CBBC star Naomi has a wild time in Sheffield with scary animal friends!

Children's TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson, heading to Sheffield City Hall
Children's TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson, heading to Sheffield City Hall

CBBC wildlife presenter is bringing some spectacular critters to Sheffield City Hall stage on Monday, with her Naomi's Wild and Scary show.

The show will be packed full of fun and surprises as Naomi is joined, live on stage, by some really scary creatures, including a carpet python, alligator snapping turtle, a giant centipede, and a tarantula! They are all handled by zoologist Mark Amey, known as Animal Mark.

There is up-close handy cam action, a giant screen and loads of interaction.

Here, Naomi answers some questions about her most amazing wildlife encounters.

What got you interested in the wild and scary part of nature?

After I presented the CBBC show Live ’n’ Deadly alongside Steve Backshall, the Natural History Unit in Bristol developed the series Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature for me. We have now filmed four series of that show, so heading off on adventures around the world to meet all the wild and scary animals this planet has to offer just kind of happened… and I have LOVED every minute to it, even the really scary bits!

Can you describe a particularly memorable wildlife encounter?

I have been extremely fortunate to have so many memorable encounters, but one that really stood out for me was spending some time with some gorgeous, intelligent orangutans in Borneo, at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah. It completely broke my heart meeting some of the young, orphaned orangutans and hearing all about their plight.

Tragically humans are slowly destroying their rainforest home and that is having a devastating impact on the orangutan population of Borneo. The good news is this centre is doing a wonderful job of rehabilitating and returning many of their apes to the wild.

Any funny ones?

Trying to pick up a hagfish in California. I was presented with a whole tank full of these weird, creepy, eel-like fish that produce vast amounts of slime and I was asked to try and lift one in to a separate tank so that we could have a better look at it.

The production team ran the track Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer under my shrieks and squeals and it took me such a long time to complete the task that I got a round of applause from onlookers in a nearby cafe... I think it made for a pretty funny item.

Does any creature make you jump still or are you immune to it all now?

I really feel like I have conquered my fear of spiders. I would definitely have called myself an arachnophobe a fear years ago. But having said that, if I suddenly came across a large, scuttling spider it would DEFINITELY still make me jump!

Do you think your show encourages girls to get interested in this topic?

I hope the show makes all young people want to engage with nature, to learn about it, to enjoy it and to want to look after it. And also if I can encourage kids to challenge themselves to attempt something new, perhaps something that they don’t believe they are capable of doing but then realise that they absolutely can do it... that would make me really happy. After all, I feel that if I can do it then anyone can.

Is there any animal or insect etc that you're dying to see but haven't discovered yet?

I was desperate to see Orca, which we were lucky enough to finally see and film in Vancouver last year. So next on my wish list would be the duck-billed platypus, I think that animal needs to be seen to be believed! :)

* Tickets for Monday's 2pm show are available from the City Hall box office, online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk or by calling 0114 278 9789