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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creature Feature with Steve Lattanzi



Steve visited Ana's School again. And this year, Ana mustered up the courage to touch some of the reptiles that Steve said was OK to pet and feel. The rubber-band on the muzzle probably helped with the baby alligator. Last year, she curled up and inched away as far as the limited space allowed.

Albino Burmese python aka Banana/Popcorn snake was the highlight. But of course, with a hissing King Cobra, barking Gecko, vigorously rattling Rattlesnake, a baby alligator, West African Gaboon viper, and a few more I can't remember the names of, it is hard to tell which one wowed the kids the most.

In his unique style, Steve started off the presentation with safety precautions during the show - kids behaved like pros which was awesome - and went on to emphasize that it is not advisable to take creatures from the wild, and not to approach them with too much curiosity assuming they are friendly.

Venom is injected, Poison is swallowed. A difference I didn't discern until Steve mentioned it -in the context of animal defenses. Some are lethal, but most are not.

Thanks to Steve's joke about Peter Pan complex when the handful of grown-ups in the room were enthusiastic about touching the animals, I had an excuse to hang back and tactfully conceal my revulsion to the reptilian form... I am okay with looking at most of these from a distance, but something about the tree lizards that I grew up with in India, inside our walls, falling off the wall as it was too fat or the wall paint was not compatible with it, I start trembling just thinking about them.

I liked that he impressed upon the kids that these wild creatures are only 'dangerous' when we try to cross paths and get too curious, dangerous to us because of their built-in defense mechanism that protects them from their enemies... and that , if left to themselves, they'll probably avoid us as best as possible.

Creature Feature with Steve Lattanzi

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