Meet the Canberra family with more than 50 pets, including a tarantula

Emma Carlson and Luke Dunn have no need to take their kids to the zoo – they have one at home.Not only do the Canberra couple have their hands full with Hunter, 4, and Amelia, 2, they also have 50 pets ranging from a dog and three birds to snakes, a turtle, variety of lizards and even a tarantula. ‘We just love them, I guess. It becomes a bit of an addiction once you start. We sort of ended up with a fair few,’ Ms Carson told Channel 9’s Weekend Today on Saturday.A popular family member is Katniss, the centralian carpet python, which is one of Australia’s largest species. ‘She is pretty big, but she has got some growing to do,’ Ms Carlson said.’She is one of Amelia’s favourites, so if she is having a wobbly, I bring her out and she is happy.’While Hunter and Amelia are at ease around reptiles, it wasn’t the case when they saw a dog for the first time. ‘They both actually panicked and screamed,’ Ms Carlson said’So we have a dog now too. But yeah, they are just so used to it. ‘It’s just about educating them on how to be around them and they know that they are not allowed to touch anything outside of our house.’Any of the animals they know what they are allowed to do with and they are just comfortable.’Mr Dunn added: ‘I think we have got some animals that I deal with a lot better than Em does, like spiders, she still has a spider phobia, I deal with them better than the two little ones here.’Despite her spider phobia, Ms Carlson is ‘slowly getting there’ with Luke’s tarantula Lollipop. ‘I can’t preach to other people about being used to snakes and getting over their fears if I can’t do it myself,’ she said.’I came home one day and there was an explosion of an egg sack and little tiny tarantulas all throughout her enclosure. So that was fun and I made Luke deal with that when he got home.’  Both from animal-loving families, the couple’s first pets bought together were two frogs and a shingleback.’When two reptile people get together, we were in for a big collection from the start I think,’ Ms Carlson said.The family admits the pets, particularly the lizards, eat better than they do.’We buy the expensive blueberries and sometimes raspberries, nice bananas for a treat and things like that,’ Ms Carlson said.’We do have to stop at the pet store and get dog food for the dog and get bones and things for her. ‘We get fish for the turtle, some turtle food. If it’s been raining, we will go for a walk and try to find some snails, we do a big cricket order every week and then obviously for these guys (the snakes), we have to get rats and sometimes rabbits and quail and different things.’We get our big delivery of all sorts of rodents and things and big crickets.’The couple also teamed up to start a business, Canberra Snake Rescue and Relocation.’It’s totally normal for us to have a shower with the frogs or whack a snake in the bath with the kids,’ Ms Carlson told the Canberra Times earlier this week.’For us, it’s our everyday life, but other people are blown

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