Dr Tariq Abou-Zahr BVSc CertAVP(ZooMed) DipECZM(Avian) MRCVS
Exotic Animal Veterinary Surgeon
EBVS & RCVS Recognised Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Avian Medicine & Surgery)
Tariq has been involved in private aviculture and herpetoculture and keeping and breeding birds and reptiles as a hobby for many years and currently maintains a small private collection of select avian and reptilian species. Some of these animals are part of a conservation breeding program. There are occasionally a small number of surplus offspring produced from certain species, which are sold to or exchanged with other hobbyists and collections. The collection is not operated on a commercial basis and any funds raised are used to contribute to the upkeep of the collection. Any surplus funds beyond would be donated to conservation charities. If you are interested in any of the species kept and wish to enquire about surplus offspring, please contact via the relevant page.
Tariq's want to become an exotic veterinary surgeon was inspired by his own animals, which he was keeping from a very young age.
Tariq's keeping focus is primarily birds of the family Ramphastidae (toucans, toucanets and aracaris) and Australian pythons - especially carpet pythons. A few other species are kept too (see below). The ethos is to focus on few select species and to establish genetically diverse groups of those species, with multiple bloodlines. Well-maintained, genetically diverse captive collections can be considered an "invisible ark" reserve of species, which are housed outside of mainstream zoos and public institutions. Tariq tries to keep lineage information for animals in the collection to avoid inbreeding and maintain as much genetic diversity as possible.
Please see below for currently kept species:
Green Aracari - Pteroglossus viridis
One of the smallest aracaris, this species is native to eastern Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil, as well as along the north bank of the Amazon river. It is sexually dimorphic, with the females having chestnut-brown plumage on the head and throat, while the males have black plumage in that region. Males have larger bills than females.
Tariq keeps a genetically diverse group of several different unrelated birds.
Green aracaris are very quiet birds.
Black-necked Aracari - Pteroglossus aracari
A large aracari, with an average weight of around 250g. Its maxillary beak is ivory-white, contrasting with a jet-black mandible. There are three subspecies of black necked aracari. The atricollis subspecies is found in eastern Venezuela, the Guianas and northern Bazil. A gregarious bird, it nests in hollows in trees made by woodpeckers, or by the fracturing of branches.
Wild Type ("Bush") Budgerigar - Melopsittacus undulatus
Although budgerigars are the most popular pet bird in many countries, these birds have been selectively bred to such an extent that many appear very different from the small, green, wild-type budgies seen in nature. Tariq keep's a colony of "bush" budgies in an outdoor aviary, which resemble the natural form, as seen in the Australian bush.
Carpet Python - Morelia spilota spp.
Carpet Pythons are Tariq's favourite group of snakes. Native to Australia and New Guinea, Tariq keeps the following Australian subspecies:
Jungle Carpet Python, Morelia spilota cheynei
Darwin Carpet Python, Morelia spilota variegata
Inland Carpet Python, Morelia spilota metcalfei
Bredl's Python - Morelia bredli
The Bredl's python, or centralian python is Tariq's favourite species of snake. Native to a region in Australia's southern Northern Territory, these snakes are semi arboreal and often inhabit rocky outcrops in their red, Australian desert habitat. Bredl's pythons are colourful, hardy and typically have a great disposition. They are larger than many of the carpet python subspecies, often getting to 6-8 feet in length, with some specimens getting even bigger than that.
Spotted Python - Antaresia maculosa
This species is the largest of the Antaresia genus. They originate from the east coast of Australia and seldom exceed four foot in length. Tariq rehomed a male spotted python that was a stowaway from Mackay in Queensland that accidentally arrived in the UK in a suitcase.
Stimson's Python - Antaresia stimsoni spp.
Tariq has kept Stimson's pythons for many years and bred them a number of times. He keeps NT type Eastern Stimson's Pythons (Antaresia stimsoni orientalis) which were originally acquired from Australian Addiction Reptiles in the USA, as well as animals from the Frank Schofield line, from NSW. Also Wheatbelt type western Stimson's Pythons (Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni) which were acquired from UK Pythons, Pilbara western stimson's pythons and an unrelated line of western stimson's pythons from no designated locality, which came from mainland Europe.
Royal Python - Python regius
Tariq's interests are predominantly in pure, natural type snakes, however royal pythons have been kept since the university days in some spectacular colours and patterns and Tariq still keeps a small collection of these beautiful little pythons. The royal python is one species which is well on its way to being a "domesticated" reptile. In nature, these snakes come from W.Africa. Tariq is particularly interested in pieds and axanthics.