Over 160 Walsall primary school students came face-to-face with Milkshake the milk snake, a Tegu lizard, a hissing cockroach, and a blue-tongued skink, after they made a flying visit to Grace Academy Darlaston with the Animal Man.
Animal expert Mitchell Price, whose reptilian friends have appeared on Channel 4, Lion TV and Blue Peter, gave students a hands-on experience of rain forest creatures and mini-beasts, while teaching them about conservation, endangered species, and their place in the eco-system.
Mitch, who has also worked with David Attenborough, explained:
“Around 80% of our animals are rescued on behalf of the RSPCA, and even though it might seem cool to have a pet like these, you need to do your research because it’s not always good for them to be looked after in peoples’ homes.
“We have endangered animals and we need to understand that some could be extinct in the next 20 years due to deforestation. I travel to schools and colleges to teach handling skills, as well as raising awareness of the importance of keeping these animals responsibly with the right special equipment to look after them properly.”
Primary school students from Salisbury Street, Old Church, Kings Hill and County Bridge Primary Schools all had the opportunity to hold the animals, and one of the students from Salisbury Street said:
“I liked holding the big snake that went around my neck and licked me. The little snake licked my nail. It was amazing that you got to hold so many animals.”
Teacher Nadia Eljakhri, from Kings Hill Primary School, commented:
“It has been a fantastic experience. The students are calm and very engaged, and it’s great to get them out of the classroom to experience something a bit different.”
One of the students from Kings Hill Primary School added:
“It’s been my best day on earth because I got to meet a five week old Meerkat. It was so soft and I wanted to take it home.”
Sarah Giles, Transition Coordinator, Grace Academy Darlaston, said she organises these experiences to help enhance learning outside the classroom and added:
“We do these events to provide experiences that link to the curriculum and strengthen students’ understanding and engagement, while learning about habitats and the animals and reptiles in a hands-on way.”