Reptile-loving residents seize the chance to meet Tony the Crocodile

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

And not a finger was lost…

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

Residents and staff at Care met Tony, a two-year-old Tomistoma crocodile, an adult ball python and a bearded dragon named Boris.

Joanna Cambrey, activities manager at Richmond Villages Witney, said: ‘I was slightly concerned that residents were anxious or didn’t want to go near a crocodile – but I’ve been proven wrong.

“Staff and residents were totally engrossed in the very informative conversation and all were ready to touch and pet the lizard and snake.

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“The highlight of the afternoon was Tony the Crocodile. Residents said they never thought they would get this close to a crocodile – let alone touch one! – and we pulled it off. to keep all the fingers intact.”

The inhabitants of the village have already been visited by rather cuddly barnyard animals as well as parrots.

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

She said, “Pet therapy is so important to our residents and after visiting Crocodiles of the World, I thought 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 residents to the reptiles.

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

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“Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I hope it helped overcome some phobias as well. 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.

He cares for 19 of the 24 crocodile species, including those critically endangered, and is dedicated to conservation, contributing to numerous conservation projects.

Founder Shaun Foggett first kept reptiles aged 17, selling his family home to fund the opening of the first center at Crawley Mill in 2011.

It moved to larger premises at the former Foxbury Farm site in February 2014.

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