At Mantella we keep a wide variety of animals and each is carefully chosen to demonstrate particular features that allow survival in their natural environment. We only select animals that have been bred in captivity and raised correctly so they display calm, relaxed behaviour around people. We prefer to raise the animals ourselves to be guaranteed they will display the right temperament for use in our education work. A captive bred animal which has been raised correctly is very well adjusted and calm in the talks and displays we provide*.

The welfare of animals in our care is paramount. As such we do not use:

  • animals that have been taken directly from wild populations. Such animals are often very nervous and will rarely adjust well to life in captivity. The majority of animals kept by people nowadays have been bred in captivity for many generations, and so collection from the wild serves little purpose now other than financial gain for importers. Wild caught animals often bring with them parasites and diseases whereas captive bred animals are free of such problems. Conservation of wild animal populations is important to our work at Mantella and so we only use and advocate the keeping of captive bred animals.
  • any rescued, injured or rehabilitated animals. We have over the years occasioanlly been involved with rescuing and rehabilitating both wild and exotic animals. Our belief is that these animals have often suffered enough stress already and are best kept in calm, quiet and secluded conditions where stress is kept to a minimum and they can live the rest of their lives in peace.

*Occasionally an animal in our care can react to unexpected events such as loud noises. In such instances the animal is returned to its safe, secure, dark travelling quarters where it can have some time out.



An integral part of our talks and displays involves hands-on interaction with many of our animals, and during handling sessions we explain the correct handling techniques for each animal.

We also explain which handling methods to avoid - it is amazing how many 'seasoned' animal keepers repeatedly handle their animals in ways which do not safeguard the welfare of themselves or their animals. This does a great disservice to responsible animal keepers.

Certain animals benefit from human interaction in different ways - for example Digger our Burrowing Owl loves to use your head or hand as a lookout perch; Ralph our Spectacled Owl loves to have his head feathers preened; and many reptiles will enjoy the climbing exercise and sit quietly on your arm or hand to absorb heat from your skin. Many animals find us as interesting as we find them!

People also benefit from interacting with animals too - it is well documented that regular interaction with tame and well adjusted animals can alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety. For many people with sensory impairment, the chance to experience how different animals feel is a very special experience - and not everyone prefers the cute and cuddly animals!

We take the health and well-being of our animals and our clients seriously, and as such operate a strict hygiene protocol in accordance with current best practice guidelines and under the expert advice of our veterinarian.