Reptiles Etc

Education - Action - Introductions

Welcome!

Welcome to Reptiles Etc, home of trained animals for education, action and introductions including corporate event, film, photography, phobia coaching, childrens parties, fetes and more, handled and presented by experienced, studio and classroom savvy qualified professional zoo keepers and animal trainers with teaching qualifications!

 

We pride ourselves on our friendly, professional service, offer rates and packages tailored to your budget and requirements and work hard to provide the highest quality experience throughout every step of your journey from inquiry, through booking, to the event itself, regardless of the services you require.

Operating with the highest standards of animal welfare at all times, we are fully licensed, insured and certified for what we do, and are even available for consultation to other animal professionals and organisations regarding husbandry, enclosure design, training and welfare.

We care deeply about the environment, operate as sustainably as possible and are committed to inspiring a sense of wonder and responsibility for the natural world and support several conservation organisations both locally and globally.

Please browse to find out more, or drop us an email via the contact page to make a booking, get a quote or to  discuss an idea or project… we’ll be delighted to hear from you!

Grace Dickinson - MD Reptiles Etc

AAL #19/00027/PERANI

 

Filming

Reptiles Etc’s director, Grace Dickinson, has worked for and alongside one of Europe’s most highly esteemed providers of trained wild animals for media since 2002 and continued to work freelance in this industry from 2013 as an animal wrangler, stunt double/extra and animal coordinator specialising in reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and rodentsas well as supporting other reputable names in the industry.

We are highly experienced in the field of media/film/photography and accustomed to working in both studio settings and on locations with animals and able to help even the most fearful of models or actors feel comfortable and confident working alongside reptiles and invertebrates. Click here to see an example of some of our snakes in action in a music video.

If you subcontract with us we operate with the highest levels of project confidentiality and discretion and are committed to representing your company fully during contracted periods.

At Reptiles Etc we keep and breed many of our exotic animals all of which are tame, trained, licensed and used to people and working in studio settings, and fully insured. Get in touch for our current stock list, to discuss ideas or for assistance sourcing specific species for your filming needs.

"The snakes were charming and wonderful"

                                                                                                                Niel Dudgeon - Midsomer Murders

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Photography

Did you know that by law, any animal used for any type of commercial activity (including performance, photoshoots, filming, events and education) must be covered by a performing animals licence, animal transport certification and insurance?

The S&L team have many years’ experience working in film and photography studios both in front of and behind the camera and are equipped to provide skilled and professional service for all your shooting needs.

If you are a corporate or independent photographer or photography club…

We are available for editorial and boudoir shoots as well as macro and fashion photography workshops. Reptiles, amphibians and bugs can be hired to work with your own props or models, fully supported, and can also be photographed with their own handlers in a variety of themed costumes if desired.

At Reptiles Etc we keep and breed many of our exotic animals all of which are tame, trained, licensed and used to people and working in studio settings, and fully insured. Get in touch to discuss your needs, for a stocklist, or assistance sourcing animals to meet your specific shooting needs.

The advantage of using this service is fully trained, tame and insured animals for your own comfort and safety, and all the joy of working with animals without the costs, administration and hassle of acquiring your own animals, or those from potentially less reputable sources. Furthermore, if you or your models are anxious about working with the animals themselves, then additional coaching sessions can be added on as a “bolt on” service for your confidence and peace of mind.

Photography

Did you know that in accordance with The Welfare of Animals Regulation 2018,  by law from April 2019 any animal used for any type of commercial activity (including performance, photoshoots, filming, events, parties and education) must be covered by an Animal Activieties Licence (AAL), animal transport certification and insurance. 

The Reptiles Etc team have many years’ experience working in film and photography studios both in front of and behind the camera and are equipped to provide skilled and professional service for all your shooting needs.

If you are a photographer or photography club…

We are available for editorial shoots as well as macro and fashion photography workshops, snakes, reptiles, amphibians and all manner of bugs and creepy crawlies can be hired to work with your own props, sets and models, fully supported, or with their own handlers, with a wide choice of costume themes.

We keep and breed many of our exotic animals all of which are tame, trained, licensed and used to people and working in studio settings.

The advantage of using this service is fully trained, tame and insured animals for your own comfort and safety, and all the joy of working with animals without the costs, administration and hassle of acquiring your own animals, or those from potentially less reputable sources. Furthermore, if you or your models are anxious about working with the animals themselves, then additional coaching sessions can be added on as a “bolt on” service for your confidence and peace of mind.

"I had a wonderful photoshoot with Grace and her team and experienced excellent communication in the planning of the shoot as well as during and after. The animals are in wonderful condition and In particular I was impressed to see her working closely with my assistant I had on the day who was frightened of snakes, but through Grace's relaxed and professional manner, he became far more relaxed being within such close proximity. Highly recommended!"

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Education

SCHOOLS & GROUPS

Interacting with animals is a great way for students of all ages (5 years and above) and abilities to learn and engage with their subjects, from creative subjects such as art and drama, to geography  and sciences. Learners can explore animal textures, appearances, movement, ecology and environments, lifecycles and food chains, evolution and adaptations... even careers.

Reptiles Etc are available for fully interactive curriculum-linked classroom workshops, assemblies, learning sessions and after school clubs with a variety of weird and wonderful creatures, all fully licensed, insured and accustomed to school environments, accompanied if you wish by slide shows, handleable artefacts and fun animal themed learning games and activities tailored to the age, abilities and needs of your group. (Extra games and activities subject to the length/timings of workshops and level of learners- book from 1 hour to 2 hour sessions per class/group).

 

Sessions are lead by classroom-savvy animal presenters accredited with the C&G Award in Education and Training, DBS certified and experienced in the field of animal presenting and education both in zoos and classrooms from reception to university level standards.

"Fantastic talks and demos with all age groups. We have worked with Grace for many years now and love having her come to all the different events we do and always get rave reviews. Highly reccommended."

Ashley Kenlock, Inspired Life/Canoe Trail

FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION

As well as interactive talks and encounter sessions and assemblies in schools, our experienced presenters are qualified to deliver informative curriculum linked lectures, discussions and workshops up to university level in a broad array of subjects. Grace Dickinson (MD) has worked professionally in the zoo keeping industry since 2002 with a broad spectrum of taxa, specialising in animal training, birds, herpetology and education and displays.

Our most commonly requested talk and workshop subjects are animal training (domestic and exotic- for animal management and displays purposes in zoos and collections), herpetology (captive management, handling and restraint and health and disease and veterinary). We have guest lectured on reptile training and with “training trainers” workshops at BIAZA conferences, at public pet care seminars held within animal care colleges and also herpetology modules for veterinary degree students at Cambridge University.

"Reptiles Etc came and delivered a talk about animal work experience to the students at our college. The session was incredibly engaging and a highlight to our students year. They also had the opportunity to meet an 11ft python which was amazing!"

Damien Gearing- South Essex College 

YOUTH GROUPS

Animals have a fantastic way of reaching out and capturing the imagination and attention of all ages and abilities, but have proven particularly effective  when put to use in groups of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with behavioural and learning difficulties and SEN groups.

Scout, guides and activity groups are also a great place to use animals, encouraging a sense of kinship and responsibility for the natural world and can even help young people work towards various achievement awards such as pet care, naturalists and conservation badges.

CONSULTATION

We have expertise and experience to deliver top quality professional consultation for your requirements within a zoological collections environment, private pet keeping, and education, presentations and displays. From constructing talks, to selecting and training animals, to delivery and trouble-shooting, we can provide expert coaching for groups or individuals, from novice to well-practiced,  fully supported, to build new skills or develop and improve existing skill sets.

Also available to consult regarding advice and trouble-shooting with animal management and training in zoos and collections for example re-training problem behaviours to make daily routine husbandry and management safer and stress free for both animals and keepers.

Are you a business or prospective private keeper interested in installing an attractive reptile or invertebrate exhibit for display purposes? Let us guide you from species selection, right through to sourcing animals and setting up equipment- we even offer an on-going maintenance service! Get in touch to discuss your ideas or for help getting inspired.

 
 
 

Events & Parties

STATIC DISPLAYS

The perfect attraction, a static animal display is a great way to add theming, attract visitors and create memorable talking point for your special event! Static displays are typically comprised of a selection of bugs, reptiles and amphibians, including a large snake, displayed in attractive naturalistic enclosures, with an experienced, charismatic handler on hand to present the animals to guests and assist with “hands-on” opportunities. Zoo style enclosure signage and scheduled talks can be incorporated if desired. Book a half or full day (or evening) and choose a themed costume for your animal handler if you wish.

Static displays have a fantastic education value for guests of all ages as well as being entertaining and fun; it provides the opportunity to learn something new about these fascinating and often misunderstood creatures and develop a sense of kinship with the natural world.

Animal encounters as a static display work really well as a complimentary attraction at pet shows and events, conservation fundraisers and school and university events. Great at weddings, corporate events, birthdays, schools, museums, fetes, children’s festivals… We are particularly popular at Halloween with our "creepy crawly" displays which are the perfect spooky attraction at any event or venue!

 

"the handler was very knowledgeable and the animals were very friendly, it was great to be in such close proximity with them!"                                                                                                                                                                                 Luciana Boon

WALK ABOUT

For larger and themed events, walkabout animal encounters are a great way to maximise visitor outreach and impact! Choose a themed costume for your handler (jungle explorer, tribal, pirates, belly dancer, circus, etc) and they will mix and mingle with your guests with a large snake or bugs. A fantastic way to immerse guests in your party or event, interactive animal experiences create fabulous photo opportunities and an unforgettable experience for everyone. All the animals are tame, trained and accustomed to handling and party/outreach settings. The animals are fully licensed and insured for purpose. Hand washing facilities must be available at all events for guests to use, and for bookings of more than 1 hour, access to an electricity output is requested.

CHILDRENS PARTIES

Do you have animal-mad kids? Animal parties are a fantastic way of engaging children through entertainment and helping develop a sense of kinship and responsibility for nature and the world around us. We can visit your home or location and work inside, or outdoors (weather permitting).

Captivate and enthral your party guests by booking a focused, fully interactive and educational “Creepy Crawly Party” which is a one hour show-and-tell session where guests can touch and hold the animals! Includes a variety of different species of creepy crawlies and reptiles including a giant snake for really “WOW!” photo opportunities!

Your animal presenter will have a DBS certificate for your peace of mind, as well as teaching and entertaining experience to help your party run smoothly and be super engaging, safe, educational and of course fun for everyone!

If you are having a large party and would like something more informal, we can arrange a static “mobile zoo” display of animals for people to visit and have their own animal encounters in their own time throughout the day, or you can book a costumed walkabout character with bugs or a giant snake to engage, mix and mingle with your guests for interactive meet and greet.

 

PARTIES FOR GROWN UPS

To add atmosphere and thrill to your special event, why not have a costumed handler with a large snake for interactive mix and mingle with your guests? Especially effective at large parties and events and guaranteed to make a spectacular talking point and add theming to any event. Click here to be directed to our sister company for more information regarding mix and mingle and performance for evening events.

"We have been working with Grace for more than six years now, [during which time] she has enchanted our guests with a menagerie of fascinating beasts including insects, hissing cockroaches, giant land snails, bunnies and of course, snakes.Whilst interacting with our guests with one of her beautiful snakes she even managed to cure someones deep seated phobia. Grace is a true professional, kind, friendly, extremely knowledgeable and most importantly, always puts her animals first."

                                                                                                       

  Catherine Breen,

The Neon Moon Burlesque and Cabaret Club

 

Phobia Coaching

Fears and phobias typically stem from your “inner caveman” trying to protect you, but in many cases, these natural instincts are reinforced by particular experiences, usually early in childhood, that can cause ongoing distress for sufferers’ subjected to certain stimuli, such as live snakes or spiders , or even images of these animals. Your inner caveman can be re-trained through carefully managed introductions, using basic psychology and “flooding” techniques. The only condition in overcoming any phobia is that the subject must be willing and determined to banish their fears.

Reptiles Etc’s phobia specialist carries a degree in animal behaviour, teaching qualifications, and a 100% success rate and has been featured in numerous publications, represented BIAZA zoos and even been on TV banishing phobias!

All animals used for phobia sessions are fully trained, experienced, of mild temperament, licensed and fully insured for purpose.

We can cater for a variety of animal phobias, including arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), anuraphobia (fear of toads and frogs) and also rat phobias.

If you are a model or photographer with anxieties, we can provide “bolt on” phobia coaching sessions prior to your shoot to ensure everyone is comfortable working with the animals.

 If you are simply fed up with being afraid and want to stop feeling limited or held back by your phobias, book a private consultation for carefully managed introductions with our specialist phobia coach to feel in control again get your freedom back.

If you are a corporate events organiser looking for something exciting or different to include as a team building activity, this could be right up your street!

 

PRIVATE PHOBIA COACHING SESSIONS

Learn how to feel in control again by booking a private consultation to learn how to overcome your snake, spider, frog or rat phobia with carefully managed introductions headed by our experienced phobia specialist, who can either visit you in your home, or you can come to our base for your session. If you prefer additional moral support, make a group booking! Sessions typically last 60-90 minutes and usually only one session is required, but follow up sessions of 30 minutes can be booked at a discounted rate if required.

We offer several levels of phobia coaching experience for arachnophobes. In addition for follow up discount sessions, serious arachnophobes can book a “Level  Two” experience during which they can learn to confidently work with, and handle, domestic house spiders- a very useful skill to have in the home!

 

CORPORATE PHOBIA WORKSHOPS

“Face your fears” presentations and workshops are a unique and unforgettable experience for corporate team building events and functions, featuring giant snakes, tarantulas, and bugs.

Let our phobia coach introduce and explain phobias and how to face them with a live stage demonstration and be amazed by the results!

Follow up with chances for guests to meet and greet the “scary” animals after the demonstration.

"After the most amazing coaching from Grace, we all faced our fears and had the experience of getting to know Fajita [the spider] one to one. She is the most beautiful creature and even though I was scared just having her in my hands, knowing how delicate she is and that I had to look after her made me feel responsible and stronger. I can tick that off the list now!"

                                                                                      Tania Keitzman

 

Conservation & Fundraising

Reptiles Etc care deeply about the natural world and its conservation. We believe that education is key to protecting our natural world and its inhabitants, as we face ever growing challenges such as climate change and habitat loss around the globe.  A major aspect of successful conservation is improving public awareness and this can be achieved not only through real animal experiences, but also via fund raising events, and the encouraging everyone to make small changes in their daily lifestyles that can have a big impact of the world around them and ultimately, live more responsibly.

Over the years, Reptiles Etc’s director has actively supported a number of charities and fundraising organisations by volunteering or partaking in fundraising events including skydiving, walking on hot coals, rafting down the Amazon river in Peru, swimming with alligators, working with The Atlantic Whale Foundation in Tenerife, and supporting conservation causes that include The World Land Trust, 21st Century Tiger, ZSL, The Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity, Crocodiles of the World, The National Reptile Zoo, Save The Frogs and Amphibian Ark. We have also contributed original artwork used as educative interpretations for the Savu Island Python breeding programme hosted by Reaseheath College, and artwork for an education outreach project working to protect sungazer lizards in South Africa. Locally, we support The Essex Wildlife Trust by volunteering regularly with habitat management work in our local nature reserves and wild places and encourage others to do the same to help conserve native species.

As our animals make the perfect ambassadors to engage people young and old alike with environmental and conservation topics, Reptiles Etc pledge to donate a percentage from every booking to Save The Frogs, America’s only amphibian conservation charity, to support the field work, research and campaigning they undertake all around the world for such a valuable and over-looked group of animals.

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Welfare

Animal welfare is core in everything we do at Reptiles etc and the well-being of our animals will not be compromised at any time.

All of our animals are ethically sourced, where possible  being either home bred or from rescue or rehoming backgrounds. Animals are carefully assessed on an individual basis to make sure their personalities, previous experiences and health make them suitable for any work they undertake and no animal is forced to do anything it does not want to do, or partake in any activity that causes it stress or discomfort. Where possible, more than one animal will be employed for more demanding assignments in order to allow more rest breaks if required.

Each animal undergoes rigorous training to accustom it to handling, travelling, meet and greet scenarios and studio and location environments, thereby minimising stress when working on assignments. Any animals not deemed suitable to particular situations are not assigned to these types of work.

Animals are always transported and displayed in suitable, secure facilities and when not in use, their permanent housing is comprised of professional quality set ups providing for all of their individual environmental and dietry requirements, in compliance with RSPCA and BIAZA standards and guidelines. The director has also worked as an active member of BIAZA Reptile and Amphibian Working Group that functions to set and regulate the highest standards of husbandry and welfare in zoos.

All Reptiles Etc handlers are fully trained, experienced animal professionals with relevant qualifications and therefor able to monitor and respond to animals physical and psychological states at all times- before, during and after any engagement.

Handlers reserve the right to remove an animal from display or work, allow and initiate time outs and rest breaks, or if necessary, terminate a contract at any time on the grounds of an animals’ safety or well-being being brought into question. Situations that may compromise an animals’ well-being are avoided.

Reptiles Etc take animal welfare extremely seriously. If you have any questions or queries regarding animal welfare, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CONTACT

Please send us a message using the form below indicating the nature of your inquiry and we'll get right back to you. If your prefer to talk, include your phone number and we'll give you a call! 

 
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