Pinetops family and their 85 exotic children featured on TLC

Published: May. 22, 2018 at 8:47 PM EDT
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If you think your house is a zoo, wait until you meet a family in the east that has 90 babies. Five are human and the rest are exotic animals, ranging from zebras, camels, kangaroos, and wallabies, just to name a few.

Their wild life is now a focus of a reality show premiering Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on TLC, but before you meet them as reality TV Stars, WITN gets the real scoop on this animal lovers' paradise in Eastern Carolina.

Just 25 miles west of Greenville on 10 acres of land in Edgecombe County, it's the Abrams family and their zoo.

Besides your chickens, pigs, and goats, Bobbi Jo and Jerry Abrams have animals you wouldn't typically see in this neck of the woods.

"He's a Patagonian cavy," says Bobbi Jo, referring to a large rodent named Archie.

They also have alpacas and kangaroos, including one joey named Sugar Ray, like the boxer, who is a bit of a celebrity at the zoo. So is Axel Rose, a wolf-hybrid.

Bobbi Jo has raised them all, including a Longhorn Watusi named Tahoe. "Probably about 2,000 pounds," says the proud zoo mom.

It's the camel and the zebra that's really got people's attention in Pinetops.

"So when I got the zebra, it was a game changer, because then people started pulling over every day," Bobbi Jo says.

That was the beginning of what is now called "It's a Zoo Life."

It's not just the yard that's become a zoo. The inside of their home has also been transformed.

Belt, the sloth, lives inside along with their five children, which consists of Bobbi Jo's two girls, Jerry's two kids, and their son they have together.

Bobbi Jo used to have her own business.

"I fax painted for about 15 years, that's how I raised my kids, but my husband does Abrams BBQ Catering and Amusements," she says.

The family is the one that owns Abrams BBQ across Eastern Carolina.

Seven years ago for a catering gig, the owners of the petting zoo canceled the night before and Bobbi Jo, who didn't have any animals then, went into action.

"I borrowed everybody's animals I knew," she says. "I had ducks in the bathtub, crates all over the house."

The money she made, coupled with her love for these animals, sparked an idea.

"We take in a lot of animals, lot of rescues, and of course we purchase some as well, but we got more rescues than the purchases," Jerry tells WITN.

Five-year-old kangaroo Buddy is the rescue roo who's missing a few fingers. "He came out as a baby missing two, they think right out of pouch missing two finger, he was just friendly," Bobbi Jo says.

Her friendly pets would travel with her and while on vacation with her wallaby, social media posts of them caught the attention of national network TLC.

"Reality TV is not true reality," she says.

They'll be featured on their own show called "It's a Wild Life," something they couldn't believe in their wildest dreams.

"I hope when people see where I'm from that God gets all the glory, that nobody like me could have ever done what I was doing on my own," Bobbi Jo says.

If you want your own glimpse of the animals in Pinetops, you will need to call ahead.