Brazilian tapirs proved a real surprise for Sussex man, Andrew Lawson, when he became a DZG keeper for the day.
Andrew, from Hastings, travelled three-and-a-half hours to take part in the experience, where he met lemurs, chimps, tigers, giraffes and birds of prey.
Andrew, aged 53, is originally from Birmingham and used to visit DZG as a boy and was so impressed by the ongoing developments following a recent visit in October, that his partner, Michael, treated him to the experience for Christmas.
He said: “It was really nice coming back. I remembered lots of things, but there’s been a lot of great changes over the years.
“I had a fantastic day and loved meeting all the keepers and different animals, although it was the tapirs I fell in love with. They are the kind of animal that I normally would just give a quick glance and then pass straight on, but I couldn’t believe how friendly they were and just like pet dogs, who just roll over and let you tickle their belly.
“Michael came with me and followed me round, taking lots of photographs and ended up having as much fun as I did, so we’re thinking of booking up a joint keeper day and doing it again together.
“It was well worth the long drive and I’ve been telling everyone I know all about it.”
For more information about our Be a Zoo Keeper experiences click here.