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Reptile-loving care home resident, 85, snaps up chance to hold crocodile

Care home resident Pauline holding a crocodile
Care home resident Pauline holding a crocodile

A reptile-loving 85-year-old has had her “unique wish” answered after her care home welcomed three scaly visitors.

Pauline Wooliams, who lives at Care UK’s Millers Grange in Witney, Oxfordshire, got to grips with stroking and feeding a three-year-old tomistoma crocodile after telling the home’s team she wanted to see one up close.

The mother-of-four is no stranger to snapping pictures with reptiles, having played host to pets including water snakes, tortoises, terrapins, and lizards while raising her children.

After visiting Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton with her grandchildren five years ago, the memory stuck and she was keen to see the animals up close again.

Care home resident Pauline holding a python
Pauline Wooliams also got to hold a python (Care UK)

Also joined by a bearded dragon and reticulated python, the visit was part of Care UK’s Wishing Tree initiative, which encourages residents to reconnect with past hobbies or explore something new.

“I enjoyed the day very much,” Ms Wooliams said. “It brought back many memories from when my children were younger, as they had reptiles.

Care home resident Pauline holding a bearded dragon
Pauline Wooliams said her children kept reptiles when they were growing up (Care UK)

“I was excited to hold the crocodile as they look vicious, but are really tame and friendly.”

Mark Young, customer relations manager at Millers Grange, said: “We don’t accept that life at a care home has to be a particular way – we ensure there are no limitations to activities residents pursue.

“We were delighted to make such a unique wish come true for Pauline, as she has always talked about reptiles with a passion.

“It was a fantastic day that we will all remember for a long time.”