Meet the Stars of the Show!

Since the reptiles and amphibians are what we learn about, the programs wouldn't be complete without them! Here are some of the rescued animals I may bring with depending on which program you book:


Thomas (Tiger Salamander)

Tiger salamanders are North America's largest species of salamander. They spend most of their time underground, and have huge appetites. I use this to my advantage during programs and have a volunteer feed the salamander a worm in front of the audience. Kids get the biggest kick out of watching him eat!

 

Stanley (Bullsnake)

Growing up to six feet long, bullsnakes are the largest species of snake native to Minnesota and Wisconsin. When threatened, this snake will vibrate its tail to imitate a rattlesnake in hopes to scare the threat away. Although they can be a bit sassy, we still love the bullsnake- these eat the pesky gophers that dig tunnels in our backyards! That's why this snake is also referred to as the "gophersnake".

 

 

 

 

Taco (Spiny Softshell Turtle)

These goofy-looking turtles are native to Minnesota and Wisconsin, although not many people are aware of their existence. These turtles spend a lot of time hidden under the sand, and use their long necks and snorkel-like nose to reach to the surface and grab a breath of air when needed. This turtle only comes to the "Totally Turtles" program, where the audience learns that not all softshells are tacos! I bring a map turtle to the "Snake, Rattle, & Roll" program.

 


Bacon (Plains Hognose Snake, AKA Western Hognose Snake)

A hognose snake's nose makes the perfect shovel to aide in in finding frogs and toads under fallen leaves. When threatened, these snakes hood up similar to a cobra in attempt to scare away the predator. If that fails, the hognose snake simply plays dead. Watch your audience transform into hognose snakes while I (pretending to be a hawk) "fly by" and cause them all to play dead on the floor, mouths open, tongues out and all! Get your camera ready for this part of the program!

 

Vulpix (Western Fox Snake)

Fox snakes grow to around 4 feet long, making them one of Minnesota and Wisconsin's larger species. They're often mistaken as bullsnakes, but it's easy to learn the difference in person at the program! In my opinion, fox snakes are the friendliest snake local to this area. However, they may vibrate their tail when threatened.


 




Twiggy (Common Garter Snake)

Twiggy is probably a snake that you’ve seen in your backyard. Garters are very common in the Midwest! In all 30-minute or longer programs, an audience member gets to feed her a piece of fish during the program!






CandyCane (Albino Nelson’s Milksnake)

Did you know these were given the wrong name? Farmers used to think these snakes were stealing their cows' milk when first discovered in their barns, so they were named the milksnake. Now we know better- they only wanted the mice in the barns! But their incorrect name remains. We use her as an example of color mutations and mimicry in snakes.

 




Toothless (African Egg-Eating Snake)

This nocturnal snake has no teeth! They are wonderful climbers, which helps them slither into bird nests in the wild. Learn at the "Reptiles Around the World" program how she can swallow eggs whole!

 

boa constrictor

Doug (Boa Constrictor)

Doug is over 7 feet long, roughly 25 pounds, and a total sweetheart. He's the last snake of the program (since you have to end with a bang, right?), and stays out afterwards for audience members to touch and interact with. I suggest keeping him a secret from your students/attendees, as he makes a wonderful surprise for the crowd! Doug attends all full length (45-minute) "Snake, Rattle, & Roll" and "Reptile Around the World" programs.