Gold Coast Snake Catcher AKA. Tony Harrison
As a child I found I had this strange obsession for critters; this led to me spending all my spare time crawling around the garden looking for little lizards, Bearded Dragons and Blue Tongues.
In those days we didn’t have the internet, and professional herpetologists were few and far between. All the knowledge I had was from a handful of books my family loaded me with each birthday and Christmas, and the stuff I had taught myself along the way by trial and error.
Years went by and I was known at school by all my friends as “Tony the lizard kid”. The funny thing is, I regularly got yelled at for bringing my reptile friends to school, but now I make a living by bringing my reptile friends to school!
As I approached manhood, other things in life became a little more important. So my critters (although still around) were put on the back burner. Responsibility and nepotism landed me a job as a computer operator. I did this for 8 years but was still yearning my dream of becoming “Harry Butler” or something similar!
Then one day we decided to move to sunny QLD. A place that allowed you to keep captive bred reptiles as pets. Little did I know, but this was the beginning of something that would become huge.
I purchased my first few snakes I again acquired the reputation as a snake guru in my street.
At this stage I was trying to kick off my own small business of charter fishing when one night, a neighbour came running down screaming about a monster in her yard. I ran up to see a beautiful Carpet Python chopped up into bits. I was horrified at the ignorance this person was displaying! I asked why she had not called a snake catcher? She said “There aren’t any.”
From that point on, the wheels were in motion for me to acquire the appropriate permits to do this, just to save the life of the snakes! Well, I started to get the odd call here and there then it bloomed into a few per day, as my name as a catch and release rep spread.
Next thing you know, I’m being called day and night, 7 days a week. Then I thought to myself, “OK lets set this up as a business and charge a small fee to cover the costs involved”. This was great but for two or three months of the year I would have very little work due to Winter. So I decided to use this quiet time to help educate the public about these awesome creatures that we all live with. So ‘Reptile Relocation And Awareness’ was born!
Since 1994, I have been doing this business of relocating critters and doing demonstrations of all sorts, as well as breeding and selling reptiles to fellow enthusiasts like myself. It has been occupying my life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year since. It’s a lot of work but I would not trade it for anything else. I have since gained myself the reputation over the whole south east corner of Queensland. I get calls from all over Australia being asked to help in many different ways and now due to my YouTube videos, I regularly get asked questions from every corner of the globe.
I know that if I could educate the public in the right way, these incidents with humans and critters we hear about all the time would be reduced down to nearly none. So whilst I’m alive I intend to spend every waking moment doing exactly that!