One Florida woman has decided to turn her garden into a living space for her two Bengal tigers. The tigers see her as their mother and she sees no problem with it. You won’t believe how they behave with her!
20. Unique Pets
It’s not always quite unusual for someone to own a more unique pets. There are tons of exotic animals that one can choose to keep and care for. However, one Florida woman has decided to really put that theory to the test.
19. Backyard Garden
While most people use their backyard garden as a place to grow plants and vegetables, 57-year-old Janice Haley of Orlando, Florida has a different use for hers. Haley’s backyard is used as a home for her two ferocious Bengal tigers.
Yes, you read correctly! Haley owns two pet tigers and keeps them in her backyard. One is Saber, a 600 pound male white Bengal tiger and Janda, a 400 pound orange Bengal female.
All of them reside in an unassuming suburban town in Orlando. Each day, Haley heads on out to the backyard and takes care of her tigers. You won’t believe what the job consists of!
16. Everyday Care
Everyday, Haley heads on back to the garden and hand feeds the tigers their meals. Haley and her husband work around the clock to make sure that the tigers are doing well. In fact, they have to feed them three times a day!
Not only does Haley hand feed the tigers, but the tigers also enjoy suckling on her finger before going to bed. She will often pet them to sleep while Saber suckles on her finger. Despite their scary reputation, Haley hasn’t had trouble finding volunteers to help out.
“Pretty much everyone that comes here to interact with them. My volunteers are all basically part of their family.” One volunteer in particular has quite a playful relationship with the tigers.
Carrie Ates has worked as a volunteer for the tigers and loves to play around with them. Video footage of the interactions show the tigers dragging her around and softly nibbling on her arm. So does it scare her?
12. Not Scared
“I don’t get scared when the tigers are dragging me around the cage. They’re doing it in play and it’s a relationship that we have, especially Sabre. I’ve been there with him since he was two weeks old,” Ates explained.
11. The Start
So how did this tiger fascination begin? Well, it all started when Haley was working at a boring desk job that she wanted to get out of. She promptly quit after taking her husband’s advice to do so.
10. The Adventure
“This adventure began back in 1995 when I was working behind a desk doing tedious work and I really wanted to get back outside and my husband came up with the idea of working with these wild exotic animals,” Haley explained. So she quit her job and took a tiger training course!
9. Two Years Later
Two years after taking the tiger training course, Haley came home with her first tiger cub. His name was Chuffer and she immediately fell in love with him. She was so in love in fact that she decided to get another tiger, Janda.
8. New Tiger
Unfortunately, Chuffer passed away back in 2007. After his passing, Haley brought home a two-week old cub they named Saber. Saber and Janda have now been living together.
Haley has taken on the role of mom to the tigers and it is a role that she takes seriously. “As far as they’re concerned, I am mommy,” explains Haley. “They rub me in the face, they’ll let me kiss them on the nose.”
6. Harsh Criticism
Despite her loving ways toward the tigers, Haley has received a ton of harsh criticism from people. Many believe that the tigers shouldn’t be kept in captivity. Haley has had a lot to say about this…
5. Not Ideal
“People who consider it cruel to keep them in captivity have a point, to a point,” Haley stated. “It is not the ideal place for a tiger to be, in a cage.” However, Haley believes that keeping some in cages benefits the tiger population as a whole.
4. Cared For
“But at this point, in the wild, there isn’t a lot hope out there for them anymore, and if there aren’t some of them left in cages there aren’t going to be any left at all in a couple of years from now… They are provided for and loved here. In my opinion, I wouldn’t mind being a tiger in my backyard.”
3. 12 Hours
Haley spends around 12 hours each day caring for her tigers. Once the day is over, she heads back to her house and sleeps until the next day. Then it all starts over from the beginning.
2. Raising Them
Haley has raised each tiger since they were a cub and this is what creates such a strong bond between them. She never worries that her tigers will hurt her in a malicious way.
1. Ordinary Cats
Haley continues to treat her enormous tigers just like she would an ordinary house cat. She cuddles with them, pets them, plays with them, and loves them. Even though most people don’t understand the bond they all share that doesn’t worry Haley at all.