Ask the Teachers
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers to our most commonly asked questions are below.
If you can't find the answer you need here, get in touch with us.
Phone 07429 867013
Please note, the best time to call is after 6pm. We are in encounters during the day so it can be difficult to catch us on the phone in normal office hours. Afterall, our office could be anywhere from a wedding to a nursing home on any given day!
INsurance, Licensing, Risk Assessments
Are you insured?
We are covered by Employer, Public & Products Liability insurance to the value of £5,000,000. A copy of our insurance documents will be sent to you with your other booking confirmation paperwork.
Are you licensed?
To operate a mobile animal encounters business we must have two licenses.
- The first is a 'Performing Animals License'. This is secured through our local council, following an inspection by one of their animal welfare officers. They check the animals, how we care for them, their enclosures, our risk assessments, health and safety documentation, any special licenses we need to have particular species, information on how we run our encounters, how we train our animals, how we transport the animals, to name but a few areas the license covers.
- The second license is an Animal Transport license. This is also checked during the Performing Animals License inspection. This document is issued through the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs and covers the correct transportation of animals.
Do you have risk assessments?
Yes, we have risk assessments to cover every animal that comes along to encounters. These can be provided for your records. We also provide you with a health and safety document that covers everything we will do to ensure high standards of health and safety are met before, during and after our visit to you.
Can the animals bite/scratch?
As with any animal with teeth and/or claws there is potential for biting or scratching to occur. We take every precaution to ensure that this risk is minimal.
- Before an animal is included on our encounters team, we ensure that it is habituated to human contact first. Many of the animals are hand reared by us, and all are handled by us daily, so are quite used to being around humans by the time they come along to their first encounter. It takes time before an animal is ready for an encounter, and when we feel they are ready, we eventually introduce them to small audiences first, earning their stripes step by step until they are a fully fledged encounter team member.
- All staff are experienced with the animals and will give instructions during the encounter to ensure the audience is interacting correctly with the animal.
- We know our animals, we interact with them daily and if one does not seem in full spirits we do not bring it out to an encounter. We also monitor all the animals during each encounter, ensuring that they are their usual happy self throughout.
- All the animals come to encounters on a rota basis, and we keep our audience size limited to 30 handlers per encounter to ensure that an animal is never over handled.
What about allergies and phobias?
It is the responsibility of the person in charge of the group to let us know of any animal related allergies or severe phobias. We will ask about allergies and phobias before we start the encounter. If you are aware of an allergy or phobia, let us know in advance and we can avoid bringing the animal concerned, or we can take steps to ensure the person is not exposed to the animal during the encounter. We will email you an allergy/phobia document which can be sent to parents/guardians to sign off so that you can be made aware of anything that we should know about. In the case of phobias, it is not our aim to cure anyone of an animal phobia, but we can introduce them to the animal in a responsible, safe and educational way.
What about germs?
All of our animal enclosures are cleaned daily to minimise the build up of disease causing germs. Animals receive appropriate vaccinations, flea and worm treatments. Encounter participants are given clear instructions on safe hygiene practice before, during and after the encounter. We provide hand sanitising gel during the encounter and give instructions to the person/s in charge to ensure all hands are washed thoroughly with warm, soapy water once handling is finished. We remind adults to ensure that children do not put hands near their face or into their mouth during handling. We do not allow eating during the encounter.
What kind of encounter will you provide?
Every encounter is different given the variety of different audiences we visit, a birthday party for a 7 year old is very different to an encounter at a nursing home for example. All our encounters are presented indoors. We will discuss the best encounter for you during the booking process.
Can I request a particular animal for my encounter?
We will go through the content of your encounter during the booking process and will recommend the best encounter for you. Our encounters include a mix of 'exotic' (e.g. snakes) and 'domestic' (e.g. rabbits) animals. If you request a particular animal, while we aim to bring it, we cannot guarantee it in the line up on the day, e.g if our boa constrictor is about to moult he cannot be handled, but we will bring another snake in his place. Likewise if you do not want a particular animal to feature in the line up, we can replace it with another.
Can I hold all of the animals?
We make each encounter as hands on as possible, ensuring that this is in a way that we feel does not impact on the animals' welfare. We will make the level of handling that will be possible for your encounter clear when you book so that you know what to expect on the day.
Booking, deposit, Payment, cancellations
How far do you travel?
For a one hour encounter we travel a maximum of 1 hour from H.Q. in Bournemouth. If you are interested in several encounters for your event we will travel a greater distance. Please get in touch to discuss.
How much notice do I need to give you to book a visit?
The sooner the better, especially if you have a particular date in mind. We take bookings over a year in advance so, to avoid missing out on your date, it's best to get in touch as soon as possible.
What is your group size limit?
For a handling encounter where everyone gets to touch the animals, the maximum size is 30. We work hard to ensure we deliver the best encounter possible, and we want you to get the most out of our visit. This is why we have a limit of 30. We do offer encounter options for larger group sizes, but these encounters focus more on our trained animals demonstrations, with some audience participation and limited animal handling. We can discuss this more fully with you during the booking process.
Can I make a provisional booking?
We are happy to hold a time slot for you for 24hrs at no extra cost. If we do not hear back from you within 24 hours, we will not be able to contact you to check if you still want the date and it will be free for others to book.
How do I secure a date?
This will be discussed during the booking process, but to summarise:
- For private events such as a birthday party you will be required to pay a deposit of £50 to secure a time slot, within 7 days. The balance will be due in advance of our visit, at a later date.
- For full day bookings a percentage of the total fee will be required within 7 days, with the balance due in advance of our visit to you, at a later date.
- For companies, your date is secure from the point of booking confirmation.
What booking confirmation will I receive from you?
You will be told at the point of booking when to expect your booking confirmation email.
- For birthdays and other private events you will receive your booking confirmation email with your invoice, invitation, health and safety, terms and conditions once you have confirmed your booking and sent us all requested details.
- For nursing homes, schools etc you will receive your invoice, poster, health and safety, terms and conditions approximately one month in advance of our visit, unless required sooner.
What if I need to cancel my booking?
Cancellation terms will be displayed at the bottom of your invoice. To summarise:
- For private events such as a birthday party, you will get a full refund of payment received, as long as you give us 4 weeks notice prior to the booking date. For 1 to 4 weeks notice you will get a partial refund of all but £50 of the fee. If you give us less that 1 week of notice you will not receive a refund.
- Similarly, for full day bookings, a full refund will be given upon receiving 4 weeks notice prior to the appearance, the percentage of the total used to secure the booking will be deducted if we receive 1-4 four weeks notice. You will not receive a refund if you give us less than 1 week of notice.
- For groups such as schools and nursing homes you will be charged £50 if you cancel with less than 5 days notice. If we arrive at your venue and you cancel the booking you will be charged the full fee for our visit to you.
What if The Creature Teachers cancel the appearance?
We do our utmost to ensure that we do not have to cancel an encounter, but in the event that we must, despite our best efforts, we will give you as much notice as possible, and offer you the next available date at a discounted price. If an alternative date is not convenient for you, you will receive a full refund.
How do I pay?
You will receive an invoice via email which has a breakdown of the price, payment deadline and our bank details. We do not take payment over the phone.
Jobs and volunteering
Please send your C.V. by email if you are interested in working with the team. We do not take on volunteers but your details will be kept should a paid position become available. We work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, staff start time is usually 8am, and the day may not end until 9pm depending on bookings. Part of the working day involves working outside cleaning enclosures, regardless of the weather, so please bear this in mind when applying for a position.