Kids slither into knowledge at reptile rendezvous

Jul 3, 2024

The otherwise quiet Southworth Library echoed with laughs of joy and screeches of excited fright on Tuesday, July 2 as creatures slithered and crawled around the house of books.

Bwana Iguana Reptile Adventure Owner Ray Ward held a hiss-terical show for kids all over Dartmouth, showing off various creatures while teaching facts and cracking jokes.

Starting off with a northern pine snake, Ward made his way up to a large Burmese python that kids lined up to hold.

One of the facts Ward taught the kids was how snakes are able to get around without any legs. Using a combination of their ribs, muscles and scales, snakes are able to easily slither around from place to place. 

He also taught them to pet the snake with a gentle two fingers so they could feel its scales.

Ward said Curtis, the northern pine snake, typically lives among pine trees. “However, he spends almost all of his time under the ground. He actually lives in tunnels or burrows holes under the pine forest. His coloration helps him to blend in with that environment, and we call that camouflage and that gives him excellent protection.”

Introducing the kids to “Baby Shelly,” the snapping turtle, Ward warned that sometimes the “flipping turtle” becomes the “dripping turtle” as it can urinates when picked up. Having a small shell, Baby Shelly cannot retract into it like other turtles and has other ways of protecting himself from predators, such as his ability to snap.

Despite the warning, kids couldn't help but yelp out a screech before succumbing to a fit of giggles when Baby Shelly relieved himself in the library.

Ward also introduced the kids to “Chungy the dancing lizard,” the blue tongued skink. Kids were invited to join him up at the front to do the lizard dance and wiggle their tongues the same way Chungy does.

He explained that the skink has a stubby tail because he will break it off if he’s in danger and it has the ability to regenerate itself. 

The Bwana Iguana Show was just one of many events the library is hosting for kids this summer. For more information on upcoming events, check out the library’s website and the Dartmouth Week events calendar.