AN ANIMAL lover says his 113 exotic pets have disappeared amid a bitter split from his fiance.
Richard Wiper, 33, claims foxes, meerkats, raccoons, lizards, a skunk, a giant tortoise, and 45 snakes have been taken.
He and Nick Powell, 39, fell out over the number of animals crammed into their three-bed semi.
Richard was given a month to remove them, but Nick later agreed to more time. However, last Saturday he heard from a neighbour that his animals were being put in a van. Fashion events organiser Richard, who says he is their registered owner, raced to the house to find it empty.
He said: “I shouted for my fox cubs, who howl if they hear me, but there was no reply. I broke down.
“It’s like having your family snatched from you. I’ve nursed these animals from the brink of death.
“The raccoons and Fernando the skunk have got me through so much.
“Everyone suffers in a break-up, but I have lost so much. I just want my zoo back.” He claims police have told him the animals are safe, but will not tell him where they are.
most read in uk news
Search for missing schoolgirl, 12, who disappeared running an errand for mum
HUNT FOR KILLER
Cops surround London mosque as man fatally knifed and 'suspect runs inside'
LIVING IN FANTASY
Fantasist woman jailed for falsely accusing 15 men of rape loses appeal
ICE ICE BABY
Britain braced for big FREEZE as temperatures plunge by 18C in frosty weekend
Fake rough sleeper used props to con public despite having house and benefits
Brits face snow & 70mph gales tonight then -2C DEEP FREEZE in North tomorrow
Richard met “head of giraffes” Nick while working at Colchester Zoo.
He later moved into a house Nick bought in Ipswich and started collecting animals from 2016 — spending £1,100 a month on food, bedding and vet bills for the menagerie.
A pal of Nick said: “He’d never do this to hurt. He wanted the animals out and safe and his home back.”