Tuesday 10th June 2008 by C. Freeman
Student, Iona Smith learned how to handle and care for a variety of species on an animal husbandry course, which counts towards her bronze Duke of Edinburgh's award. Iona completed the 12-week study at Moulton College where tutor Louise Swann showed how to care for a variety of animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, ferrets, lizards, aquatic creatures and even wallabies and llamas.
Iona, from Year 9 said: 'My favourites were the lizards. I handled chameleons, berber skinks and bearded and collared lizards. Before I went on the course I thought lizards were vicious but they're quite harmless and can't actually bite as they only have a hard palate at the top of their mouths.' Iona was the youngest on the course which was attended by girls from across the county . She said: 'We all got along really well. We had workbooks which had different activities in them and had assessments all the way through. At the end we got a qualification in animal care.'
Iona already has a beagle, Alfie, but would love to own a reptile when she's older. She said: 'Ideally I would like a berber skink but they're quite difficult to get hold of whereas bearded lizards are more popular. You can form an attachment with them because they show gratitude for their food and if you handle them a lot and look after them well then they will form a bond with you. On the course there was a female bearded lizard which I fed and she used to sit happily on my shoulder.' Iona is planning to eventually become an animal psychologist. She said: 'I've got a theory that if I understand human psychology first then I think it'll be easier to understand animals as well!'