Willmott’s family raises personal zoo


Photo Courtesy Grace Willmott

Willmott holds a California King snake named Cal. He is one of 23 different species of animals Willmott has at her house.

The squawk of a blue and gold macaw, the whiny of a quarter horse and many more sounds are just part of Grace Willmott’s (10) everyday life.

Willmott spends her days at home helping take care of the different animals found on her family’s property.

Throughout the years, Willmott has collected animals as small as a marbled salamander, to as large as a quarter horse. In total, 23 different animal species live at Willmott’s house.

“You never get bored. There’s never any boring time, because there is always something to do. There’s always a new animal when I come home,” Willmott said.

Most of the animals at her house have either been bought, or taken in by Willmott.

“Some of them we buy, and then some of them we rescue from situations where they can’t be taken care of,” Willmott said. “Some are from the kill buyer, and some are from families who can’t take care of them anymore.”

Kill buyers buy horses and different animals in order to kill them off for their meat. Often times, kill buyers are employed by slaughter houses and sent to horse auctions.

Some kill buyers have been known to target unsuspecting horse owners as well.

While some types of animals require different licensing to own and take care of, Willmott’s family chooses to avoid those situations.

“For some animals there is [licensing], but no. Usually we don’t get involved in situations where we are required to get a license for the animal,” Willmott said.

Each day, Willmott and her family have many chores to complete; some more time consuming than others.

“We have a little set up in our kitchen where we have big, huge boxes of fruit and vegetables. Our whole garage is like a barn, where we have all of these different animals that specifically eat fruit and vegetables,” Willmott said. “So we have to take boxes out at a time for them. We’ve gotta cut out fruit and vegetables for them. It’s a trip. It’s pretty different. ”

While Willmott does not have a favorite moment with her animals, she does have a favorite season.

“Probably whenever it’s the season where they all have babies. It’s the best. It’s like you come home and there’s a whole new animal every day,” Willmott said.

Though her favorite memories are all of the different animal babies, Willmott’s family then has to find room for each of the new animals.

“We kind of just make room for them. Like, we re-arrange the pens and stuff so that there it is more convenient at that there is more room for them,“ Willmott said.