Tropical fright night

Staff at the Tropical Butterfly House at North Anston prepare to spend the night among bugs and snakes to raise money for Comic Relief
Staff at the Tropical Butterfly House at North Anston prepare to spend the night among bugs and snakes to raise money for Comic Relief
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THINGS that go bump in the night... There’ll be plenty of those when a team from the Tropical Butterfly House lock themselves in at the South Yorkshire attraction tonight!

Bats flying around their heads, crocs nibbling at their toes and scorpions in their sleeping bags are just a few of the things the team will have to contend with at their Comic Relief sleepover.

“I’m not going to sleep a wink,” admitted Heather Scott, who has been an animal presenter at the Butterfly House for three years and is one of seven employees who will brave the dark habitat tonight for charity. “We’re taking in things like a deck of cards and laptops to keep us entertained, but I’m expecting just to sit up shining a torch nervously around my feet all night long.

“Personally, I’m a bird keeper and I hate creep-crawlies. I can’t believe we’re going to be surrounded by tarantulas, snakes and lizards all night – we must be mad!”

And the team are also likely to be spending the night dodging flying ammo.

“Tropical birds poo when they’re threatened and fruit bats pee,” she revealed.

The team is hoping their scary sleepover will raise £1,000 for Comic Relief, the last in a series of stunts the Butterfly House is taking on today for Red Nose Day.

“At 1.30pm we have a team member dressing up as a meerkat and spending an hour trying to ‘make friends’ in the meerkat house,” said Heather.

“And at 2pm, another team member – a very brave man – will be donning a leopard print loin cloth and venturing into the crocodile enclosure for an hour.

“Luckily, he’s kept crocs his whole life and can read their body language better than anybody, so we’re not anticipating him losing a foot.”

And despite their reservations, Heather admitted her pyjama party pals are quite looking forward to barricading themselves in at 7pm.

“Yes, it will be dark and humid and riddled with goodness knows what, but as animal keepers, we’re all really curious to see for ourselves, up close and personal, what actually happens in the Butterfly House after dark, when everyone else has locked up and gone home for the night.

“I predict we will be ready to leave in a hurry when they finally unchain the doors at 6am,” she added.

n See tomorrow’s Star for more Comic Relief photos and Class Act on Tuesday for a Red Nose special.