A CURIOUS collection of animals, from rabbits and horses, to bats and raccoon dogs at Lackham allow students first-hand experience of animal care, and on Sunday (June 10) it opened its animal centre to the public.

400 members of the public came out in the sunshine to Wiltshire College for its annual Animal Care, Countryside and Gardens Open Day.

Families were able to get up close to and personal to meerkats, marmosets, lemurs, bearded dragons, rabbits, snakes, tortoises and spiders for those who were brave enough.

Youngsters got hands on experience as they could hold rabbits and birds of prey.

There was also a chance to meet Lackham’s newest residents, two prairie dogs, as well an opportunity to see the raccoon dogs enjoying their brand new enclosure.

Venetia Summers, head of animal care and equine, said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere which was only enhanced by the wonderful hot sunshine.

“This is a great opportunity to open up the Animal Centre and gardens to the public to showcase the excellent work that our students do throughout the academic year, as well as promote the exciting careers that are available within the animal and land-based sectors.

“This event has something for everyone with stands and topics including bat conservation, falconry and biological science, which underpins the varied curriculum at Lackham.”

Visitors were able to bring their pets to take part in the annual dog show, sponsored by Leekes and included categories such as waggiest tail and agility rounds.

There were also several demonstrations including hedge laying, gun dogs and chainsaw sculpting.

Horticulture students were proud to show their individual plots in the Walled Garden, where visitors could enjoy a cream team run by Foundation Studies students.