Latham Centers’ Admissions/Outreach and Children’s Residential Teams co-hosted Valerie from the Rainforest Reptile Show on Monday evening, October 28th. Student and staff participants were thrilled by the presentation, and Valerie captivated their attention for over an hour. Students gasped with excitement when they first laid eyes on three animals they were encouraged to touch. Their website states, “Rainforest Reptile Shows is the leading animal presenter in all of the northeastern United States. We care about YOU and want everyone to enjoy themselves and the world around them! ‘Educating about the natural world to improve the quality of our lives!’”
During the presentation, Valerie explained that many of their animals were rescues, including a Radiated Tortoise named George; JuJu Bean the Boa Constrictor; and a black-and-white Tegu Lizard (which demonstrated its whip tail action). The students also learned many facts about the population, including how snakes molt skin over rocks, and how most often reptiles are not slimy because they do not perspire! They also learned that the boa constrictor is an ectothermic animal, meaning that it takes the same body temperature as the air temperature of where they are.
To close out the presentation, the students met Peanut, a small four-year-old rescue alligator. Valerie demonstrated how Peanut uses vibrations to find and catch prey. First, she held a stick in its mouth and didn’t move it around— the alligator did not chomp down! Then, she put the stick in his mouth and moved it around – all the students gasped when they saw how quickly the alligator chomped down on the moving stick! Students also learned that Peanut the alligator was rescued from a home in Massachusetts. It’s illegal to have an alligator in this state because there is no way to tame an alligator that could grow to be up to 12 feet long and would likely lose up to 6,000 teeth in their lifetime.
At the end of the presentation, each student was given the opportunity to hold Peanut and take a photo with him (with tape on his mouth, of course)!
Rainforest Reptile Shows has an oasis in Beverly, Massachusetts, which is home to over 600 reptiles and hundreds of species. According to the website, “These snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodilians, bugs, and amphibians will live the rest of their lives in the safe and healthy environment with the professionals at RRS OASIS and the Rainforest Reptile Shows Team.” We are delighted by our students’ enthusiasm and our staff’s commitment to engaging in new, fun, and creative programs! Thank you, Valerie, and Rainforest Reptile Shows!
Special thanks to Katrina Fryklund, Brittni Kliment, and Susan LaPlant for sharing the highlights of this Children’s Program event!