Albino hedgehog and gigantic python visit Hartlepool park

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: An albino hedgehog pays a visit to Summerhill in Hartlepool with handler Jay Gunn from Jays animal Encounters Picture: DAVID WOOD
ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: An albino hedgehog pays a visit to Summerhill in Hartlepool with handler Jay Gunn from Jays animal Encounters Picture: DAVID WOOD
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Children and adults went wild when they got up close to a host of exotic animals.

Jay’s Animal Encounters proved a big hit with wildlife lovers of all ages on a visit to Summerhill Country Park in Hartlepool.

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: Amelia Connelly (9), Tamzin Liddle (11) and Darcy  Liddle (9) meet Max the Reticulated Python with handler Jay Gunn during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: Amelia Connelly (9), Tamzin Liddle (11) and Darcy Liddle (9) meet Max the Reticulated Python with handler Jay Gunn during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

They got to meet and hold Max – a large reticulated python normally found thousands of miles away in South East Asia, which can grow to more than 20ft in length.

Handler Jay Gunn also introduced them to a cute albino hedgehog.

And a meerkat – made famous by a certain series of TV adverts – drew plenty of attention.

Summerhill support officer Jan Austin said: “It was a marvellous event.

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: 9 year old Darcy Liddle meets an albino hedgehog with handler Jay Gunn during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: 9 year old Darcy Liddle meets an albino hedgehog with handler Jay Gunn during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

“We were really busy and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

“We had lots of positive feedback.

“Some of the adults said they enjoyed it as much as if not more than the children.”

The activity was one of a series being held at Summerhill throughout the school summer holidays to open children and families’ eyes to wildlife and the fun that can be had outdoors.

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS:Amelia Connelly (9), Tamzin Liddle (11) and Darcy  Liddle (9) meet a Meerkat during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS:Amelia Connelly (9), Tamzin Liddle (11) and Darcy Liddle (9) meet a Meerkat during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

Arts and crafts sessions, forest adventures and story led picnics have proved hugely popular, attracting more visitors than last summer.

Jan added: “It has just been a tremendous summer for us.

“People have been booking early and coming for events then coming straight back for more, so we are thrilled.”

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: Megan Skeet (12), Casey-Jo O'Donovan (8) and Rhys Aveyard (9) meet Max the Reticulated Python during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS: Megan Skeet (12), Casey-Jo O'Donovan (8) and Rhys Aveyard (9) meet Max the Reticulated Python during the event at Summerhill in Hartlepool Picture: DAVID WOOD