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Spiders and Snakes and Lizards, Oh My!

Published: May 4, 2011

Reported by Jeannie Capone, Canton Patch News

The Blue Hills Trailside Museum teamed up with Eastern Nazarene College for a hands-on exhibit with some of nature’s creepy crawly creatures.

The Blue Hills Trailside Museum hosted Eastern Nazarene College’s Creepy Crawly Exhibit on Saturday, thrilling reptile lovers young and old. The Creepy Crawly Exhibit currently goes on tour, educating school groups, churches, youth groups and senior centers about cold-blooded creatures.

While many people are squeamish around the Ball Pythons, Milk Snakes and Golden Knee Tarantulas featured at the exhibit, Blue Hills Naturalist Amber Wiersma (10) believes that it is important to educate the public about cold-blooded animals. While some snakes are dangerous in the wild, for example, most snakes do not attack people.

“Respect these animals and their space?that’s a main teaching point of both the Trailside Museum and Eastern Nazarene College,” Wiersma said.

Under the watchful eye of the animal handlers, the public was invited to hold the snakes and tarantulas. Lisa Davidson of Braintree put on a brave face and made some new cold-blooded “friends.”

“It’s pretty cool. I’ve held both a tarantula and a snake. They have cockroaches in there too?.but I am not going there,” Davidson said with a laugh.

Naturalists helped Nathanial Waterman, a first grader from Sharon, handle a tarantula for the first time. “I learned that tarantulas can sense vibrations well,” the youngster said.

The naturalists had taught the group that spiders are very sensitive to the movements that people make.

Moreover, the naturalist reminded the visitors that snakes and spiders should never be pet on the head. Apparently, the head is where attacking animals tend to aim for, so in handling the, it is imperative not to startle them by touching this sensitive area.

“As long as you don’t act in a way that makes them think you are going to eat them, they just curl up around you to feel your warmth,” Museum Naturalist and Blue Hills Camp Director Martha Flower said.

David Chapman, a naturalist wearing Slick the Ball Python wrapped around his wrist several times, nodded in agreement!

For more information on the Trailside Museum, click here.

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