Pets go to school

THEY say never work with animals or children…And it took a brave school in Ipswich to decide to work with both.

THEY say never work with animals or children…

And it took a brave school in Ipswich to decide to work with both.

An unusual mix of animals went along to St Joseph's College, Belstead Road, Ipswich, with their young owners yesterday to take part in the school's annual pet assembly.

The school field was packed full of pupils and their pets ranging from dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, snails and stick insects.

Parents and teachers could only watch as slippery snakes met fluffy hamsters and worried cats came face to face with big slobbery dogs.

Barbie the pony and George the horse showed calm among the excited dogs that all seemed over the moon to meet each other.

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Jasper Young, four, took his 18-month-old royal python, Stalin the snake, to scare his fellow class mates.

His mum, Rebecca Young, said: “He's very proud of his snake and he helps to feed him defrosted mice.”

James and Harry Springthorpe brought in Speedy and Crunchy the hamsters.

Christopher Hicks, ten, brought in his giant African snail babies - all 50 of them.

Doctor Martin Hine, head of primary education at the school, said: “The pet assembly is all about celebrating the children's love and care for animals and bringing their world in to the school.

“We've had a variety of animals here, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and insects.

“This is the second year we've held the assembly and it's an event which the children on the school council wanted so we decided it sounded like a fantastic idea.”

N Do you take your pet somewhere unusual? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

N Keeping pets has been proven by scientists to relieve stress.

N The first genetically modified animal to become available as a pet was the Glofish, a fluorescent zebrafish with bright red, green and orange colour.

N In the USA, it is estimated that 15,000 primates are kept by individuals as pets.

N Many towns and cities throughout the world have local laws governing the number of pets a person may have and certain cities in America have passed laws stating that people who do not “own” them, but are the pets “guardian”.