Children offered rare chance to get close up to a dragon

WEIRD and wonderful creatures including a bearded dragon and hissing cockroaches are at the centre of a new business which aims to teach children about exotic animals.

Dean Roots, 49, of Gringley on the Hill, near Doncaster, set up Meetacreature after looking for a change from his job as a project manager with a company which built business parks.

He now spends his time organising hands-on animal demonstrations for schools and children's parties, giving youngsters the chance to meet rare creatures like a leopard tortoise and hear stories about how they live in the wild.

Mr Roots, a father-of-three, said: "Although I have always enjoyed keeping pets I came up with the idea for this business after my son Oliver got a bearded dragon for his 10th birthday a couple of years ago.

"The dragon got used to being handled from an early age and I noticed how many of Oliver's friends were fascinated by it.

"I was looking for a new career direction and I decided sharing the enjoyment of animals and insects from other parts of the world with children would be enormously satisfying.

"Not only does it give them a new experience, but it also helps them to understand the need to treat animals with care and the importance of protecting natural habitats."