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Close encounters of the furred kind: where to see London’s cutest critters this Easter

Posted at 12:15 pm, April 18, 2014 in Outdoor London

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Apparently taking a quick break at work to look at pictures of cute animals increases our productivity. But that’s nothing compared to the feelgood factor of seeing the real thing. So, step away from the screen, says Katy Dillon – here’s where to find the cutest critters in London this Easter.

London Zoo Tiger Clubs
How cute? Purrfect
Okay, so you can’t actually hold these three newborns, but they are starting to venture into the open after weeks inside their den. One of the cubs has already got a reputation – and a nickname. ‘Trouble’ is a bit podgier than the other two and super-boisterous. Dad Jae Jae and mum Milati are Sumatran tigers so the new arrivals represent important additions to an endangered species. The cubs have stolen the limelight from Thug and Nicky, the zoo’s pygmy hippo couple, whose pad has just been upgraded with new heated pools and landscaped gardens. London Zoo: Camden Town tube. £26, £23.40 concs, £18.50, free under-threes. Daily 10am-6pm

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Pets at Home Super Furries
How cute? Well, you’ll want to check the kids’ pockets before you leave…
Interactive sessions at this pet-store chain teach children to take care of small furry creatures,focusing on the animals’ habitat, health, wellbeing, diet and behaviour. Kids can get crafty to create pet puppets, take part in quizzes and (the best bit) interact with some of the store’s furry residents, including hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs. Look online for your local branch. Find out more at petsathome.com. Free. Daily 2pm. Sat April 19.

N1 Centre Chloe the donkey
How cute? Eh-awhh
Donkeys have a rep for being grumpy, but we’ve got a soft spot for them, and apparently Chloe here is extremely friendly. Shoppers will be able to meet, stroke and feed her along with a whole menagerie of her farmyard friends, including pygmy goats, lambs, pigs, chickens and rabbits. Angel tube. Find out more at n1islington.comFree. 11am-3pm Wed Apr 16 and Thu Apr 17.

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London Wetland Centre Ducklings
How cute? Enough to drive you quackers
At the riverside Wetland Centre in Barnes visitors of all ages can enjoy the sight of downy ducklings waddling after their mother. Kids can discover how these endearing characters develop from eggs and join in Easter art sessions to create a duckling puzzle or decorate an egg (until Mon Apr 21). The centre is home to a family of playful otters, too. See them being fed at 11am and 2pm daily. London Wetland Centre: Hammersmith tube then 283 bus. . £12.35, £6.90 children (four-16), free under-fours. Daily 9.30am-6pm.

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Kew Little Pigs Mini Pigs
How cute? These little piggies want to lark it
Kids who visit the Kew Little Pigs breeding centre over the Easter weekend will get to race these little piggies around the garden in an Easter-egg hunt (yep, really). You’ve probably seen pictures of new-born micro-piglets looking adorably small posed next to teacups. They’ve been selectively bred down in size and even fully grown they’re still usually no more than knee height. An hour-long course will teach kids the basics of caring for mini pigs. After helping to help muck out, fluff up bedding and top up straw, children will be able to groom, feed and play with the friendly little snufflers. Kew Gardens:Kew Gardens tube. £20 kids, one free adult per group. 10am-5pm. Mon Apr 21.

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Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Staffordshire Terriers
How cute? Softer than you think If you are looking to give an animal a home, this is a great place to find a new friend. Since 2011 Battersea’s‘Staffies: They’re Softer Than You Think’ campaign has been challenging the image of Staffordshire terriers as aggressive dogs. Dorothy and Daisy, pictured here, certainly won us over. The centre is open year-round for casual visitors; see the website for rehoming appointments. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home: Battersea Park rail. £2, £1 under-18s and over-60s. Tue-Thu 10.30am-5pm;Fri Apr 19-Mon Apr 21 10.30am–4pm.

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Lee Valley Park Farms Giant Rabbits
How cute? Please lettuce stroke them!
These floppity hoppers look just like normal rabbits only, well, giant. They live at Lee Valley Park Farms alongside the usual farmyard suspects, plus tortoises, llamas, meerkats and red-bellied tamarin monkeys. Kids taking part in the farm’s Easter egg hunt might even spot the Easter bunny himself – and he’s even bigger than the giant rabbits. Lee Valley Park Farms: 505 bus; by car, on the B194 (Crooked Mile) two miles north of Waltham Abbey. £9, £8 kids and concs, free under-twos. 10am-5pm. Fri Apr 18  Mon Apr 21.

Find more things happening in London this Easter.

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