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GETTING up-close and personal with 14 foot gators is all in a day’s work for Florida’s own king of the reptiles. Andrew Biddle is an animal handler and co-curator at Wild Florida, an animal park in Kenansville, Florida, where he interacts one-on-one with huge gators, crocs, and even a panther. The 32-year-old hosts daily shows with the park’s largest gator ‘Crusher’, who weighs in at 1000 pounds and measures a full 14 feet in length. Andrew told Barcroft Studios: “The most important thing is never forgetting that you’re dealing with a potentially dangerous animal.

MEET the real-life cat woman who gave up her five bedroom house, luxury cars and retirement fund – to live with and care for over 1,000 felines. Lynea Lattanzio is the founder of the Cat House On The Kings, California’s largest no-cage, no-kill sanctuary for feral and abandoned cats and kittens. The sanctuary currently homes approximately 700 adults and 350 kittens, plus another 50 or so in foster care. In 2002 the sanctuary achieved non-profit status and was able to begin soliciting donations, but initially the Cat House On The Kings depended heavily on Lynea financially. In order to keep its gates open, Lynea spent her retirement funds and sold her Mercedes, her Cadillac and her two-carat diamond wedding ring.

CHARMING lion wrangler Shandor Larenty has exclusively revealed his top five favourite things about being an animal trainer. The dedicated 24-year-old, sometimes referred to as the ‘Lion King’, has managed to whittle down his long list of animal duties that he performs at the Lion And Safari Park, in South Africa. Shandor has become an expert in the wildlife department; interacting with lions, cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes and African wild dogs, to name a few, every day. From feeding big cats that weigh up to 250kg, to cleaning up after them inside their enclosures, Shandor remains thankful that he can perform his ‘dream job’ – working to preserve the conservation of species and spread his positivity to the world.

IF YOU’VE been bitten by a venomous snake, chances are this man helped make the vaccine that saved your life. On a daily basis Dan Rumsey, 31, extracts highly toxic raw venom from some of the world’s most dangerous snakes, getting them to bite down on a vile while they inject their venom into it. It’s then sent off to a specialist lab where it is used to manufacture anti-venom medicine that saves hundreds of lives around Australia every year. The zookeeper, from Sydney, Australia admits his love of reptiles started at a very young age and cites legendary conservationist Steve Irwin as one of his early inspirations.

THE TRAINER of legendary internet super dog Hulk has unveiled his ‘secret weapon’ – ferocious protection pitbull Zion. The 85lb colossus is so ferocious that most of his training has to be conducted with him wearing a muzzle for the safety of the trainers. Zion features in the new season of Barcroft TV’s hit online show Dog Dynasty, which has racked up hundreds of million views across YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat. Dog Dynasty follows the fortunes of the 175lb Hulk and the other DDK9s protection dogs, whose puppies can sell for anywhere up to $25,000. This season also sees Hulk hit Miami, to meet celebrity rapper Swae Lee, wave goodbye to beloved DDK9 original The General, and gives a glimpse into what it’s like to take a bite from the Hulk. Dog Dynasty season 4 is available on Snapchat and Facebook with the longer episodes premiering on Barcroft TV’s Beastly YouTube channel, starting August 2.

A COUPLE with a passion for wildlife have a hobby that’s not for the faint-hearted… freediving with sharks. Will Nace, 29, and his fiancée Summer Baumgardner, 23, regularly take to the water without protective equipment to dive amongst a wide variety of the species. Some of the sharks they regularly encounter include lemon, dusky and hammerheads with the occasional bull shark, which are considered one of the world’s most dangerous species of shark. The couple, who have a seven-month-old daughter, insist the pursuit isn’t as dangerous as people think, claiming the public misunderstand these animals because of an unfair representation from TV and fictional films.

A GIANT WOLF dog’s striking looks – and resemblance to a Game of Thrones dire wolf - have led to it becoming a viral sensation. With a DNA mix of 87.5% Gray Wolf, 8.6% Siberian Husky and 3.9% German Shepherd, it’s no wonder giant ‘dog’ Yuki, has caught the attention of social media. Amassing over 40,000 Instagram followers, Yuki’s fame stems from a photo taken by a volunteer at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Florida, where he lives. The giant wolf dog, who now weighs 120llbs, was rescued from a shelter where he was abandoned and left for dead as a puppy by his previous owners because of the wolf-like (rather than dog) tendencies he displayed.

MEET the certified animal trainer who takes your naughty dog, cat, horse - or pig! - and turns them into your dream pet. 33-year-old Mikkel Becker, uses reward-based training programmes to help stressed owners gain more control over their best animal buddies. With the help of her own expertly-trained dog, Indiana Bones, Mikkel works her magic in veterinary and rescue centres, client homes and ‘doggy resorts’ across the United States. Mikkel gained her qualifications as a youngster, graduating from the rigorous San Francisco SPCA Dog Training Academy - and she hasn’t looked back since. Now Mikkel, who resides in Seattle, WA, uses her social media following to spread positivity with regards to animal training.

A WILDLIFE ranger has captured dramatic footage of a wounded hippopotamus fighting off FIVE adult lions. 28-year-old field guide, Daniel Bailey, positioned his camera just metres away from the awe-inspiring attack in the middle of the MalaMala Game Reserve, South Africa. As the giant hippo tried to find its way to a limited supply of water, in the dry month of May 2018, two male lions just happened to be sleeping on the ridge line above. With the hippo racing around, the male lions were alerted and called for their pride as three lionesses quickly approached the scene, along with four of their cubs. The adult predators went to work and tried to take the distressed hippo down by biting and clawing at its back. Described as ‘never-before-seen action’, it seems as though the hungry pride bit off more than it could chew on this occasion, as the hippo battled to safety.

A MINNESOTAN man lives with three giant English Mastiffs who weigh a combined 630lbs. Joe Thompson lives with his three English Mastiffs and his family in Duluth, Minnesota. The largest of the three dogs – two-year-old Harrison – weighs a whopping 250lbs, while his housemates Ringo and Paul weigh 218lbs and 170lbs respectively. Joe got the first of the three dogs six years ago after his dad was diagnosed with cancer and then began breeding the huge dogs. English Mastiffs are renowned for being the world’s heaviest dogs and Joe’s pets are in huge demand for breeding – charging up to $3000 a time.

AN ANIMAL lover sees his two grizzly bears as family members after raising them from cubs. Jeff Watson from Paoli, Indiana has been a bear handler for more than 29 years. His bears, Bob and Screech were given to him as cubs by a tourist attraction in Georgia that was going out of business. Now seven years old, the bears live with Jeff and also form part of his educational presentations where he teaches people how to co-exist more safely with the grizzlies.

A YOUNG woman is preparing to make the move to live with her long-distance boyfriend in Thailand and care for the world’s deadliest snakes. 18-year-old Lara Mlinaric from Croatia, met 22-year-old reptile-enthusiast Christopher Sharron, aged 22, on the internet when she asked him a question about one of her animals. The pair hit it off and Lara is now preparing to move to Bangkok to be with Chris and start their own centre dealing with the rehabilitation of venomous snakes. Chris owns over 60 snakes including a King Cobra which has a bite capable of injecting enough neurotoxic venom to kill 20 people.

A MARRIED COUPLE who share their city apartment with their pet puma say that they consider the big cat a part of their family. Sergey and Marina Ross, both aged 32, live with their 2-year-old mountain lion, Irma in their apartment in central Moscow. They adopted Irma from a zoo one year ago, after hearing that they intended to put her down because they could no longer afford to keep her. The big cat initially did not allow Sergey or Marina to touch her - but after months of adjusting to her new surroundings, she has eventually learned to love and trust them. Now, the couple have regular cuddles with the 38kg cat and Sergey says that he sometimes even sleeps next to her.

DRAMATIC footage shows a diver being bitten on the leg by a shark off the coast of Egypt – and somehow, he survives. In June 2018, Alexander Kraenkl, had been diving in the Red Sea for 50 minutes before encountering the oceanic whitetip shark. The 51-year-old, who lives in Austria, spotted the predator swimming towards him and tried to grab the anchor rope to lift himself to safety – but it was too late. The shark viciously bit Alexander’s right thigh, just below a safety item hanging from his dive vest. Needing urgent attention with his leg bleeding out, Alexander quickly parachuted himself to safety on board their boat, with the shark swimming in the opposite direction.

TWO animal-loving brothers have welcomed an unconventional housemate into their home - an adult African Masai lion. Hamzah and Hassan Hussain, from Karachi in Pakistan have been raising the beast ever since he was just two weeks old. The brothers fondly call him Simba, after Disney’s hit animated movie The Lion King and started looking after the cub after his mum stopped feeding him. The brothers share an intimate bond with the 26-month-old lion and he is often seen accompanying them on their walks and even driving around Karachi in their CAR.

TWO animal-loving brothers have welcomed an unconventional housemate into their home - an adult African Masai lion. Hamzah and Hassan Hussain, from Karachi in Pakistan have been raising the beast ever since he was just two weeks old. The brothers fondly call him Simba, after Disney’s hit animated movie The Lion King and started looking after the cub after his mum stopped feeding him. The brothers share an intimate bond with the 26-month-old lion and he is often seen accompanying them on their walks and even driving around Karachi in their CAR.

HANDSOME lion wrangler Shandor Larenty is so busy with his lions and hyenas - who like to give him kisses - has no time for romantic relationships with girls. While his friends were out partying and enjoying their teens, the dedicated 24-year-old was working night shifts at The Lion Park near Johannesburg, South Africa, mucking out hyenas, watching over sick lions, or doing special night feeds with injured giraffes. While Shandor admits he’s doing his “dream job”, the work is demanding it means he has no time for a love life. Thankfully he does get affection from somewhere, but it’s usually from his furry friends at the park like Themba the hyena.

A DOG breeder from California claims to have resurrected a breed of giant guard dogs, weighing 200lbs. Marcus Curtis, 45, of Riverside, is the proud owner of a 212-pound monster ‘American Molossus’ dog named ‘Old World Sasquatch’. The 18-month-old beast is the result of Marcus’ mission to bring back what he calls the ‘Old World Molossus’ breed; dogs which are said to have guarded the leaders of the ancient world around 5000BC. Marcus told Barcroft Studios: “When people see Sasquatch, jaws drop. People are in shock and amazement when they see these giant beasts.” Marcus now sells ‘American Molossus puppies’ for five thousand dollars, but there’s a long waiting list for one of the rare pups.

A DRAMATIC set of pictures show a man nearly being swallowed by a Bryde’s Whale off Port Elizabeth Harbour. Rainer Schimpf, 51, has worked as a dive tour operator in South Africa for over 15 years. But in February, he experienced something very rare – the inside of a whale’s mouth. In perfect sea conditions, Rainer and his team set off to document a sardine run – a natural event where gannets, penguins, seals, dolphins, whales and sharks work together to gather the fish into bait balls. Rainer and his colleagues film the expedition for educational and environmental purposes.Split into two groups, Rainer led his team into the ocean, about 25 nautical miles from shore.But it was when the sea suddenly churned up that the team knew something strange was happening.

THE WORLD’S most famous micro bully - Venom – has become one of America’s most valuable dogs thanks to his ability to produce lookalike, muscular pups. According to owner Matt Siebenthal, Venom has up to three stud services per week, and each puppy is sold for around $8000. In a year Venom’s puppies in combination with his Stud Service can easily generate sales of over a million dollars, with Matt struggling to keep up with demand. Venom has gained fame worldwide for his unmistakeable bodybuilder physique and lives with his owner Matt Siebenthal, Matt’s wife Deanne and their son Christian in Lake Worth, Florida. Venom’s ability to produce puppies who look exactly the same as him has led Matt and Deanne to launch Venom’s own line, called Venomline, with Venom’s fame helping the American Bully became one of the fastest growing breeds in 2018.

MEET the brave Czech family who spend their days living with big cats – including a tiger that weighs 44 stone. Petr Augustÿn manages Fauna Park, a sanctuary that houses more than 150 animals and 40 different species, from monkeys and meerkats to tigers and cougars. With the help of his family at their home in Lipová, Czech Republic, 53-year-old Petr is the leader of the pack who has been working with dangerous animals for the last 10 years. Describing the animals as the ‘centre of his life’, Petr interacts closely with Diego – a 44 stone tiger that he hand-feeds and cuddles every day.

WHAT if your best friend weighed 10,000lbs and was able to crush a watermelon under her foot? Acrobat and animal handler Lauryn Murray, 33, from Florida, grew up in a circus and spends almost every day caring for Lady Essex, a huge Asian elephant. Lauryn says the two are 'as close as a human and an elephant can be’. Amazingly, Lady Essex plays fetch with Lauryn’s dogs and even likes to play with her three-year-old son, who helps give her a bath.

A DOG WHISPERER who became famous for walking a pack of unleashed German Shepherds through busy city centres has revealed how his training methods have saved thousands of dogs from death. Augusto Deoliveira, from Sharon, South Carolina, became an internet sensation after his video of him walking five German Shepherds down a city street without a single leash went viral. The 27 years old man says that the most rewarding part of his job as an expert dog trainer is the ability to save lives of dogs who otherwise would have been put down by their owners for their aggressive behaviour. Augusto calls himself a ‘balanced trainer’ and says that he uses both positive and corrective reinforcement techniques to train the dogs.

A SEXUAL abuse survivor says she “would not be here today” if it weren’t for her pet capuchin monkey. Lauren Elizabeth McAna from Loxahatchee, Florida, has two Brazillian Tufted Capuchin monkeys; three-year-old Emerson Alexander and five-year-old rescue Chica Morey.The 23-year-old veterinary technician has suffered with mental health problems throughout her life, resulting in physical trauma and she sees her capuchin monkey Emerson as her support animal.

A FORMER professional wrestler lives with a giant alligator inside her house – and she even shares a bed with him. The 6 foot 6 inch, 200lbs reptile named Rambo not only has his own room in the house, he also watches TV on the sofa and eats dinner at the kitchen table. Mary Thorn, 57, adopted her beloved pet Rambo 13 years ago, rescuing him from imminent death. Now the 17-year-old gator freely walks inside the house, bosses the dogs around and loves to be the centre of attention. Rambo, who Mary often dresses up in leather jackets and sunglasses, is potty trained, he obeys 70 commands and poses “no threat to humans”. Mary, who resides in Lakeland, Florida, considers Rambo as a significant part of her family and says she has a special bond with the gator – who responds to her sign language.

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