Exotic animals wow Barkingside schoolchildren

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 February 2016

Paradise Park visited Avanti Court Primary School and gave a talk to the students showing them different types of animals

Paradise Park visited Avanti Court Primary School and gave a talk to the students showing them different types of animals


“Is it a dinosaur? Is it a crocodile?” No it’s Eddie the bearded dragon, and he gave some Barkingside schoolchildren quite the experience last week.

Zookeepers from Paradise Wildlife Park, in Hertforshire, brought in three creatures to Avanti Court Primary School, including Eddie the lizard.

And the Year 3s were slightly nervous when they first met the reptile, who hails all the way from Australia.

Paradise Wildlife Park outreach worker Sarah Pullen told the Recorder: “They were quite terrified and scared at first.

“It’s good that we can offer this to them, for kids that don’t get the chance to go to zoos or see animals it’s nice to give them something they can see and touch.”

Sarah explained the children were unsure exactly what Eddie Lizzard, named after the comedian, was.

“They were all shouting is it a dinosaur? Is it a crocodile?”

Eddie is actually a bearded dragon, named as such because the species flare out the skin under the throat when feeling threatened.

The children were also showed a Tenrec also known as a lesser hedgehog, despite being entirely unrelated to the common British mammal.

The animal, named Hufflepuff, comes from Madagascar, “which the children loved because they had all seen the movie” said Sarah.

She added: “They are really small, even thought they are completely fully grown.

“The children all thought it was a baby hedgehog and were completely amazed that it is from Madagascar.”

Terencs can actually run at 9mph, which is faster than several Redbridge bus routes, and curl up in a ball like hedgehogs when in danger.

The last creature the children met, at the school in Carlton Drive, Barkingside, was Sky the barn owl.

“He didn’t get the chance to fly,” said Sarah, “but he does flap his wings quite a lot which did scare the children a bit.”

She added: “They were completely bowled over by how beautiful he is.”

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