RESIDENTS at a care home in Oxfordshire were paid a visit by some particularly cheeky guests.

Two squirrel monkeys - Anontio and Tia - took a day out from their home at Heythrop Zoological Gardens to visit Churchfields Care Home in Cassington.

Studies have shown that caring for an animal has proven health benefits.

With this in mind, residents were able to pick up, cuddle and feed worms to the very lively monkeys.

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Stephanie Eley, manager at Churchfields Care Home, said: "Residents and staff alike were enthralled by the monkeys, who were using the home as their playground.

"They were so friendly, and we know how beneficial animal therapy can be for older people, especially for those living with dementia."

Residents at the care home regularly enjoy visits from animals, including 'pat dogs' and star penguins.

Muriel, a resident at Churchfields, said: "I was eager to ask the keepers about the age and names of the monkeys, and also what they ate. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn."

Oxford Mail: One of the squirrel monkeys with a resident at Churchfields Care HomeOne of the squirrel monkeys with a resident at Churchfields Care Home

Another resident, Eve, added: "I couldn’t believe how agile they were, and I loved seeing them jumping about."

Jim Clubb, from Heythrop Zoological Gardens, said: "Our common squirrel monkeys are regular visitors to care homes.

"We have been told by both specialist therapists and the staff at these homes that residents benefit immensely from the visits.

"Likewise, we have seen nothing but positive results with our squirrel monkeys.

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"They are naturally intelligent and social animals that live in their large multi-generation captive-bred breeding colony back at our zoo.

"Visits to these homes provides a natural extension and variation in their enrichment programmes."

Churchfields Care Home offers residential, nursing and dementia care.