Snakes alive as 12-year-old Potters Bar boy starts reptile club for children

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 November 2016

Reptile and amphibian club

Reptile and amphibian club


A 12-year-old reptile enthusiast and his mum have set up a club for snake and lizard fans in Potters Bar.

Lisa Willey with her son Travis, 12Lisa Willey with her son Travis, 12

Lisa Willey and her son Travis had the idea to start the club for children, showing them Travis’s extensive collection of reptiles and amphibians.

Travis, who lives with his family in Oulton Crescent, owns a tortoise named Norman, two white-lipped tree frogs, several giant land snails, a crested gecko, two fire salamanders, stick insects and a giant millipede.

The first meeting of the club, which Lisa funded herself, was held in South Mimms Village Hall on Saturday, November 5, and more than 100 people showed up.

Lisa, who is 43 and a stay-at-home mum, said: “Being an enthusiastic collector and admirer, Travis expressed an interest in setting up an educational/social club in the area for children who have an interest or passion for snakes, lizards, and other beautiful creatures.

“Travis set up various tanks displaying his many creatures. Confident and chirpy, he went on to engage with many children and explained to them the various diets and habitats that each creature requires.

“Before we knew it the small group of interested children grew from 10 to a huge bustling cluster.”

The event was also visited by family friend Paul Messenger from Paul’s Reptile Den, who brought along snakes, lizards, a bearded dragon, an owl and a tarantula.

Another snake keeper, named Graeme, showed up with five large snakes.

Lisa, who has a husband called George and four other children, seven-year-old twins Lucille and Felicity, Buddy,four, and Denny, two, said: “A beautiful owl flew from one end of the hall to the next - it was a sight to see. Truly very engaging and entertaining for the many admirers who attended.

“Children had opportunities to handle the creatures whilst being given ongoing information on the species.”

The group is free of charge, with free drinks and craft activities, and Lisa ran a raffle throughout the event which raised £85. The next meeting will be in the next four weeks but the date has not yet been decided.

Lisa said: “I welcome any support from any local businesses who feel they can offer donations to ensure the group can continue to run. We need raffle donations and craft supplies.

“I welcome calls at anytime from anyone who would like information or who can offer support - however small.”

For more information call Lisa on 07852 206064 or email

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