Nathan Stott and best friend Dylan Connor travelled from Kirkby in Lancashire to help DZG keepers care for some of the world’s most endangered animals when he took part in a Little Zoo Keeper experience.
The day was particularly special for Nathan, who has his own mini zoo at home, with a bearded dragon, four chinchillas, five fish, a dog and an African grey parrot!
Nathan’s mum, Sharon, who organised the experience for his birthday, said: “Nathan has dyslexia and finds school a challenge, but he doesn’t give in and tries really hard.
“His connection through life is with animals. He has always had a love for them from when he was very young and he would rather spend all his time understanding them and looking after them, so when I saw Dudley Zoo offered a zoo keeper experience for under 12s, I knew it would be the best birthday present ever.”
She added: “They both really enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again.”
During their day the boys got up close to the farm animals, fed Humboldt penguins, met meerkats and tickled Brazilian tapirs.
Sharon added: “I can’t thank the keepers enough for their help, support and patience.
“It’s every mother’s delight to watch her child really enjoy a special birthday treat, and Nathan did just that.
“All the way home the boys spoke about the experience and how they would love to do it again, especially with snakes, spiders and insects.”