The weird and wonderful creatures were brought to Willowdene Care Home by the Discovery Zoo for an animal therapy session with the elderly residents who staff said enjoyed meeting the animals.
The first to meet the residents was Flash the tortoise, who received a banana from the home’s domestic worker Janice Farnham, and captured the attention of resident Barbara Berry, 81, and senior carer Shelby Fenwick.
Next came Tango the snake and Dexter the gecko, who wowed residents Margaret Wilson, 90, and Cheryl Cook, 64, while home administrator Louise Todd and maître d’ Christine Chandler held the reptilian pair.
Amelia the giant African millipede made a new best friend in resident Henry Tweddle, 85, when he whispered her name and she came crawling onto his hand.
Richard Johns, maintenance man at Willowdene Care Home, said: “The residents were excited and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon with the animals.
“They even asked if I could build enclosures for them so we could keep them.”
Sharon Dobson, lead senior carer at Willowdene Care Home, said: “It was a fantastic afternoon that our residents will be talking about for a long time.
“Activities such as this have many therapeutic benefits, especially for those living with dementia.
“They help reduce stress, ease anxiety, and improve overall wellbeing. You only have to watch the residents with the animals to see how beneficial these sorts of therapy sessions are.”