Picton Castle and Gardens

December at Picton

The Welsh Owl Garden

Over the year there have been lots of exciting developments over in the Welsh Owl Garden. Visitors are often surprised to see just how many different species of birds and animals we have on the grounds of Picton; we have quite a menagerie! Sadly, due to the pandemic, animal sanctuaries and zoos across the country have been struggling this year. Several have had to close and finding new homes for their animals is often extremely difficult.  Jim Wale, owner of the Welsh Owl Garden, has been busy rescuing different animals from all over the country and bringing them to Picton. Jim and his team have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to looking after different animals and the unique woodland setting at Picton can provide the perfect habitat for lots of different species. It’s not just a garden for owls anymore!

Jim had a phone call this month asking if he could accommodate two very special new additions. Two British otters, named Freddie and River have made the long journey from the Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre in Cornwall to their new home in Pembrokeshire. They are currently living in a quarantine enclosure, as all new animals have to spend 28 days in quarantine before they can be settled into the Welsh Owl Garden. The Staff have been very busy making them the most perfect home, with a large pond and lots of places to hide in so we hope they will be very happy with us. We hope you will be able to visit them in the New Year!

 

Jim and his team do not only rescue from zoos and sanctuaries. Private pet owners have approached the Welsh Owl Garden when they can no longer give the right care to their pets. You might have already met our beautiful Burmese Python Phoebe; she is albino so looks pale yellow in colour. Phoebe has settled in very well to her large, warm enclosure and is eating well, a sign she is comfortable and happy in her new habitat. She is extremely friendly and has changed many people’s minds on snakes! This type of python has become a popular pet but many owners do not realise just how much care and attention an animal like this requires, or quite how large they will grow to! Some people do not realise the costs of having such a pet before they purchase them. The heating costs, vet bills and price of their food (Phoebe’s favourite food is a whole rabbit) add up and careful consideration should always be given when choosing an exotic pet like this. Luckily Phoebe has found the perfect new home here at The Welsh Owl Garden and can be seen every day in her lovely new enclosure.

The Welsh Owl Garden has now built up quite a large collection of mammals. Our rescued South African genet, Neo, has been a firm favourite since his arrival in the Summer, and now Speedy the Skunk has his permanent home here too. You might have been lucky enough to spot our northern tree shrews; they are quite shy though so you might have to quietly watch their habitat for a while before they creep out! They are near our mischievous Polecats. This week we introduced two Agouti Guinea Pigs to their brand new home. Native to the Brazilian Amazon, they’re quite a lot bigger than your normal pet guinea pig, and can reach over 2kg in weight!

New Garden Trails

Unfortunately the Castle had to close for tours on 4th December but luckily we can keep our 45 acre grounds open. The office staff have remained busy and we have created two fun new trails around the grounds. The Winter Welly Walk appeals to younger children and leads them to hidden spots around the grounds. Children are encouraged to fill in the trail leaflet and draw a picture of themselves having fun on the walk. The best pictures will be displayed here at Picton and shared on social media. The Garden Adventurer trail is aimed at children and adults over 10. There are 12 boards located around the grounds displaying fun facts relating to Picton and the trail leaflet has 12 questions to answer.

A New Home for Monty the Bear

Recently the office team at Picton received an unusual request via email. Leanne, from Leeds, visited the castle a few years ago and saw that we sold a miniature cream bear in our gift shop. She wanted to know if we had any in stock. She had bought the same bear for her daughter Mary when she was a baby and named it Monty. Mary was born premature and this tiny bear was bigger than her when she was a new-born.  Leanne wanted to frame this bear with the photograph to show just how tiny Mary had been at birth. Leanne had searched the internet high and low but was unable to find another Monty anywhere. When we read the email in the office and saw the photograph of the baby with the bear we all got goose bumps!  We no longer stock the bear in the gift shop, but sitting on our desk was the very same bear! It had a small tear on its leg so was unsellable and had been sitting in the office for a few years. We emailed Leanne straight back with the good news and the (now mended) bear is in the post on its way to the family. Leanne was happy for us to post this picture of Mary and Monty and tell this happy story. Monty is only 18 centimetres, (7 inches) tall, so Mary was really tiny at birth.

Mary and Monty

 

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