• December 27, 2014

Library’s weekly program gets wild with animal science

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:30 am

Alyssa Aguero, 8, and Phillip Garrett, 7, jumped back several feet when they saw a snake Wednesday in the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library.

The milk snake was part of Safari Greg Carter’s animal science program for the library’s weekly Wacky Wednesday lineup.

Carter, a herpetoculturist and wildlife biologist with the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, recited the adage “red on yellow, kill a fellow, red on black, friend of Jack.”

“A milk snake is not dangerous, but looks like a coral snake,” Carter said.

The South American boa constrictor he brought also is nonvenomous and instead smells with its tongue, senses heat to hunt food, feels vibrations and squeezes its prey.

Alex, the African leopard tortoise he showed, is different than the average turtle.

Most turtles live in water, but tortoises live on land and would sink and drown if put in water, Carter said.

Tic-Toc, a Central South American caiman, looks like an alligator or crocodile but doesn’t grow as large, he said.

However, caimans still have about 78 teeth, are aggressive and wouldn’t make good pets.

“It never sits on its back because there’s no protection and lack of circulation,” Carter said, demonstrating how it appeared to fall asleep when on its back.

Of the species Carter brought Wednesday, Harker Heights siblings Jacob, Ben and Rebecca Holmes said they liked the caiman best.

“I like that it doesn’t get much bigger, but can take down a lot of animals,” 13-year-old Jacob said.

Ben, 8, said he liked how it appeared to go to sleep when on its back, and Rebecca, 7, said she thought it was cute.

Their 11-year-old brother Sam said he liked the boa constrictor.

“Because I like creepy animals,” Sam said.

Their mother, Lori Holmes, said the children aren’t allowed to have exotic animals as pets until they leave home and are in college.

However, she didn’t mind them viewing them at the library.

“We love coming to the library and all the different programs that encompass all ages,” Holmes said.

Next week’s program at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Wednesday is Greychurch Music Services’ Science of Sound music education program. Participants will learn about instruments from around the world, basic music theory and make their own instruments.

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