Residents of Millfield Care Home in Heywood, Manchester, were delighted to welcome some exotic visitors, including a black rat, a bearded dragon and a tarantula.
The creatures were brought in by Zoo Lab, an animal handling experience and lifelong learning company that takes a trip to Millfield about three times a year.
Zoo Lab’s visits are always greatly anticipated and well attended. The residents’ often fearless attitude to holding and petting creepy crawlies is a real eye-opener for our staff, who sometimes want to run for the door at the sight of a big spider!
The handler provided some information about each animal –talking about where they live in the wild and what they like to eat – before offering people the chance to hold and stroke them. The activity is fun and stimulating for residents, sparking conversation and prompting them to share memories.
Sometimes our residents are surprised by an animal’s texture – for example, if they expect a snake or bearded dragon to be slimy, but instead find that it is smooth and silky or dry and papery.
Residents even got to meet a giant snail, but the star attraction this time was undoubtedly a lovely big black rat.