Reptile-loving residents snapped up the chance to pet three scaly visitors when they visited a retirement village.

And no fingers were lost...

Residents at Richmond Village in Witney were treated to a visit from Brize Norton's Crocodiles of the World, the UK’s only crocodile zoo.

Care residents and staff met Tony, a two-year old Tomistoma crocodile, a fully grown Royal python and a Bearded dragon called Boris.

Joanna Cambrey, head of activities at Richmond Villages Witney, said: “I was slightly concerned that residents may be anxious or not want to get near a crocodile – but I was proved wrong.

"Staff and residents were totally engrossed in the very informative talk and all of them were up for touching and stroking the lizard and snake.

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"The highlight of the afternoon was Tony the crocodile. Residents said they never thought they would be so near a crocodile - let alone touching one! – and we managed to keep all fingers intact.”

The village's residents have previously been visited by some rather cuddlier farmyard animals as well as parrots. 

Oxford Mail:

Last year, Ms Cambrey arranged a visit from two Humboldt penguins from Heythrop Zoological Gardens which inspired her to use the cold-blooded creatures to create some warm memories.

She said: “Animal therapy is so important for our residents and having visited Crocodiles of the World I thought that having some reptiles come to the Village would be another great experience for them."

Colin Stevenson, head of education at Crocodiles of the World, said it was "an absolute pleasure" to introduce the residents to the reptiles.

He said: “These outreach visits are a great opportunity to dispel some myths about reptiles, especially crocodiles and snakes, and to help inspire and inform people about these incredible animals and the conservation challenges they face.

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"Everyone seemed to enjoy it and hopefully it helped to overcome some phobias too. I certainly enjoyed the cake!”     

Crocodiles of the World is home to over 100 crocodiles, as well as other reptiles and mammals from around the world.

It looks after 19 of the 24 crocodile species, including critically endangered ones, and is dedicated to conservation, contributing to numerous conservation projects.

Founder Shaun Foggett first kept reptiles when he was 17, selling his family home to fund the opening of the first centre in Crawley Mill back in 2011.

He moved to bigger premises at the former Foxbury Farm site in February 2014.



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