scroll down to read our interview with cbeebies star jess french!
cbeebies minibeast adventure with jess french is one of the coolest shows around! growing up surrounded by creepy crawlies and becoming a vet has given Jess a unique insight into the animal world.
That’s such a difficult question. It would have to be some sort of primate, probably a gorilla because they are so huge and strong but they choose to be gentle.
what is your favourite animal and why?
Not in the wild yet, only in zoos.
have you seen any gorillas?
what is your least favourite animal?
I don’t have one, I can’t have one, I love them all! But maybe mosquitoes because they gave me dengue fever (a really awful tropical disease).
what is your earliest memory of animals?
One of my earliest memories was when one of Dad's snakes went missing and it turned up in my bed because it liked my electric blanket! It wasn’t a poisonous snake, just a rat snake. But my Dad had hundreds of different creatures! None of them were poisonous though, so I luckily got nothing much worse than a bee sting.
No, I grew up with it from when I was so young. It was just normal to me!
were you ever scared of snakes?
Before I can remember. I was probably around four years old when I started! I was handling everything from snakes, scorpions, spiders, all kinds of bugs!
when did you start to handle these kinds of animals?
Wood cockroaches feed poo to their babies to kickstart their digestive system. They’re just amazing.
can you tell us the grossest animal fact you know?
I always loved animals so I wanted to do everything I could to help them. When I was younger I had a lot of pets and I had really good vets who allowed me to be really involved in looking after my animals when they were sick and explaining to me what was going on when I went to the vets so I felt really involved in the care of my pets. That’s the thing that really made me think I wanted to do the same.
how did you become a vet? what made you decide to be a vet?
I originally wanted to work with gorillas. I wanted to go and study them. But then, when I got my zoology degree all the people I spoke to said they actually needed vets and so I decided to go and retrain as a vet so I could be a gorilla vet but that hasn’t happened just yet!
you're also a zoologist! how did you get into studying animals?
Malaysia was amazing! Especially for invertebrates (bugs) and Australia is amazing too because they have marsupials which we don’t have here. Nowhere else in the world has them in the wild. South America was really cool as well, especially for lots of different birds. Everywhere really, there’s animals everywhere!! Even the UK has amazing animals. I think even some of the most amazing creatures in the UK are really overlooked as well so you don’t particularly have to go very far!
which countries are great for wildlife?
There’s lots of information about this in my new book about urban beasties! But a lot of the animals in urban areas come out at night time because there’s less people around so that’s a good time to look. There will also be invertebrate life and minibeasts. Bugs are everywhere! They could try moth trapping, looking in wet muddy areas, all sorts of activities to find some creatures. There will be foxes as well because foxes love to live where humans live.
what advice do you have for any of our young vets living in urban areas? what kinds of animals could they see?