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Baby owl to educate Bromley kids
A BABY burrower owl called Dobby is the newest addition to an "animal encounter" company in Penge which helps educate children.
Martin Southcombe, of Tramway Close, said the children love learning about the exotic creatures.
The 55-year-old trained zoo-keeper started Celebrity Reptiles about 12 years ago and includes school visits as well as providing animals for film work.
He said: "As well as learning a lesson, there’s a real wow factor.
"When the kids walk into the classroom very often they have no idea what they are walking into when they come in and see a giant iguana sitting in the teacher’s chair."
Mr Southcombe, 55, said he thought it was important to take animals into schools because he feels there is not enough in the curriculum on them, especially with schools suffering cuts to educational resources.
Tiny Dobby is a welcome addition to the crowd and will be taken to schools in the Bromley area when he is around six weeks old.
Mr Southcombe decided to name the four-week old owl after the Harry Potter character because "burrower owls aren’t the prettiest animals and there was a strong resemblance to the elf".
He said: "Dobby’s friendly towards anyone and very gregarious except at meal time when he wants to peck everything.
"He’s a bit like a toddler, wanting to eat all the time."
The creature, which is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, also has a designer burrow which is a children’s pail measuring 4in in diameter.
Eagle owl, Albus, another of Celebrity Reptile’s charges, needs to be supervised in case he tries to snack on his diminutive friend.
Mr Southcombe manages 46 animals including animals such as insects, skunks and hedgehogs.
He said: "I end up working an eight day week.
"But my family help and everyone mucks in with the mucking out!"