Ross Kemp fans concerned by ‘animal cruelty’ as he meets man who keeps 36 snakes

Britain's Tiger Kings – On the Trail with Ross Kemp viewers were left feeling uncomfortable during Tuesday's special, as they learned about one of the UK's most enthusiastic snake owners.

Reptile devotee Gary Smith owns 36 snakes, keeping the scaled creatures in his terraced home, confined to their individual cages.

Living with his family in Derby, Gary has a 12ft python and dozens of assorted snakes in varying shapes and sizes.

While Gary claimed the snakes don't need more room in their habitats, certain viewers felt it was cruel to keep the reptiles cooped up.

Gary defended his decision to care for them in his home, saying: "Their habitat’s just shrinking so fast and if we haven't got them, and people learning to actually care about them, they’re just going to get extinct sooner or later and people are just going to see them on pictures."

The pet enthusiast also revealed he has been "bitten 15 times in 30 years," suffering wounds on his hands from snake bites.

Three of his snakes are venomous, as he explained they are "mildly venomous, can't kill you but they can make you feel ill".

"I like the adrenalin it gives you, you've always got to be on your guard, 24-7," Gary then explained, when Ross asked him why he kept venomous snakes as pets.

Watching the show from home, several Twitter users contacted the RSPCA via Twitter to cite animal cruelty, concerned for the welfare of the animals featured on the show.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (RSPCA) cares for animals in England and Wales, rescuing creatures in need of a safer home.

One wrote: "Animal cruelty nothing else to it."

"@rspca_official are you watching this? How is keeping that many reptiles in a house legal?" said a second.

"This is SO wrong," penned a third.

"Nobody should be keeping a dozen snakes in their box room. Cruel." wondered a fourth.

Daily Star has contacted ITV for comment.

Elsewhere in the episode, Ross met with owners of exotic birds and wild cats, exploring the underground world of collecting unusual creatures as pets.

He got to know Jim Clubb in Chipping Norton, who owns two black leopards and five tigers.

Britain's Tiger Kings – On the Trail continues next Tuesday at 9pm on ITV.

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