The next Steve Irwin– Danny DiNaso on fishing, herping and running the family business

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Danny DiNaso

Junior Danny DiNaso has some unusual pets, including an alligator, pythons and several snakes.

Most high schoolers have a cat or dog for a pet, and junior Danny DiNaso does have a dog. But he also has a tarantula, a few pythons and several other snakes and reptiles.

DiNaso’s dad owns the Traveling World of Reptiles: a local, interactive reptile show that has been around since 1993. The DiNaso home is filled with the many different animal species that are featured in the shows.

“Currently, [we have] over ten snakes. Pythons, boas, rat snakes, king snakes, mainly. A handful, maybe five, turtles and tortoises combined, a lot of different lizards, I think we have three or four right now. A couple frogs, things like that,” DiNaso said.

He also has a 3.5 foot alligator named Axel and a tarantula named Webster. Although many people might find these animals terrifying, DiNaso has grown up with them and considers them pets.

In his free time, DiNaso enjoys fishing, herping (catching reptiles) and taking photos of the animals he catches. One of DiNaso’s photos of a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake was even featured in the Reptiles Magazine.

DiNaso’s photo of this Southern Pacific Rattlesnake was featured in the Reptiles Magazine.

Fishing and herping are big parts of the DiNaso family’s daily lives. DiNaso’s younger sister, Haley, comments on how it was her brother who got her into fishing.

“That was his hobby and he just started asking me to go sometimes. [My favorite place is] probably the Des Plaines River; that’s the main place we go,” Haley DiNaso said.

In the summer, DiNaso fishes almost every day, and most of the time he’s at the Des Plaines River. At one point, though, he came home with more than just fish. DiNaso explains how he captured the fox snake that currently lives in his room.

“My dad and I were on kayaks in the Des Plaines River, and we saw him floating. I scooped him up in a net and brought him home,” DiNaso said.

On top of fishing outside of school, DiNaso also joined the DGS Bass Fishing team this year. His teammate and close friend, sophomore Ben Chojnacki, comments on how DiNaso makes fishing more fun.

“We met through someone on the DGS Bass Fishing team. Danny’s always doing something stupid other than fishing, which makes it fun. We fish together maybe once a week in the summer,” Chojnacki said.

Unlike most people; however, DiNaso sees fishing and herping as more than just school activities or hobbies: it’s his future, and rather than go to college, he’s planning on working for Traveling World of Reptiles.

Straight out of high school, I’m going to work for my dad. I might eventually take over the company. I want to do it because it’s fun, and I like to help with kids.”

— Danny DiNaso