CORBIN MAXEY, Animal Expert

Swimming with Alligators is Just Another Day at the Office for this Meridian Native

Article by Kimber Patterson

Photography by Samantha Maxey & Brett Cheffings

Originally published in Meridian Lifestyle

Idaho native and resident Corbin Maxey is a nationally recognized animal expert, biologist, and television personality notable for numerous appearances on “The Today Show,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and many more. At the age of 12, he founded Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve in Meridian, a non-profit dedicated to reptile rescue, conservation, and education.  Corbin has found homes for hundreds of homeless, abused, and neglected reptiles and amphibians.  His passion for all animals influenced his decision to commit his life to them.

Maxey will be performing every Wednesday evening in July at The Village, and things are about to get WILD!  From alligators to anacondas, Maxey will share his knowledge and amazing animals.  We asked our local hero how he stays busy when he’s not performing.

What’s a typical day like when you have a snake as a co-worker? 

Every day is different and that’s why I love working with animals. I’ll start by feeding our herbivorous iguana, skinks, box turtles, and tortoises. Depending on the weather, I move animals to their outdoor habitats to enjoy the sunshine. The rest of my day is spent cleaning up animal poo, draining pools, cleaning filters, changing substrate, expanding our emu yard, and building a new outdoor alligator area - the list goes on!  In between I film content for all my social media platforms. I typically go live daily in the Alligator House for my TikTok audience.

What’s an Alligator House?  Can I visit?

Our Alligator House is truly one-of-a-kind! My dad and I built the 1,000 sq. ft. building which includes a recessed pool for our two rescued American Alligators. Their habitat has a sandy beach, palms, and ferns.  We’re working on “alligator doors” leading outside where they can bask in the Idaho sunshine. We offer private tours of the Alligator House along with our other animal facilities, and all proceeds go back to our animals.

You recently had to do some repairs in your alligator pool.  How did you distract Soni, your 10’ alligator?

Like I said, every day of my job is definitely different!  We distracted him using a frozen thawed turkey. While he was busy holding onto the turkey at the opposite end of the pool, we jumped in to do the repairs. You can watch a video of this on my YouTube channel!

How many pounds of poultry do you go through per month?

Too many to count! We go through several whole chickens, thighs, and quarters weekly to feed our rescued alligators, snapping turtles, and Savannah Monitor Lizard. They also eat beef, pork, fish, and venison. We have recently received meat donations which has helped tremendously.

How old is the oldest animal you care for?

That would be Tinkerbelle, my 50-year-old, 85 pound female Sulcata Tortoise. She was found crossing rush-hour traffic in Nampa over a decade ago. I also care for her 150 pound boyfriend Tank and their kids, Littlefoot and Hank. They’ll all live to be over 100 years old.

You’ve been on many national talk shows over the years.   Do you have a favorite moment?

I think that would be my first time appearing on national TV. I was 14-years-old, my Albino Python was wrapped around me, and I was sitting next to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. I looked past the cameras and lights out into the studio audience and realized I had found my calling. I knew in that moment I wanted to pursue a career with animals and educate people about them. 

You founded Cyprus Hill Reptile Reserve in Meridian when you were only 12 years old.   What inspired you to dedicate yourself to reptile rescue, conservation, and education?

I’ve always had a passion for animals! At 12 years old, my family went to a local pet store and overheard a man looking for a home for his Ball Python. The pet store manager said they had no room. I asked my dad if we could take the python and that’s how it all began. You want to know the crazy thing? I still have “Reggie,” - that rescued Ball Python - to this day!   He is well into his late 20’s, and may be the world’s oldest living Ball Python.  He really started it all!

How can I help these amazing animals without having one in my living room?

People can help by donating to our non-profit, Cyprus Hill Animal Reserve. We are currently raising funds to finish the outdoor yard for our alligators, and install an electric heater for the winter months. We’re also looking into solar panels for green energy.

What should the audience expect at the Wild Wednesdays shows at The Village?

Audiences can expect exciting, entertaining, and educational shows at the Village this summer, and no two shows will be the same. I’ll be teaming up with local animal experts and their animal ambassadors to showcase some of the most amazing animals we have living right here in the Treasure Valley. From an owl to an anaconda, these shows will be like nothing I’ve ever done before in front of a live audience.

Who do you admire and why?

The Irwin family. Terri, Bindi, and Robert have continued Steve Irwin’s legacy with their wildlife rescue, conservation, and education, and it is truly admirable. They are such amazing voices for wildlife and conservation around the world.

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