READERS are shocked after it was revealed toddlers and babies as young as 11 weeks old were told to wear a face mask to take part in a zoo experience.

Babies as young as three months old were told to wear a face covering to participate in animal encounters and animal experiences at South Lakes Safari Zoo.

Every Tuesday the zoo offers free tickets to preschool children and one accompanying adult for ‘Toddling Tuesday’ – a fun and educational session learning about animals.

On Tuesday Katie Moore travelled with her two-year-old son from their home in Ulverston to take part in one of the animal interaction sessions with a giraffe.

However, she was shocked to learn that her toddler would have to wear a face-covering to engage with the animals at the session.

The Mail readers took to the comments section to share their thoughts.

Truthie Teller said: "This is disgusting! Absolute abuse, to think a child should be muzzled like that. Especially when the government has lifted their made up "rules" on wearing them. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Christina Howker said: "The simple answer seems to be that the zoo should make it clear these activities/ sessions are unsuitable for children under mask-wearing age.

"It's generally not recommended for children under five to wear masks and particularly dangerous for children under two to do so."

Tommo1992 said:"We were there when this happened, lots of children and adults who attended were unable to take part. Then in turn they would not issue refunds accordingly.

"It would be nice to know if they would implement the same rules for their children, from 11 weeks old upwards. They say it is parents' choice, but they are not following government guidance themselves.

"Not to mention that people can be close to the animals when walking around the zoo, without wearing a mask, as many roam free."

Dalton said: "To those who criticise the zoo " don't go ". The requirement should be made clear before payment, then people can make an informed choice.

"Personally, I wouldn't want an 11 week old child so close to an animal. I have never been to the zoo. It seems the mail is becoming an outlet for people who cannot think for themselves or refuse to accept simple rules."