The Science department welcomed a selection of Year 6 students from some of our feeder Primary schools into the Academy today for a transition event. The students spent an hour each engrossed by a number of exotic animals brought by Jay Gunn from his zoo. Jay, who used to work at Edinburgh zoo, had the students enthralled by his wide knowledge about the animals they got the chance to handle.

They first met Alice, Darwin and Sydney the Bearded Dragons from Australia. Jay taught them how they are excellent climbers and are able to use their tails to keep balanced when on branches high up in the trees, or on students heads!

Belinda the Blue Tongued Skink was a very friendly lizard that liked giving the students a kiss on the nose.The students were able to explain to Jay what advantage Belinda has for having a blue tongue when warning of possible predators.

Chloe the tarantula and Jays collection of scorpions were rather polarising in their appeal, however, the students were no less engrossed in learning about them. They were especially interested to learn about all the common misconceptions people have about spiders in particular. They stay well away from your mouth while you sleep so don’t worry!

Two of the more surprising animals Jay brought along were the poisonous Prince the Giant African Bullfrog and venomous Esmeralda the Marine Toad. The students were shocked by the sheer size of these animals but enjoyed feeding Esmeralda some worms.

The stars of the show were undoubtedly Snowball the Pigmy Albino Hedgehog, Merlin the 10 month old Meerkat, and Big Boy the 13kg Black Blood Python. Snowball was very shy to begin with and was curled up tight in a ball but with some gentle coaxing she was able to be stroked by the students and have a little run around on the floor. Merlin was a born performer, always on the look out for what was going on and enjoying the students giving him a little stroke and tickle. He also enjoyed exploring any holes he could find, especially students ears! Finally Big Boy, while not everyone’s cup of tea, had the students cuing up to hold him.

All the students left the sessions having learnt all about these fascinating animals and the buzz amongst them was electric. We look forward to welcoming them all to Lord Lawson in September. Let’s just hope none of the animals are still running around the school!

Mr Carruthers