Case Histories: Examples of Delighted Clients

Stories of personal triumphs for clients and customers who have trusted Meet The Beasts enough to have a go. We witness their success once; they continue to live it each day.

Conquering Our Fears: The Key to Success

[Meet The Beasts - Helping you overcome your fears to grow in confidence]Overcoming fears takes time, effort & courage. Rarely are our 'success stories' willing volunteers; quite the opposite.

Typically they have been wracked with fear which, in some cases, has controlled their life for decades. They show us that when we are prepared to try, the results can be spectacular, even bordering on miraculous.

How do we overcome our fears?

The answer is simple, but not easy: 'Have a go!'

When we take that first step our brains actually change their 'go to' or default thoughts as a result. This change affects many other situations. Indeed, we may not meet snakes, lizards or exotic minibeasts like ours in everyday life, but WE ALL face new challenges every day, in all kinds of situations.

It doesn't matter how young or old we are, it is NEVER too soon or too late to challenge fears that have held us back or will hold us back in future. You would be amazed at how a fear in one area of our life affects so many others.

Stuart has written a short article on fear & anxiety which is easy-to-understand.

The following case histories & stories are from people of all ages who were prepared to face their fears &, even though it felt scary or threatening, push through to have a go. The results speak for themselves.

We hope you are encouraged to step out & try by what you read.


See Photographs of our animals at work

"We've had [other company] in several times and they were great. But you were better and seemed more interested in what the children wanted and how they felt. Thank you. Will be in touch again."

Science Teacher: Secondary School, Leicester

Use these links to be encouraged by our case histories:

Children & Young People

CASE 1: An 8-Year-Old Girl Petrified of Snakes

Whilst visiting a school in North London & were told (at the close of the day) about an 8-year-old girl in one of the classes who had been 'dreading' our visit. Two days before we arrived it was mentioned that 'snakes' would be coming to the school. Since that time, she had experienced fainting, shortness of breath & palpitations through anxiety!

We had noticed a few children through the day who had started off quite terrified, but slowly warmed to our creepy crawlies & reptiles until they eventually tried to touch or hold some of them.

You can imagine our surprise when we learnt that this particular girl, after stroking a gecko, had gradually worked-up the courage to handle Wesley, our little Western Hognose Snake, after which there was no stopping her! After holding Geoff, our gentle but large Boa constrictor, she did not want to give him back to us.

Afterwards, she told her teacher that she was interested in 'asking her mum for a snake as a pet'. This would have been interesting to witness as her mother was far more scared of snakes than her daughter had been!

Teachers had taken photographs to show her mum as they knew she would not believe her (or them) otherwise!

"I NEVER thought I could touch a snake, let alone hold it. Thank you for your patience. You don't realise how much of an achievement for me this is!"

Teacher in Staff Room; Bush Hill Primary School, Enfield, London

CASE 2:  An 8-Year-Old Boy Petrified of Most Things!

We attended a birthday party at which one boy was adamant that he was afraid of everything we had & was 'NOT going to touch or hold anything!'

For almost an hour we showed the the children & some parents our lizards, snakes, millipedes & tarantulas. Many got stuck-in straight away, touching, stroking or holding the various animals, but our little friend retreated more with every animal.

Our final animal was Geoff, our Boa Constrictor & to our amazement the boy said, "I'll hold it!" & immediately did, eventually holding Geoff without help from us.

"Wow! What a day. There have been some miracles today as the least likely children have run up & told me they've handled a snake. Great service with real sensitivity. We loved the way you worked at each individual child's pace. Thank you so much."

Teacher; Gateway Primary School, Westminster, London

CASE 3:  A 14-Year-Old-Girl Petrified of Snakes

One of the secondary schools with which we have enjoyed a long relationship, asked us to support their biology topic.

Just as we started to take one class, a girl entered the laboratory, apologised, saw the tanks on the front desk, screamed & ran to the back of the room. As I continued, I noticed that one of the lab coats hanging on the back wall had grown a pair of legs (the late-comer)

During the next 20 minutes, as we were taking some of our animals around for touching or holding, we noticed that the lab coat no longer had legs. Instead, the girl was now sitting with her friends, though still at the back of the class. After just two more animals she was ready to hold a snake; Wesley, our little Western Hognose Snake.

After that she could not get enough handling experience, even taking one of our snakes to her friends at the back so that they could have a 'special look at it'. By the time we reached our boas, she was handling them like a professional!

As she left the room, she said, "Thanks so much! I really enjoyed that! I could never look at a snake, let alone handle one. I'm going to ask mum & dad if we can have a pet snake!"

"The students were left 'buzzing' and thoroughly enjoyed your sessions. Your enthusiasm and patience made the sessions even more enjoyable. Your range of reptiles made it very different to other sessions that are available and we appreciated the extras you did. We will be working with you again."

Science Teacher: Secondary School, Leicester

CASE 4:  A 13-Year-Old Girl With Serious Phobias

Whilst contributing to a science class at a local secondary school, we noticed that one girl stood up & left the lab in tears as we lifted our smallest snake out of his tank.

Whilst we were taking our animals around the class, she gradually returned from watching from outside through the glass door, to sitting at the edge of the laboratory. As we were showing one of our larger boas, this same girl asked, "Please can I have a go at touching him?"

After a few tentative strokes she visibly relaxed & ended the session holding Geoff on her own. From the first touch, to holding the snake, took less than 5 minutes.

"We've had other groups doing similar things with our students before, but none of them engaged them like you did. Thank you and we'll definitely be in touch again in future!"

Teacher: Abington High School, Leicester

CASE 5:  A 5-Year-Old Boy With a Serious Fear of Snakes

Whilst working with a primary class, we noticed a little boy retreat to sit with one of the teachers. He was clearly afraid of our animals as we'd only shown a couple of small lizards!

By the time we were taking a large, female tarantula around for the children to look at, he asked whether he could touch her. After a few 'ins & outs' with his hand he eventually gently stroked the tarantula on her abdomen. Also highly rewarding for us was that when the tarantula started to walk, the boy showed no fear or signs of jumping.

"You may not have realised it but we had 3 or 4 pupils with quite severe special needs in the group. I was amazed! They were still talking about your visit today and one girl took part who has never responded before. We had another group in earlier this week doing the same thing but the children were distracted and fidgety within 15 minutes. THANK YOU. I will be recommending Meet The Beasts to other teacher friends."

Year 1 Teacher: Shelton Infants School, Derby


CASE 1:  An Older Lady Petrified of Snakes

During one Loughborough Canal Festival I took Geoff, our boa, with me so that people could meet him.

Walking past a canalside a pub, some people sat at a table called us across to have a look at Geoff. As they were getting acquainted with him, a lady, probably in her early 60s, stopped dead, about 20 feet away, with a drink in each hand & turned pale. She was clearly petrified, confessing to having a 'white knuckle fear' of snakes since she was 6-years-old.  She had no idea why.

Over the next 10 minutes, we continued to discuss our snakes & the lady gradually came closer & said, "I'd really like to overcome my fear of snakes but I don't know whether I can!"

She eventually faced her fears, took the risk & touched Geoff. After that, she moved to stroking him, eventually holding him on her own. After that, we were engaged in conversation about keeping snakes as pets.

"I was amazed how quickly you put me at ease & led me through the whole thing. I have always been afraid of spiders & snakes from watching films when I was younger but you have shown me another side that I did not think existed. Thank you for educating me & enabling me to get over my fears today."

Delegate, Business Education Event, London

CASE 2:  A Mother With a Serious Phobia of Spiders

When running reptile & minibeast encounters for a discovery centre in Luton during the Summer holidays, we were approached by a young mother who had 'always had a serious phobia of spiders' but who wanted to overcome it.

At that time, we used Samba, our very placid & tolerant Honduran Curly Hair Tarantula. Slowly, over 5 or 10 minutes, we allowed the lady to pluck up enough courage to stroke the tarantula on her abdomen.

The look of triumph on the lady's face & the words, "Please can you take a photo for me; I would never have believed I could do this. Thank you!" said it all.

"I was the last lady to leave you on Halloween at Loughborough Great Central Railway Station. Sorry, it was the last train & I had to go! Just wanted to say thank you properly for a wonderful experience – it completely made my night. I have kept your details in case I ever need something similar for work."

EH; Visitor to Great Central Railway's Halloween 'FrightNight' Event

CASES 3 & 4:  It's Never Too Late!

We have been fortunate to support a reptile product manufacturer with educating the public about keeping 'exotic' animals as pets. As you can imagine, the thought of, 'Let's go to the Range to see snakes & minibeasts!' is not a prominent thought for many when thinking about Saturday morning shopping. We enjoy many challenging encounters.

Whilst in the Hull store, an older lady & (presumably) her daughter appeared at the end of various shopping aisles, intrigued by what we were doing, but never coming close.

I had forgotten about her when suddenly she was stood about ten feet away, visibly shaking. Geoff cast his spell & eventually she reached out, touched him & then held him. The lady & her daughter were both in tears. Her story was amazing:

The second story followed a very similar pattern. An older lady & her son were visiting a store in Canterbury, Kent. She took ages to pluck-up the courage to come close enough to look at Geoff properly. When he moved, she squealed. Eventually, she was able to stroke him went away with a big smile on her face. About an hour later the lady & her son reappeared at The Range. They had almost reached home, some 28 miles away, when she said to her son, 'I should have held him!' They turned around, came back & she handled Geoff. Her story was similar to the lady in Hull:

"Thank you for your patience, understanding & kindness today. I felt so silly at first. I had not expected to meet your animals on a trip for furniture. I was shocked to see you with the big snake in your arms. I am so glad that I plucked-up enough courage to talk with you about my fear of spiders. Stroking Rosy was a highlight in my life. You don't realise what a difference you have made. Thank you again."

Visitor to The Range, Bristol, UK

CASE 5:  A Lady With a Serious Phobia of Snakes

In October 2013 we attended a business event in Leicester. During the pre-exhibition meeting for exhibitors, we were asked to introduce ourselves to our exhibitor colleagues & give our aims for attending the exhibition.

I had a little surprise for them in the shape of Geoff our (then) young Boa constrictor. Matt (my son) & myself stood up, introduced ourselves & then introduced Geoff. A lady sat two tables away from us went pale, stood up & moved to the back of the room very quickly!

Whilst we stood talking at the conclusion of the meeting, the lady in question approached us from various angles, watching Geoff's interactions with her friends & colleagues. She then asked if she could touch Geoff which, after some time & effort, she managed to do. Over the next 5 or 10 minutes the lady came back several times to touch & stroke him.

On the day of the exhibition, she appeared again to stroke him, eventually holding him. She spent the rest of the day publicising our stand for us (without being asked!) by telling her story to fellow exhibitors & delegates. She's still not very keen on snakes, but she loves Geoff!

"Today you made it possible for me to do something I never thought I could: hold a snake. Thank you SO much. It means so much to me. My family will never believe me, but I am glad you took some photos just-in-case."

Shopper, The Range, Falkirk, Scotland

CASE 6:  A Man With a Fear of Snakes

One of our more challenging events was when we were invited to Cardiff to help a man overcome his fear of snakes.

We were greeted by our client & a bunch of supporters (including his parents) who were there to help (& to have a go themselves). For about an hour-and-a-half we introduced him to a number of our snakes, starting with our smallest ) & working up to our larger boas.

Not only was the man himself confidently holding the snakes by the end of the session, but so were all the other people in the house, including his mother who had been in the grip of a 50-year phobia of snakes.

"You have made such a difference to our Moshi Monsters Day at the GCR today. People all over are talking about you & your animals. Every time I came in you were helping someone. You are on our list of 'must haves' for future events we run (if you'd like to come that is!)"

HS; Events Organiser; Great Central Railway, Loughborough

CASE 7:  A Lady With a 48-Year Phobia of Spiders

Whilst working at the Great Central Railway in Loughborough in 2022, a lady & her husband entered the room early in the day, before the event had officially started. There was nobody else with us at the time, so it didn't take her long to notice Geoff & the rest of our animals.

"You don't have any spiders do you?"

Wrong question really, so when we explained that we had a wide range of animals, including a beautiful tarantula, she was off!

Over the next 15 minutes or so, the lady gradually came in & we discussed her fears, from a distance. Eventually & after many 'what ifs' she touched Rosie our large Mexican Red Leg tarantula. After some squirming, sweating & a few tears, she went for a second stroke, then a third & then a fourth.

The smile on her face told a story & she said, "I have been phobic of spiders for 48 years. I have just stroked yours & I cannot understand why I haven't done it sooner!" The answer is that she was held back by her fears. But not any more.

"Well, if a lady can overcome 48 years of phobia, I'd better have a go!

[afterwards] ... Wow! I didn't expect that! I never thought I'd be able to touch or go near a spider. It was worth the wait & the sweating. I am so proud of myself!"

Visitor, Animal Event, Great Central Railway, Loughborough

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Meet The Beasts: Contact Information

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Dr Stuart Wood
c/o Meet the Beasts
31 Burder Street
LE11 1JH

Telephone: + 44 1509 553362
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