Residents and staff at The Hillings care home in St Neots enjoyed the company of some unusual visitors last week, including a snake and a tarantula.

They were given the opportunity to handle the exotic creatures during a visit to the home, in Grenville Way, from a group calling itself Lion Learners, which organises animal educational experiences and visits for a wide range of organisations, including schools and care homes.

The visit was arranged by the home's activities co-ordinator, Sharon Woodham.

“The activities programme we run at the home is considered a vital part of the overall care services we provide to our residents” explained Sharon.

“The various activities we organise are intended to be therapeutic and fun for our residents, as well as socially, mentally and physically stimulating. This can help towards improving or maintaining a positive state of wellbeing, which is beneficial to all our residents, For some, it was the first time they had been up close and personal with the likes of snakes and tarantulas. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, not only handling and petting the creatures, but in finding out a bit more about them.”

Resident Josie Hall said: “It was lovely to see the animals. I was happy to hold them – even the snake.”