Meet the man who can’t find love – because his love for reptiles keeps getting in the way
Meet the man who loves reptiles so much he hasn’t had a girlfriend for nearly ten years.
Shaun Dixon, 24, keeps his rare Iguanas in his bedroom, walks them on leads and washes them in his own bath – but admits that his reptile obsession mans he can’t find love.
His last relationship ended in 2006 when Shaun’s teenage crush couldn’t cope with his reptiles any longer and since then, there hasn’t been a lady in Shaun’s life because reptiles are his real love.
He said: “My reptiles are my children. I made the decision a long time ago that it would take a lot to commit to a long-term relationship or have children of my own because my pets mean the world to me.
“I had a girlfriend while I was at college and there’s no doubt that that the reptiles were a key factor in the reason we split: she hated them!
“I’ve been single ever since.
“Occasionally there have been opportunities and nice people who have tried to flirt with me but I know they’d never understand my reptiles, or put up with sharing the bed with a lizard.”
Shaun, from Crewe, Cheshire, keeps up to 32 reptiles in his bedroom and in summer he even takes them out on walks with a lead.
The professional animal rescuer said: “My iguanas live in my bedroom as that is the place I go to relax.
“I love having them in there with me because I can just lie on my bed and enjoy nature’s wonderful creations.
“I also wash my reptiles in the bath because I love seeing them swim like crocodiles in the bathtub.
“In the summer months I take them outside for walks on leads and I’ll let them climb the trees we have around us.
“At present I have four Iguanas, a chameleon, one leopard tortoise, four tarantulas and two Costa Rican zebras.”
Shaun works with various local vets in Cheshire to rescue badly treated reptiles. After they’ve been rescued he brings them home to live with him before nursing them back to full health.
He then keeps some for himself as pets but also rehouses them with equally caring owners.
He said: “Over the years, I’ve lived with a huge number of reptiles, some I bought, some I have rehomed and some I have rescued myself.
“At one time I had 32 lizards including bearded dragons, water dragons, chameleons, leopard geckos, fat-tailed geckos and a golden gecko.
“I also had around 17 snakes comprising of corn snakes, rat snakes, king snakes, three boa pythons, a rainbow python and a Colombian python.
“Are they dangerous? Yes. Can they bite? Well, anything with a mouth can bite, even people, so it really doesn’t bother me.”
Iguanas and monitor lizards are renowned for being highly territorial and for taking up a huge amount of space in your home but none of this phases Shaun.
He said: “Their frustrations can be taken out on the owner so of course they can be dangerous.
“They can inflict serious bites but, in my experience, bites are never given without some kind of warning. The problem is recognising the warning signs.
“What I like about reptiles is that they’re difference from your usual household pets.
“I love seeing a full repertoire of natural behaviour. An Iguana head-bobbing, for example, is majestic and almost dragon-like in appearance.
“I learn new things every day. I’ve seen at least 15 different communicational head-bobs from my big male Iguana, Albus.”
Albus is one of Shaun’s favourite pets but, despite forming a close bond with the Iguana, still learns new character traits every day.
Shaun said: “Albus is more tolerant if things go on his terms and, on a good day, he will climb out of his enclosure and come and sit on my knee.
“I am largely attracted to these animals because I grew up around them.
“My Auntie was rescuing and rehabilitating Iguanas for as long as I can remember and much of what I learned came from her.
“Sometimes my big male Iguana will even come up and sit on my knee and defeat the laws of his very nature. There is nothing more rewarding than that.
“And at least they never nag me to do the washing up.”