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Chadwell Heath pensioners pet snakes, snails and cockroaches in zoo visit

PUBLISHED: 15:27 14 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:56 15 August 2013

Rita Feazey with the snake

Rita Feazey with the snake

Archant

Pensioners at a care home had some unusual visitors on Tuesday, including a giant land snail and some friendly cockroaches.

Betty Glover with the african snail Betty Glover with the african snail

The array of weird and wonderful creatures was brought to Chadwell House Residential Care Home, in Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, by mobile menagerie ZooLab.

It included species such as giant land snails, Moroccan cockroaches, corn snakes and green tree fogs.

Home manager Chris Gammons said elderly residents were not intimidated by the creepy crawlies.

He added: “They all loved it. They were all holding the cockroaches, snails and snakes. One of the older gentlemen even had the snake around his neck.”

The animals will return to the care home in December and again next year.

Animal-assisted therapy is believed to reduce stress and promote wellbeing, increase social participation and enhance quality of life for the elderly, including those who live with dementia.

Mrs Gammons said even less fluffy creatures can be “very calming and relaxing”.

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