Residents enjoyed a visit from Pringle and Charlie, two adorable penguins
Fairfield residents love having visits from animals but never before have we had some penguins come to say hello! Penguins Pringle and Charlie waddled around Fairfield bringing delight to residents who were entertained by their curiosity and cute movements.
17 year old Pringle and 11 year old Charlie are Humbolt penguins who are who are part of a breeding colony of penguins at Heythrop Zoo, a private zoo near Chipping Norton. They were bred in captivity and introduced to people when they were chicks so they are very used to being around humans. They have both been specially trained to work as therapy animals, happily enjoying being stoked and patted as well as sitting on laps and being cuddled.
Debbie Hayes, Fairfield manager said, “We are used to having visits from PAT dogs, miniature horses and reptiles but this visit from the penguins was a first. Both Pringle and Charlie were very sociable and obviously enjoyed enjoy human interaction as much as our residents enjoyed their company. We hope to have them back again soon!”
Keen to find out more about the life of a penguin, residents asked questions. Their keepers explained that the penguins are fed sprats, which they eat head first. They breed twice a year, laying 2 eggs each time, and the chicks have to be DNA tested to establish if they are male or female.
Animal therapy is enriching for older people who may have had pets themselves whilst living in their own homes, although certainly no one would have had a penguin! It may trigger a memory from the distant past and always gets people talking about memories that may well have been forgotten as well as putting a smile on their faces.
Pringle and Charlie obviously enjoyed their visit and were even happy to pose for photos!