DRACO and Dobbie were among the Harry Potter characters to make an appearance at a Bolton care home – but not in human form.

Using the “animagus” spell from the magic world portrayed in J.K. Rowling’s series of best-selling books, the characters turned up at Lever Edge Care Home, in Lever Edge Lane, as animals.

The visitors included a snake called Draco, named after the Hogwarts bully Draco Malfoy, and a rat called Dobbie, the house elf who served the Malfoy family.

There was also a millipede named Millie, named after Millicent Bulstrode, and a snail with the non-Harry Potter related name Gary.

The animals were taken to Lever Edge Care Home by ZooLab, which provides animal encounters in nurseries, schools, businesses and in the care sector.

Among the residents to greet the creatures was Doris Gregory, 92, who held Dobbie. She said: “I used to have a fear of rats but I wanted to conquer it by holding one. I was glad I did.”

Lisa Martin, home manager at Lever Edge Care Home, said: “Animal therapy has proven hugely beneficial for our residents, improving their general wellbeing and mood. You only have to witness the sessions with ZooLab and you can see the joy on their faces when they have a close encounter with a snake, stroke a rat and hold a giant, slimy snail. We’d like to say a big thank you to the ZooLab rangers for bringing in the creatures.”