MEERKATS, lizards, wallabies, snakes, tortoises and prairie dogs are just some of the species that students at Hartpury can get hands on with as part of their animal studies.
There are more than 30 different species living on the 360-hectare campus ranging from the exotic to the domestic.
For students dreaming of a career with animals, it presents the perfect environment to learn the ins and outs of the different breeds while getting vital practical experience of handling them.
Hartpury offers a wide range of Animal Management Diplomas as well as degrees in Animal Science, Bioveterinary Science, Veterinary Nursing and Animal Behaviour and Welfare, which also offers postgraduate study options.
And the career paths open to students are as diverse as the college’s animal collection.
Jordan Little, 18, from Gloucester, who is studying the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management, wants to become a vet.
He said: “I have been interested in animals since I was little and I really enjoy the course. It’s great to be able to handle all the animals we learn about in the classroom.”
Hannah Wellfair, 16, from Cheltenham, is hoping to open her own dog kennels. She said: “I have lived with dogs all my life. There are obviously a lot of kennels around but none are the kind that I would like to run. I have my own ideas.
“I would definitely recommend this course to others, it’s fascinating.”
Hartpury’s Walled Garden Animal Collection has recently been officially opened where you can find meerkats, prairie dogs and ferrets.
Four aviaries spanning 19 metres of the south wall of the garden and a teaching space will provide new facilities and learning opportunities for students. Five Higher Education students designed and built the interior, providing ample flight and perching space for the nine new species of bird.
The reptile room has also been recently revamped, giving students the chance to increase their interaction with smaller reptiles, including a wide range of snakes, lizards and other invertebrates.
The new purpose-built vivariums are the type they are likely to experience working in the industry. They also give them better access to the animals and improved visibility, while the new equipment is better for the welfare of the reptiles too.
There is a fully stocked aquatics room with a diverse assortment of tropical and coldwater fish, while on-site facilities also include a mock veterinary hospital and canine hydrotherapy unit, as well as a dog grooming parlour.
Lucy Hobbis, 17, from Chipping Sodbury, wants to open her own dog grooming business on completion of her course.
She said: “We get dogs brought in as part of the course from time to time and I really enjoy dealing with them.
“I am hoping to go straight into work when I finish my course, rather than go to university, but we’ll see. I want to get experience first though.”
Nichola Mayo, Subject Leader for Animal Management, said: “We get a diverse range of students on this course. All have a love of animals but they all want to do different careers.
“We offer them the chance to get hands-on with a wide range of animals, along with time in the classroom benefiting from their lecturers’ extensive industry knowledge and experience.”
Find out more at www.hartpury.ac.uk The next open morning at Hartpury is on the morning of April 5, 2014.