Bertram collected reptiles. (To each their own). He collected skinks, lizards, and geckos. He didn’t collect snakes, crocodiles and alligators, komodo dragons, frogs, turtles, tortoises, or tuataras. Just skinks, lizards, and geckos.
He used to breed them for sale. He also used to capture wild reptiles and export and sell them. It was illegal. You’ve no idea the clever ways he used to surreptitiously transport them! He had done it all his life and never once been caught.
Selling reptiles was so lucrative that he had built a luxurious log cabin in the wilderness that had every commodity. He certainly lived the good life thanks to those skinks and lizards and geckos. It’s amazing to think that over the years he handled twenty-seven species that are now extinct. What an amazing record! What a great privilege to have been the last on the planet to see and handle those creatures! I’m quite in awe! I asked Bertram how he felt about it but he said he didn’t have any feelings. He was in it for the money.
New Zealand has no snakes, so it was exciting for New Zealander Ken to visit the snake section of a zoo in North Carolina.
The zoo lady took a snake out of it glass compound and Ken was allowed to touch it.
“I thought it would be slimly like an eel,” said Ken. But it wasn’t. It had scales.
“This one is harmless,” said the zoo lady. “But this one over here is a copperhead. You won’t want to say hello to one of those in the wild. This one has had its venom removed. If it hadn’t, it could kill you.” She picked the copperhead up and presented it to Ken. He wasn’t sure if he was meant to stroke it like a cat or pat it on the head like a baby. He was glad when she took it back.
While in North Carolina, Ken was staying with family friends. A few days later (his friends were in town for the day) he mowed their lawn for them. They had a ride-on. As he drove the ride-on down the lawn, there in front of him poised to strike, was a copperhead. Ken screeched the ride-on to a halt.