Wrexham home residents come face to face with python and tarantula

Snakes, snails and giant spiders invaded a Wrexham care home – much to the delight of residents.

June and Billy Lincoln, from Animals Out The Box, in Leeswood, near Mold, dropped in on the Pendine Park care organisation to introduce residents to their reptilian, arachnid and furry mammal friends.

The visitors to the Penybryn home included a selection of reptiles, from a Royal Python called Victoria to bearded dragon lizards and a pygmy hedgehog to a tarantula spider.

June said: “Normally we are asked to attend schools, youth clubs, and nurseries so it’s actually quite nice to visit some older people. We also help people deal with phobias, although the residents here were all clearly very comfortable handling the three snakes we brought along.

“We also offer advice to people who are looking to keep a reptile or spider as a pet. We like to point out the pitfalls and the fact that many snakes can live for many, many years and the commitment you have to make to keep them healthy.

“I am thrilled with the way residents have responded to our animals and delighted they have found the visit both fun and educational.”

Pendine Park Activities Co-ordinator Gerry Humphreys says it was the residents who asked if they could invite Animals Out The Box along.

She said: “We hold regular meetings with residents to discuss the activities they’d like us to try and put on. Many wanted to do something with animals and then some said they’d never handled a snake.

“I researched the idea and found out about Animals Out The Box and we decided to invite June and Billy along. I was a little apprehensive as I have a fear of spiders myself and I wasn’t sure how some residents would react to snakes and lizards.

“In fact, I needn’t have worried, they have all thoroughly enjoyed it and many were really excited. It has been a new experience and clearly one they have enjoyed immensely.

“Residents chose whether they want to attend and join in activities, no one is forced into doing something they don’t want to do. However, the day room was absolutely packed for Animals Out The Box. It’s clearly an activity that’s  been a big, big hit.”

Resident Una Wise, 79, who was originally from Holywell, says she had never handled a snake before but loved holding the royal python and king snake saying they were beautiful.

She said: “It’s been brilliant, they are lovely. I really like it when we get to do different things. I liked the snakes most but the lizards were nice too.”

Resident John Galley, 64,  and originally from Chester, said: “It’s been something different and really nice. I have enjoyed it very much. I liked the spider a lot.”

Mark Horner, 39, a long-term Pendine Park resident and originally from Northwich, said: “Brilliant! I loved it. It’s great to do something different. I like snakes and to be able to hold one was amazing. I hope they come back again.”

Bernadette Oloughlin, 50, and originally from Chester, said: “I loved the little hedgehog. I liked the snakes but I didn’t like them too close. The lizards were nice and felt different to what I thought they’d be like.”

Pen y Bryn resident Sian Walley, 41, and from Wrexham, said: “I never thought I ever hold a snake in my hands. It was amazing. I watched lots of other people holding them and thought if they can do it so can I. I’m glad I did now.

“Activities such as this are brilliant because it’s something different. I really hope they come back and see us again.”

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