Reptile-loving nursing home resident, 85, seizes the chance to hold a crocodile

An 85-year-old reptile-lover had her ‘one-time wish’ granted after her retirement home welcomed three scaly visitors.

Pauline Wooliams, who lives at Care UK’s Millers Grange in Witney, Oxfordshire, learned how to pet and feed a three-year-old tomistoma crocodile after telling the house team she wanted to see one from near.

The mother-of-four is no stranger to taking photos with reptiles, having taken in pets including water snakes, turtles, terrapins and lizards while raising her children.

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

Pauline Wooliams was also able to hold a python (Care UK)

Also joined by a bearded dragon and a 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 of my children’s youth, because they had reptiles.

Pauline, resident of a nursing home, holding a bearded dragonPauline Wooliams said her children kept reptiles when they grew up (Care UK)

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

Mark Young, client relations manager at Millers Grange, said: ‘We don’t accept that life in a care home has to be any one particular way – we make sure there is no limitation to the activities that residents pursue.

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

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