Gerry is moving house from south-east London to Malta, to be near her parents, and Animalcouriers is transporting her entire family of reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates for her. The journey from the UK will take around four days and will include two ferry journeys. To keep these fascinating creatures warm, irrigated and ventilated throughout, we had the electrics in our newest van upgraded.

Gerry will give her pets all the attention they need during the journey, with courier M on hand to help whenever needed.

Also travelling with us to Malta is gorgeous Russian Blue cat Ophelia from Bristol, who’s on her way to rejoin her owner, Alice. Ophelia is very calm and settled, enjoys having a fuss made of her, and seems quite fascinated by the tortoises and turtles.

And there are quite a few of them to be fascinated by! On board are 65 tortoises and turtles of various types, 12 axolotls, 13 fish and quite a number of invertebrates, including some Giant African land snails.

Our arrival at Eurotunnel presented the first of what we suspect may be many challenges on the journey. A member of staff looked into the van and simply didn’t know what to say or do — despite our having made pre-booking arrangements and let them know we were on our way. After several phone calls, a bit of a wait while Eurotunnel staff got their pens around the (admittedly complicated) names of all the species, a special piece of paper was produced and voilà, we were on our way.

Smokey beauty Ophelia

Smokey beauty Ophelia

A pair of slinky pink axolotls (also known as Mexican salamanders)

A pair of slinky pink axolotls (also known as Mexican salamanders)

A couple of sturdier looking black ones

A couple of sturdier looking black ones

Leo, a Mississippi Map turtle

Leo, a Mississippi Map turtle

Garnet, a female Red-eared Slider turtle

Garnet, a female Red-eared Slider turtle

All the Slider turtles having a warm bath this morning so that they could eat and drink

All the Slider turtles having a warm bath this morning so that they could eat and drink

A Cumberland Slider comes in for a close-up

A Cumberland Slider comes in for a close-up

One-year-old Indian Star tortoises

Hermione (back) is a Mediterranean Spur-thighed tortoise; Ivan (front) is a Russian Horsfield tortoise

Hermione (back) is a Mediterranean Spur-thighed tortoise; Ivan (front) is a Russian Horsfield tortoise

Easy to see why Australian Snake Neck turtles are so called — this is Sanka

Easy to see why Australian Snake Neck turtles are so called — this is Sanka

What a face Sanka has!

What a face Sanka has!

Scarlet is a Florida Yellow-bellied Scooter

Scarlet is a Florida Yellow-bellied Scooter