The two new faces at Gonville School won't be sitting in class any time soon.

Vinnie and Arlo are alpacas and they join the school's ever-increasing animal population.
Two guinea pigs, four hens (plus an extra one that turned up at the school recently), a blue-tongued lizard, a cat called Techno and a pig called Wilbur all call Gonville School home.

Teacher Laura Baker, who is in charge of caring for Vinnie and Arlo, said Wilbur the pig had been getting "a bit lonely", so the idea came up for the school to get a pair of alpacas. The board of trustees gave their approval.

Vinnie and Arlo came from a farm in Stratford. Vinnie, the biggest and oldest, is 6 years old; while Arlo is 2 years old.


"Because he was born a twin, he was quite small, and he probably always will be. Vinnie is definitely the boss," Ms Baker said.

Wilbur has welcomed his new mates with enthusiasm - although the alpacas are still getting used to the pig.

Wilbur's enthusiasm is shared by the children, who take it in turns to feed Vinnie and Arlo every day.

Ms Baker said the alpacas were very tame around humans, and reasonably low maintenance to care for.

"They need to be shorn once a year - and the farm where they came from had them shorn before they came to us - and they'll get a vet check once a year too."

The alpacas live in a large enclosure, which they share with the pig and the chickens. It includes flat open space and a wooded area for shade.

Ms Baker said having so many animals around was very popular with the kids.

"It's really good for them to learn how to look after animals," she said.