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West Wales: This £600k two-bedroom bungalow includes some unusual tenants…

zoohouseA TRULY unique property has recently come onto the market and offers the chance to partake in an extraordinary business venture. The 2 bedroom home, set on the rugged Ceredigion coastline, boasts panoramic views – and did we mention it also comes with a zoo?

This small but well maintained business is situated in the beautiful seaside town of Borth, which lies just 6 miles outside of the university town of Aberystwyth and, according to estate agents Morris Marshall and Poole, was voted the best place in Wales to raise children in 2011.

The owners, Jean and Alan Mumbray, are looking to hand over the reins due to their impending retirement, after 15 successful years of running the Animalarium.

The perfect addition to any animal lover’s life, the zoo includes almost 400 animals of 120 different species in the sale of the property. Species include: lions, meerkats, parrots, a lynx, emus, leopards, snakes, peacocks, beavers, turtles and tortoises. Also included is all equipment, fixtures and fittings, the website, a cafeteria, visitor centre and gift shop, children’s play areas and a large car park.

Borth Animalarium, set in 4.9 hectares, began its life due to the Mumbrays’ hobby of collecting rare breeds, and they already had a host of the animals, such as the wallabies, monkeys and crocodiles, as pets.

After the expansion last year, the zoo now includes the additions of lion and emu enclosures. However, Jean says that there is even more room for growth due to the fact that the zoo only covers 8 of the 12 acres that come with the 2 bedroom bungalow, which also has permission to be extended to include 4 bedrooms.

Jean says: “The lion is probably the zoo’s most unusual attraction and was given to us because there are too many lions being born in captivity and not enough places for them.”

Yet, despite the amount of exotic animals with very big teeth present in the Animalarium, Jean says most dangerous animals are rats because they bite your fingers when you put your hands in their cage. Jean says the most hazardous animal “used to be a biting pony but she is retired now and does not have contact with visitors.”

The Mumbrays say that the new owners will not need to be professional zookeepers by a long shot, but to bear in mind that the zoo is not simply a business, but a lifestyle. Jean says: “The staff are invaluable. The zoo keepers will do the actual feeding and daily care, and the new owners will learn as they go. However, I would expect them to have at least some interest or experience and to research what running a zoo actually entails.”

A typical day in the life of Jean sees her completing administration work, ordering supplies and liaising with the zookeepers. Jean says that although it will be a challenge, last year the zoo attracted 27,000 visitors, and the number is increasing every year.

Jean says: “Life at a zoo is more routine than you’d expect but every now and then something unexpected will happen. Once we had to move the emus and they got frightened and started laying eggs, and on New Year’s Day one year we had surprise twin baby monkeys born.”

This really is a rare, exciting and worthwhile opportunity for the right buyer. Jean said she found that “The rewards are personal. I have always had joy from the animals I own, they are my greatest pleasure.”

Upon the sale of the property, the Mumbrays intend to move closer to family along with their beloved personal pets: their horses, dogs, cats, budgies – and monkeys.

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Jon Coles

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