As parents, we should always let our children be free to pursue their passions. But what if your kid’s passion is playing with wild animals like boa constrictors and alligators? And what if your child is 3 years old?
That’s the case with Greg Parker, who owns Ballarat Wildlife Park in Victoria, Australia. Greg’s son, 3-year-old Charlie, is a regular Crocodile Dundee in the making.
With supervision, Charlie is allowed to handle some of the animal park’s residents, including his best friend, Pablo, who just happens to be a 8-foot-long boa constrictor, as well as young alligators that are nearly his size.
“We didn’t go out to encourage it, but he just loves reptiles,” Greg said in an interview with Australia’s Channel 7 (via ABC News). “Like everybody he’s frightened of some things…others not so much.”
The pictures published of the toddler holding little alligators are adorable — because Charlie is adorable and mini versions of any animal are adorable. Until we consider the very dangerous possibilities. That’s what has many parents up in arms.
As animal expert Jack Hanna told Good Morning America, “Children and wild animals are not a good mix. You can train a wild animal but you can never tame a wild animal.”
Charlie’s dad maintains that his brave son has been taught to respect the dangers involved with interacting with these dangerous animals — and he’s so proud that Charlie could be walking in other conservationists’ footsteps.
“He can be an ambassador for animal conservation and welfare,” he told Australia’s Channel 7. “I think it’s great for everybody.”
Watch the shocking video interview here!