A LITTLE animal lover has a total of nine reptiles to her name — one for all of her nine-years-of-age!

Heidi Brandwood has been collecting reptiles since the tender age of four and has become an young expert in the field.

Heidi's zoo now includes a frilled dragon named Diego, a milk snake named Zazu, a pacman frog named Jabba and two Chinese cave geckos dubbed Salt and Pepper and an Ackie Monitor lizard coming in at two and a half feet long.

After the Claypool Primary School student got her first gecko, she quickly developed a passion for the animals and now is hoping to study them in the future.

Proud dad Andy said: "We chose a really a really easy one to look after and after a month it jsut didn't wear off — she's just become more interested in them.

"She saves up her birthday money and we go to reptile shows. All she watches on TV now is animal documentaries."

The brave youngster keep her collection in her bedroom and has never had a fear of the animals. Heidi has also never shied away from feeding her beloved reptiles insects and even small mice herself.

Mr Brandwood added: "Ever since she got her first reptile, she has never had a fear of anything. She even defrosts the mice and cuts them in half for the bigger lizards!"

"Heidi seems to have a kinship with them. If I pick one up, they don't like it, but they are fine with her."

Along with teaching her classmates about her pets in school, the brainy nine-year-old is starting to host her own lizard parties for birthdays. Heidi will let birthday boys and girls get a close up look of her collection and share her wealth of knowledge about the species.

Mr Brandwood said: "There's a lot of care involved, but Heidi knows all the feeding regimes, she knows exactly what they eat.

"It's quite unique, we've never come across someone her age that has got her collection and her knowledge. It's her passion and she absolutely loves it. We're very proud."