By Emma Davie
At the age of 15, Ken Finlay owns his own business. Ken’s Critters is an interactive and educational reptile show, which features 10 to 12 different reptiles from across the globe.
“We do an educational talk on all the animals and then a hands-on part,” says Finlay, as he explains his shows that cover the habitats and needs of each of the reptiles.
Ken’s Critters began in January of 2009. Since then Finlay has done approximately 300 shows, and is currently doing between four and eight shows a month, each one costing $125. They are generally aimed at a youth audience, from birthday parties to daycares.
Finlay came up with the idea for Ken’s Critters before he even owned his first reptile.
When he made plans to become a veterinarian, he discovered that 15 per cent of the application for the University of Prince Edward Island’s veterinary college is based on animal handling.
His parents, Andrew Finlay and Dawn Roseby, both say they were shocked when their son approached them with the idea.
“We had no idea,” says Finlay’s father. “All of a sudden he was starting to get into fish … and then the next thing he comes up with this idea that, ‘I want to get these lizards and snakes, and I want to do shows’, and we’re like, ‘No. No way’”.
However, Finlay finally persuaded his parents to let him get his first reptile – a leopard gecko.
“We got (the leopard gecko) one day, and I liked it enough, so the next day we went out and got a bearded dragon,” said Finlay. “Then we had those two for a little while, and then I decided I wanted to get a snake. So we got our first ball python and then fell in love with snakes. So we got a bunch more snakes, and then got more lizards, and then it kind of just turned into this.”
Finlay owns approximately 20 reptiles – from boa constrictors, to iguanas, to ball pythons – all of which reside in the basement of the family’s home.
His friendliest reptiles, such as Bo the iguana or Eddie the boa constrictor, are just two that Finlay uses in his shows.
Finlay has since changed his mind about being a veterinarian, after he had to euthanize his first boa constrictor, which his father said “really hurt him”.
“It’s kind of hard putting them down,” says Finlay.
|Andrew Finlay discusses the start of Ken’s Critters.|
|Ken’s Clip 2|
Though he continues to have much success with Ken’s Critters, Finlay’s newest project is breeding snakes, which he explains are much easier to care for.
Despite his change of heart about becoming a veterinarian, Finlay does not appear to have lost his passion for reptiles.
“Maybe he’ll be a lawyer with a big reptile collection,” says his mother.
Ken Finlay discusses the start of Ken’s Critters and explains his reptile shows.