Brent Burns, the Sharks' prized new defenseman, is in town this week getting the lay of the land and looking for a place to rent.

But while the Burns family is coming to San Jose, the Burns Zoo will be staying behind in Minnesota.

"I don't know how people would react with me moving into a rental house with 150 snakes," he said.

The Sharks got more than just a top young defenseman in a draft-night deal with the Minnesota Wild. They got one of hockey's more unconventional personalities.

A self-described "big kid," the 26-year-old, shaggy-haired Burns has tattoos all over his 6-foot-5, 220-pound body. He is also an animal lover who has a menagerie of dogs (two), exotic birds (three) and snakes and other reptiles (number uncertain) at his rural home outside St. Paul, Minn.

"It's probably a little higher than 150 right now because it's mating season," Burns said.

He could only laugh when asked why his personal jungle was lacking in lions, tigers and bears.

"I've always wanted a giraffe," he said, "but my wife said no."

Oh, my.

The Sharks gave up a king's ransom to get Burns -- Devin Setoguchi, top prospect Charlie Coyle and their first-round pick -- because they believe Burns will be a difference-maker on the blue line.