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Drusilla’s experience

Possibly the best day out ever!

Excuse my enthusiasm, but if you are an animal lover then you will be with me on this. A day out at Drusillas Park has always been one of my favourite things, so being Zoo Keeper for the day was terrific.

This was a gift from before coronavirus, put off once, but finally fulfilled last month.

And what a gift it was!

The joy of being able to go where the public usually can’t go was immense. And to be the one to whom all the little faces turned, as I was carrying the food bowl, was brilliant.

Highlights of the day included tossing fish to the penguins and seeing them zooming about the pond with such agility.

Quietly handing slices of corn on the cob up to a pair of sloths who reached down with huge dignity for these treats, and being able to appreciate their unusual paw adaptations.

Getting up close and personal with a family of beavers, and being able to stroke them, and hand them their dinner.

Appreciating the coatis, and learning more about their mischievous behaviour.

Falling in love with an armadillo as we watched her barrelling about, and heard about her demolition skills. So small and yet so destructive!

Being the target of a playful lemur, who wanted to be first at the food bowl. Three times he leapt onto my shoulder, despite the rules. On the first occasion he nearly gave me a heart attack, coming from behind. But I soon discovered I was not at risk of a bite or other harm, and relaxed into enjoying his wickedness.

But, most of all, having a small group of three meerkats jumping on and off my lap as they competed for the food I was providing. Yes, I know it was cupboard love, but what a precious, wonderful time that was!

Every second was awesome, including washing the windows, raking the sand and poop picking.

If you have an animal-mad friend, then this is the gift that will raise you to hero status.

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