Dogs, birds of prey and donkeys have become popular visitors to care settings, but residents at a Norfolk care home have just discovered the therapeutic qualities of a far more exotic species – alpacas.

These special visitors - more associated with South America than south Norfolk - were brought to Oaklands Care Home, near Diss, by Tom Boggan owner of Wymondham Alpacas.

His enterprise is based at Centre Paws at Barnards Farm.

Eastern Daily Press: Alpacas in the garden at Oaklands.Alpacas in the garden at Oaklands. (Image: Kingsley Healthcare)

People can book “alpaca experiences”, which include a walk with the animals around the farm, and Mr Boggan has now started care home visits.

He said: “They are fantastic animals that have a natural calming effect. People who go on the walks remark on how relaxing it is.

“Oaklands was only my fifth care home visit because of the months of lockdown, but it is amazing to see the happiness the alpacas bring.

“You see the residents’ faces light up with smiles.”

Becky Kingsland, administrator at the Kingsley Healthcare home in Norwich Road, Scole, said: “The residents absolutely loved it.

“They were all so happy and smiling and talked about it for ages afterwards. The alpacas had such a positive impact.”

Eastern Daily Press: Oaklands Care Home resident Brian Hearn meeting the Wymondham Alpacas.Oaklands Care Home resident Brian Hearn meeting the Wymondham Alpacas. (Image: Kingsley Healthcare)