Stephen Tompkinson has revealed the perils of working with animals on the set of Wild At Heart.

The 45-year-old, who plays British vet Danny Trevanion on the South African-based show, has had some surprises from his four-legged co-stars.

“I’ve been kicked by a zebra and left with a perfect hoof mark on my right cheek,” he said.

“[The on-set vet] has had a wildebeest horn where the sun don’t shine… this thing made a beeline for him.”

Stephen, who has appeared in the ITV show since it started in 2006, said the animal surprises are just ‘the hazards of our work’.

“A lot of these animals have grown up on the farm because it’s a sanctuary for orphaned and abandoned animals, so they’ve had quite a bit of human contact. But they are wild and haven’t been trained in any way.”

Given its majestic backdrop and wildlife, Stephen said the series was unlike any other on TV.

“One of the directors said he’d heard things he’s never heard on any other film set,” he added.

“Things like, ‘You can’t film with the wildebeest today, they’re double booked for a commercial’ and another one was, ‘You won’t be able to film with the cheetah today, it was attacked by a baboon.'”

The sixth series of Wild At Heart is currently showing on Sunday nights on ITV1.