I’ve always been in awe of people who have a special bond with animals, people who don’t hesitate to pet a random dog or feed a squirrel in the park. So, you can imagine how impressed I was when chatting with Seth Falk, owner of Hands On Exotics, a company that brings exotic animals to places and events, allowing guests to have the rewarding experience of interacting with them.

Seth’s love of animals began early enough at two years old. His first pet was a cat named Peaches. Eventually, his roster of pets expanded to include a dog and rats, lots of finches, and lizards. He gained his first professional experiences in working with animals by taking training courses with zookeepers and working at African Lion Safari.

About five years ago, Seth was working in nutrition, but he had a lot of exotic pets and loved bringing them to nursing homes on a volunteer basis to get his animals moving and also to stay connected to the community. The volunteering turned into his first paid gig, which led to more bookings. And then Hands on Exotics was born, with Del (his first volunteer), eventually becoming a business partner as Hands On Exotics grew.

When asked about his craziest Hands On Exotics experience, Seth describes a last minute gig they landed at a casino event in Niagara Falls. They were given a cage, which promptly broke down, allowing all of their dozen or so budgies to escape. It took a crane, a crane operator, and many hours to catch all of the birds.

Hands On Exotics can work with all types of events: corporate, schools, birthday parties, retirement homes, and more. “We bring a large assortment of animals, all of them exotic, to the event and we do our best to teach, to educate and also allow people to have a hands on experience.” Services start at $195 and include a variety of 10 to 12 animals, such as “reptiles, exotic birds, creepy crawlies, and furry animals from around the world.” They do hospital and nursing home visits: “we work with their budget because we’d rather be there than not be there,” says Seth.