Chessie Sheppardson writes about her experience with the creatures at Animals In-Tuition while on work experience at The Scarborough News.
I was first given the Tiger Salamander, Frankie, to hold.
I stood nervously as he squirmed in my hands, his tiny claws gripping tightly onto my fingers.
Beautifully coloured with yellow and brown stripes, he was fascinating to watch, with his wide ‘googley’ eyes on either side of his head observing the room around him.
I then held the African Millipede, who was aptly named Mr Tickle. His tiny legs took him on a mission to clamber over my hands, which I had to keep moving to keep him from falling to the floor!
When lifted away from my hands, he clung like velcro, and left tingles where his legs had been.
Then came the two fancy rats, Buzz Lightyear and Slinky.
I was probably the most apprehensive to hold these two, with their sharp claws and hard, ropey tails. However they sat very comfortably and still against me - bar the one escape attempt from Slinky - and were actually very soft and warm to hold.
Finally, my favourite, Professor Prickles, the friendly hedgehog.
He was nimble on his feet and anxious to run around, but his little pink snout and wide eyes made him the sweetest of all the animals I experienced in my visit, right up until the moment he pooped on my hand!
I very much enjoyed meeting all the animals, however I did keep checking over my shoulder to make sure the tarantula (which I declined to hold) hadn’t accompanied me home!