They say a leopard will never change its spots but a change in scene is proving the perfect tonic for Stanley – the spotty new star of Hartpury’s growing animal collection.
Stanley is Hartpury’s first leopard tortoise and he is loving life with his new friends and proving very popular with the students, not least his rescuer - Hartpury Masters degree student, Elizabeth Cox.
He may only be five years old but Hartpury’s new hardback hero has had a tough start in life, having been caught in a heat mat fire as a baby. That ordeal left Stanley with a deformed shell and unable to withdraw one of his back legs. He also lost his sister in the fire.
Elizabeth said: “Stanley has been living with an older lady for the past year or so but she was worried that she would struggle to care for him over the winter season as she didn’t have the right facilities. He was in a small vivarium, which didn't give him much space and he lacked enrichment.
“I told her about the animal collection at Hartpury and she came to see our tortoise group here. When I offered him a home at the college, she was thrilled that Stanley would be going to a new home where he would be able to make lots of new tortoise friends! He’ll have so much more room to explore and grow at Hartpury.”
Hartpury animal collection instructor, Aleksandra Lipinska, added: “It’s fantastic for the students to have a new species of tortoise in the collection that they can handle and learn more about.
“They have lots of opportunities to get hands on with all of the amphibians and reptiles during their studies, as well as learning about best practice in managing each species, from feeding them and maintaining their enclosures to mating behaviours and enrichment.
“Although Stanley is still a little shy, he is settling well and spends a lot of his time with the other tortoises.”
Hartpury offers a range of BTEC Diplomas in Animal Management, as well as a new BTEC Diploma in Animal Science*, which provides an excellent pathway for students wanting to go on to study veterinary medicine at university. It also offers a wide range of degree and postgraduate qualifications in Animal Science, Management, Behaviour and Welfare and Bioveterinary Science. To find out more about all of the courses on offer, go to www.hartpury.ac.uk