The Old Theatre was alive with the sounds of the desert and murmurs of excitement as we welcomed some extraordinary guests to the school on Friday 1 March.

Steve from the Dinosaur, Wildlife and Education Centre (DWAEC) introduced the boys to snakes, a monitor lizard, a hedgehog, a banded mongoose, a skunk, a tarantula, a mocking bird and even a Harris hawk during their interactive session on desert animals.

The boys discovered a whole range of fun and interesting facts, such as:
– snakes are agoraphobic (scared of open spaces)
– skunks do not smell (but you will if you scare them and they spray you!)
– hedgehogs look cute but will probably have fleas and other parasites
– tarantulas are not scary and their webs are ten times stronger than steel.

Every single boy got to either hold, stroke or feed one or more of the animals, although some took more than one pair of hands or some very thick gloves! Seeing the impressive Harris hawk flying around the Old Theatre and landing on the boys’ and teachers’ outstretched arms was genuinely inspiring.

The session helped the boys to understand more about the animals and their behaviour, and, most importantly, changed many of the boys’ preconceptions. By the end of the afternoon, the ‘scary’ animals were no longer scary but fascinating and awe-inspiring instead.

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