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IT WAS a close encounter of the scaly kind for visitors to a new reptile and aquatics centre.

Plant and furniture store Garsons in Titchfield has opened the ‘Aquajardin’ with an open day where visitors could get up close and personal with a tarantula, a tortoise and a snake.

The animals were brought in by Tom Chandler from Eco Animal Encounters.

There were also Halloween activities and competitions for youngsters.

Garsons director Ben Thompson said he was thrilled to have the animals at the shop.

He said: ‘It’s been brilliant to have Eco Animal Encounters here today to join in the Halloween fun.

‘With the new Aquajardin store opening at this spooky time of year, it’s been a great opportunity to let people get up close to these fascinating creatures and discover they’re not so scary after all.’

The store is planning to have a reindeer there from November 21 until Christmas Eve.

Mr Thompson said: ‘Our trained staff are ready to care for the animals and we make sure the enclosure is as safe and comfortable as possible before the reindeer arrive in November.

‘We’ve had so much fun this half-term that we can’t wait to welcome more families to meet these wonderful animals.’