I had a close encounter with (captive) wildlife not long ago, when my family visited the Wild Discovery Room at the Crane Festival in Kearney, NE. There were all kinds of great critters there, including eight or nine raptors (owls, hawks, and a falcon) that had been rehabilitated but couldn’t return to the wild for one reason or another. (Most had been too badly injured and couldn’t hunt for themselves.)
They had activities for kids, too. But my reptile-loving family could have spent the entire day at the herp table. (Herp is a term for reptiles and amphibians–people who study these critters are called herpetologists.) No amphibians at this event, but there were lots of scales in attendance! Check out a few of my favorites:
The four-year-old alligator who was perfectly content to just lie in my hands. He’s got his legs splayed out to maximize contact with my hands, since they were warm. I have to say, I never would have thought I’d call an alligator adorable, but this one really was! There’s also a young speckled king snake on my shoulder, if you look closely. Not sure how it got there, but my boys held just about everything and may have decided it was time to pass this one along.
There was an orange corn snake that happily curled up on my arm, but this fox snake wasn’t up for sitting still. It kept trying to hide in my hair:
The picture’s blurry (I moved as I tried to get the snake out), but you can see its head poking out (circled).
We didn’t hold all of the reptiles, though. A pair of rattlesnakes remained safely out of reach, as did this cobra: