Melissa Trickey loves animals.
Which is a good thing, because she shares her home in Shepparton with 16 of them.
“I lived on a farm when I was younger so I was always around pets,” Melissa said.
“I love it. I would rather be surrounded by animals than people.”
While there are the cats and dogs you would find in many homes in the Goulburn Valley, Melissa also has some more unusual pets, including two sugar gliders, a python, a frog, and a turtle.
“I like to be different. I like unusual things, ”said Melissa.
Even one of her cats is a little different because Melissa opted for a hairless Sphynx.
When asked if she had a favorite pet, it was the nearly five-year-old Sphynx cat that Melissa nominated.
“I love him down to the smallest detail. Panchu is very pushy, ”she said.
“Sphynxes are very affectionate.”
Panchu is not only cuddly, but also has a cheeky side, hopping on benches or cupboards and pushing things off.
“You have to be careful about leaving food on the bench because he’ll pinch it.”
Priya, an eight-year-old Persian cat, is also known for trying to steal food from family plates when she gets the chance, Melissa said.
Phoebe, a 10-year-old long haired moggy, and Priya tend to “do their own thing,” but Phoebe loves to sleep in bed with Melissa’s daughter Nattaya Guligo.
The first of Melissa’s pets was Bailey, a now 13-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Despite his age, Melissa said Bailey was still energetic and “full of beans.”
These days, Bailey spends most of her time in the back yard with Lucy, a seven-year-old boxer cross-border collie who Melissa describes as “exuberant and energetic.”
It falls to Melissa’s partner Brad Horton to take Lucy with them on their walks because she is too strong on her leash for Melissa.
There are also two other “indoor dogs,” 12-year-old Staffy crossboxer Hunee and 6-year-old pug Sharnie, whom Melissa said were relaxed and loved attention.
Eleven-year-old cockatoo Rhapsody is another of Melissa’s older pets.
The cockatoo is an “inner bird” and is not caged at all.
Melissa had Rhapsody as a baby raising birds and raised them by hand from around six weeks old.
Since then, Rhapsody has lived with another friend of Melissa for six years, but has been back with Melissa in recent years and now has a free hand in the house, sitting on a pole in the living room or in the laundry she sleeps in.
According to Melissa, Rhapsody is quite loud, often screeching, but can also say a few sentences, including “I love you”.
She also loves to be with people.
“She hates that we are leaving her. She screams every time we leave the house. “
With cockatoos that have lived for more than 65 years, turtles that can live for more than 50 years, and pythons that can live for more than 20 years, Melissa said she was very careful when choosing these pets since her children are Tyrone Guligo (16), Nattaya (14) or Ryker Trickey, 6, may have to take them over in the coming years due to their long lifespan.
When Melissa got Sheldon, a turtle, two years ago, it was about the size of a 50C coin.
“She would only have been a few weeks old,” said Melissa.
Sheldon is now a little bigger than the palm of your hand and spends her days in the aquarium.
“She’s very calm and loves dinner,” said Melissa.
Daily feeding includes feed fish, raw shrimp, pellets or turtle food.
The house’s tanks also have two goldfish – named Kevin and Stewart – an eight-year-old tree frog named Lillypad and a four-year-old Bredli python named Karai.
The python is Brad’s pet; Melissa bought it as a birthday present for Brad.
“I’m not going to touch her,” said Melissa.
When they first got Karai at six weeks old, she initially lived in a snack container.
Karai is now over 180 cm long and has grown into a much larger tank.
The latest additions to the household are two sugar gliders – a one-year-old male named Gumnut and a six-month-old female Kalypso.
As nocturnal animals, the gliders spend most of their time sleeping together in bags in their cage, but the night is their time to shine.
“It’s like you’re up to speed. They’re very energetic and quick (at night), ”said Melissa.
They each have an exercise bike that the family can listen to while exercising at night while the rest of the house is in bed.
The last pet in the household is a silky chicken named Cloud, 2 who lives in the front yard of their house.
While there is always a lot going on with so many pets, Melissa doesn’t want it any other way.
“It never gets boring,” said Melissa.
“It is fun.
“When the kids are at school and my partner is at work, I don’t feel lonely.”
click Here for more photos of Melissa’s pets.