Hartpury College

The latest news and views from Hartpury

Animal and Land 10Jul 2015

Another slippery customer joins Hartpury’s growing menagerie!

Another slippery customer joins Hartpury’s growing menagerie!

Hartpury’s animal collection now boasts yet another species with a fearsome reputation as a trio of boa constrictors have joined the new piranha and Siamese fighting fish.

At only three months old, the three slithering sisters are currently only little critters at around 50 centimetres in length but they will each grow to around eight foot long eventually. By the time they reach around a year old, they will be a good size for the students to get accustomed to handling them at around four foot long.

Colin Stevenson, Hartpury’s animal collection manager, said: “Boas give birth to live young – called ‘livebearers’ – rather than laying eggs and these little guys had about 20 brothers and sisters, so taking them all would have been a tall order!

“One of the reasons for getting them in is to educate the students around the myths surrounding this species. They have a reputation thanks to Hollywood that needs to be straightened out!

“While they do grow to around seven or eight feet, they do not get big enough to eat people or crush them to death! They do wrap around their prey to constrict them but it’s only really anacondas that could crush people!

“It’s important that they are handled regularly though in order to socialise them. They have around 100 teeth that are like needles curved backwards but they are not at all venomous.

“One student can comfortably handle a fully grown snake and when they come back in September, they will be involved in all aspects of their care. We’ll also be supporting them to confirm the sex of the snakes as we’re not entirely sure!”

The boa constrictors are currently being kept away from other snakes in a separate temperature controlled tank. As their tongues are really sensitive to smells, it is important their senses are not overloaded by proximity to other animals and reptiles.

Colin added: “They are growing really well and are such a beautiful species. We’ve started them out on pinkie mice and they will move on to bigger rodents as they get larger.

“It’s fantastic for our students to get opportunities to handle exotic species like this. If they are hoping to go into the pet trade, become veterinary nurses or to work in wildlife parks and zoos, they are likely to come across boa constrictors so it is important for them to gain experience in caring for them and handling them.”

27 Oct 2016 Animal and Land

Limelight lands on Hartpury’s lambs

Lambs were in the limelight when Katie Brian of the Agriculture and Development Board (AHDB) visited Hartpury to talk to some of our agriculture students.

26 Oct 2016 Animal and Land

Happy Halloween from Hartpury! Gloucester Rugby stars get an early fright up close to collection’s critters!

Some of Gloucester Rugby biggest stars and their families headed to Hartpury today to get up close and personal with the College’s cuddly and not so cuddly residents!

18 Oct 2016 Animal and Land

No more tilling – it’s time for direct drilling at Hartpury!

Hartpury Agriculture students had their eyes opened to an alternative approach to sowing the seeds of the future.

17 Oct 2016 Animal and Land

Brexit and beyond –student farmers consider the future of agriculture outside the EU

Hartpury’s student farmers of the future weighed in on the debate and discussions surrounding agriculture in post-Brexit Britain during a talk with local experts.