A GIANT African land snail was one of several unusual creatures seen crawling on the hands of children in Southwick last week.
The giant snail, called Speedy, Terry the 15cm-long giant millipede and Saturn the corn snake were taken along to Glebe Primary School, in Church Lane, by ZooLab last week, for a live animal-handling workshop.
Year-four children at the school have been learning about the rainforest this term and the workshop gave them the chance to see some of the creatures that can be found in the various layers of the forest.
Teacher Pauline Davies said: “The giant millipede, along with the giant African snail and giant cockroach, plus the very hairy tarantula, would all be happy racing around the bottom layer, known as the forest floor.
“Whereas the tree snake and the fire-belly toads definitely prefer life above ground in the under-storey and canopy layers of the rainforest.”
The children said it was interesting to hold the creatures and find out how they felt to touch.
Pupil Katie Allen said: “I really enjoyed holding all the animals, even the giant cockroach, as they actually feel quite different to how you expect them to feel.
“My favourite was the tree snake as he was so soft and silky to stroke.”
Fellow pupil Luke Starling added: “That was awesome. I couldn’t believe just how slimy the snail was or how sticky the cockroach’s feet were. It could even hang upside down on your hand. Wicked!”
Mrs Davies said it had been a great experience for the children, who had spent the previous week doing research on the creatures.
They were asked to write an explanation page on the creatures for literacy, so had been looking at photographs in books and finding out information about them.
Seeing the animals in the flesh just a few days later had been ‘brilliant’.
Andy Baker, who also teaches in year four, added: “I just love it when ZooLab comes in as the children are just so in awe when they see the creatures for real.
“Watching their faces light up as each new animal is brought out is just about the best thing.”
ZooLab said the Rainforest Adventure workshop was full of drama and storytelling, bringing the ‘wonderful’ habitat alive with tales of visiting the rainforest.