If you missed them, you can read part 1 here, and read part 2 here.
After lunch, we stopped to say, "Hi," to this very wooly sheep:
I forget what Julie said the sheep's breed was. It certainly was rather wooly though, as you can no doubt tell from the above photo.
Then we fed Peppa Pig, who lived in the pen next to the sheep. Here's a photo of Peppa Pig standing in the mud:
Then we stopped to say, "Hi," to some Dwarf Mongoose...
...On our way to go cuddle some animals.
First I cuddled Maize the Corn Snake:
They also had a female Corn Snake named Sweetcorn, who Maize was trying desperately to go pay a visit to. Not that she cared, since she was curled up in her little rock house thing, sleeping soundly, and ignoring Maize's attempts at getting her attention.
After Maize went back in his cage, I cuddled Prince the Royal Python:
While I was holding him, Prince gave me a kiss, so I said, "I can say I've been kissed by a prince now." But Kelly said snake princes don't count. Personally, I think that's unfair, since frog princes count, and if frog princes count, shouldn't snake princes count too?
Anyway, next I cuddled Roland the Rat Snake:
Or, I should say, "tried" to cuddle Roland the Rat Snake, since Roland was living up to his nickname of "Wriggling Roland" by wriggling so much I could hardly hold on to him.
Once all the snakes were safely back in their cages, we washed our hands before heading for the next room of things I could cuddle, since they wouldn't have appreciated our hands smelling of snake. Well, we'd washed our hands a few times throughout the day, but we did it this time even though our hands weren't officially dirty, for the sake of the animals.
Animals like Gary the Fat-Tailed Gerbil, who I'm holding in this photo:
Our boys were Mongolian Gerbils, and much more difficult to handle than Gary (and his brother, Gerry, who didn't get a photo taken of him). They did have Mongolian Gerbils too, but I didn't hold one of them. Apparently Fat-Tailed Gerbils are always easier to handle, since they're a LOT less active. I'll have to bear that in mind for if we ever decide to get gerbils again.
Anyway, after Gary and Gerry were back in their cage, I cuddled something you may think would be unpleasant to cuddle. He really wasn't though. His name was Sonic, and he was a Hedgehog. Here he is:
Cuddling a hedgehog is surprisingly nice. Also, Sonic is only just learning to like being handled, and usually when anyone but the keeper training him tries to hold him, he either will only tolerate resting on their hands for a moment, or curls up in a ball. As you can see from the above photos, that wasn't the case with me. Sonic even forgot to make the huffing noise they make when they don't like something at one point (he usually makes it the whole time he's being held). Julie actually said he could do with someone like me to gently show him that being held and petted isn't scary. As you can imagine, it made me feel good to have such a compliment.
Harry Potter fans will love this one... Because of the noise they make being a huffing noise - which is actually called a "Huffle," or something like that - they named their other hedgehog Hufflepuff.
So... When Sonic was back in his cage, I had a cuddle of Edward the Long-Tailed Chinchilla:
My girls, Mollie and Maizie, are Short-Tailed Chinchillas, so I got to see the difference. Also, Edward being a few years older than my girls, he was that bit calmer, and easier to hold for more than a few seconds. I'm hoping I can have cuddles that long with Mollie and Maizie one day.
Next for a cuddle was Bert the Bearded Dragon:
Followed by Greta the Armadillo:
Now there's something I never thought I'd be cuddling. It was like cuddling a turtle with a slatted - and slightly bristly - shell. Interesting experience.
Speaking of things I never thought I'd get to actually cuddle... Here are a couple of photos of me cuddling Oleg the Meerkat:
Who took a nap in my arms...
Oleg has been hand reared from birth, hence him being so tame. He loves cuddles, and started jumping up and down in his cage squealing to be picked up the moment we entered the room. He was quite upset when he had to go back in his cage. Well, he was until he heard someone bringing his food, at which point I was no longer interesting to him. Still, I enjoyed my cuddle time while it lasted. The whole day was amazing, but I think cuddling Oleg the Meerkat was one of my favourite parts of the day. In fact, I'd say it was my very favourite part. I mean, having the meerkats jumping and climbing over me was awesome, but actually getting to have a proper cuddle with one was so far beyond awesome I'm not even sure what word would fit the experience!
Favourite part or not, the day wasn't over at this point though. But I'll tell you about the rest next time.