A giant snail, ‘Tarzan and Jane’ cockroaches and a tarantula at Chilton Primary School

Zoolab at Chilton primary

What tiny creature has more teeth than a crocodile and which one is a Rainforest superhero?

These fascinating facts and many more kept four and five year old children at Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate absorbed as they explored the world of tiny creatures.

They were introduced to a cast of characters by Zoo Lab educational team ‘ranger’ Tyler as they investigated growth as part of a topic that looks at both animals and plants.

Joining the Reception year group pupils were Shrek the giant African land snail with its 10,000 ‘teeth’ which are raised areas on its tongue that lick and scrape up food; Fluffy, a curly-haired tarantula spider; cockroaches Tarzan and Jane; Cuddles, a scorpion from Laos; Hocus the American corn snake; and Millie the millipede that devours all the bad leaves from the Rainforest floor.

Girls and boys had the chance to touch and hold some of the creatures, although they investigated the scorpion and spider from the safety of their containers as they were too dangerous for children to handle.

The snake was very popular all the pupils, with Jessica adding: “I loved the snake, I have never held one before and it was so smooth to touch.” Oscar spoke for the class when he said: “It was awesome seeing all these creatures.”

Assistant Head of School Hannah Cheshire said the experience was “valuable for our young children as it brings to life what we are teaching and gives them a real insight into learning.”

She added: “The children learnt some fascinating facts that they will use as part of their ongoing topic work about growth. “

Ranger Tyler, who cares for her creatures at home where they are part of her life, said: “We try and tailor our learning sessions to dovetail in with whatever the children are learning about at the moment. They looked at a range of species and we chatted about their habitat and how they develop as they grow. They get very involved with seeing our creatures and they ask a great range of questions.”

Zoo Lab say: “We explain the concepts of science in ways that children can readily see and touch. Zoo Lab is about fun and imagination – we take the children on a voyage of discovery.  In everything we do, animals are at the centre of things. “