Heywood Community School was not a good place to sufferfrom herpetophobia. That condition is an excessive fear of snakes and reptiles, and Heywood was crawling with them last week. They came from the Reptile Zoo from Gowran County Kilkenny.
They were in the school as part of Science Week which also involved trips out to science lectures and laboratories and the visit in of the Reptile Zoo. Stars of the show include a massive Burmese Python that crushes its prey and swallows it whole, a snapper turtle that lies in wait in the swamps of Louisiana to snap shut its mouth on any unsuspecting creature that wanders by.
There was also a massive monitor lizard, a turtle and a caiman crocodile. The questions were amazing: how do they eat, how do they kill their food, where do they live and reproduce. They got the opportunity to handle them also realising that snakes are not slimy and being impressed by the weight and speed of the beasts. It introduced them to the idea of conservation and to the variety of life out there and to lots of creatures that they would only see in a zoo but now can see close up. It was a fascinating culmination of Science Week.