On Saturday, October26 , 2013, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, scorpions, a tegu lizard, and a snake roamed the Central Library's Youth Services floor as excited children and adults experienced firsthand the unusual lives of these "creepy" critters. Our presenter, Jared Baker, and his team from Animal Tales had traveled all the way from Kentucky to Kansas City in order to meet us at the library. The result was a fantastic family show that is both fun and educational.
The first animal that made our young audience clap their hands and jump in excitement is the Madagascar hissing cockroach . He is rather big for a cockroach (you probably don't want to see him crawling in your home!). Madagascar hissing cockroaches like to "hiss" as their names entail. They live in rotting logs and stumps on the island of Madagascar. Jared told us that they can survive for about thirty minutes under water and can live for one month without any food.
The second critter made me wide awake even though it was the afternoon, and usually I'm pretty sleepy during this time of the day! Emperor scorpion named "Sherman" is, again, quite large for my peace of mind! It is, actually, the largest bodied scorpion in the world. Jared asked one of our young customers to pan the light on Sherman. Sherman wowed the audiences as we saw his body glowed in the dark.
The show progressed with an Argentine tegu lizard  "Jeeves." Jeeves is an omnivore, which means that he feeds on a wide variety of diets including animals and plants. Tegu's food includes chicks, mice, fruit, and vegetables. Jared carried Jeeves in his arms and walked around to show him to us. Jeeves has a long body and a slender forked tongue. He came from Argentina and is a great swimmer.
Then, the highly-expected moment came when Jared got ready bring out a snake—not a usual snake by no means! The Brazilian rainbow boa "Oz" has shiny, slimy orange skin. This type of snake can grow up to 7 feet long. Brazilian rainbow boas play a great role in the ecological system since they are the ones who control rodent population. Their usual diets are mice and rats.
(To see more photos from the program, click here) .
After the presentation, we had a chance touch the animals. The kids stood in line waiting for their turn to touch Jeeves, the tegu, and Oz, the boa. The young crowd left with knowledge that all animals they had seen that day help sustain the environment and balance our world's ecological system. We would like to thank Clare Hollander, Central Youth Services children's librarian, and the Kansas City Public Library for inviting Jared and his team, and for making "Halloween Creepy Critters program" possible for the children. Great job, everyone!
To learn more about the animals and their habitats, visit this page: http://www.animaledzoocation.com/resource_listing/creepy_critters/
About the Author
Sukalaya Kenworthy is a youth associate at the Central Library. Sukalaya immensely enjoyed the Animal Tales show but decided to stay away from the critters.