Creepy crawlies come to Tarland care home

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If you’d gone down to Tarland’s Balhousie Group Alastrean Care Home last week you’d have been sure of a big surprise.

There were snakes, spiders and snails galore when Zoo Lab UK brought nature indoors for residents of the home, which specialises in care for residents with alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions.

This was the first time residents had taken part in one of the interactive sessions, which gives audiences the chance to hold and touch a variety of exotic animals.

First out of its box was a giant African land snail. Slimy though it was, residents were not shy about having a hold of the massive mollusc. The demonstrator explained that this was just a young snail and that it would grow significantly over the course of its 10-year lifespan.

Cuthbert the cockroach quickly followed suit, proving slightly less popular with residents and staff alike.

Complete with 240 legs, Triss the millipede made the rounds with her hundreds of tiny feet feeling like pinpricks against the skin. It was explained that it is a common misconception that millipedes have 1000 legs, with the maximum number being around 700.

Squeals of terror were heard across the room when the next visitor made an appearance. With eight eyes and eight legs, the tarantula remained in its box while residents took a look.

Coloured to camouflage himself in the corn fields of America, an elderly 19-year-old cornsnake was passed around, with most people keen to touch its smooth scales.

A lively American tree frog tried desperately to escape from its cage as the crowd took turns to admire its intricate patterns.

A scorpion, two baby rats and a well-disguised stick insect finished off the interactive hour.

Everyone was interested to learn that rats have bald tails in order to keep themselves cool.