Charlie Parker is only 3 years old, but he already has a best friend: an eight foot boa constrictor named Pablo. Although the snake weighs more than he does, Charlie can often be seen wearing Pablo around his shoulders. When he’s not playing with Pablo, he can probably be found wrestling with Gump, an American alligator.
Charlie has been the center of controversy since pictures of him with these dangerous animals surfaced on the internet. Charlie’s father, Greg Parker, owns and operates the Ballarat Wildlife Park in Victoria, Australia. The facility is, in essence, Charlie’s playground.
While the photos of the adorable tot with various animals are adorable, they are also a bit disturbing to some. With the death of animal adventurer Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 after a poisonous sting ray pierced his heart, even animal lovers have been skeptical about human interactions with dangerous animals. Although, it is reported that Irwin’s wife and children remain animal activists despite the “Crocodile Hunter’s” untimely death.
While Gump the alligator is somewhat of a pet, he is still a wild animal that may someday attain a length of 13 feet or more. Charlie’s father is teaching him how to take care with the animals however. In one video, Charlie watches from a safe distance while his older brother feeds a crocodile. In the video, viewers can hear little Charlie call out “Be careful!” as his brother placed a pole with food on it over the tank.
Charlie is a third-generation animal lover, and father Greg is an animal care expert. “We didn’t go out to encourage it but he just loves reptiles,” Greg says of his son’s passion. “Like everybody he’s frightened of some things … others not so much.”
Ballarat Wildlife Park includes large boa constrictors and cobras along with kangaroos, koalas, and wombats.
What do you think of the photos of little Charlie with his favorite animals?