline his offer to hold the albino python. 

If you're at all squemish, look away now. Mike feeds Athena on dead, frozen guinea pigs, complete with fur, whilst Noah who is still growing lives on dead, frozen rats, again swallowed whole. 

The bearded dragons eat dead locusts, grubs, insects etc, which I suppose is preferable to eating a dead rodent. 

The food is purchased online or from local pet shops, a dead guinea pig will set you back £2.50 or four for a £10 if you are interested. 

Mike's brother John was at the house when I called, he tells me that he breeds lizards and scorpions and finds it a fun hobby, so the love of reptiles obviously runs in the family. 

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