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Rainforest Reptiles slithered their way into the Medfield Library on Friday afternoon, with Sarah Fleischmnn bringing her snakes, lizards and tortoises to a crowd of excited children.
Fleischmann has a unique background; she has worked with animals for ten years and has even worked with grey wolves and rattlesnakes in the past. After talking about rattlesnakes, she reached into the box and watched as the room’s adults suddenly got very got nervous. She popped back up with a smile and acknowledged: “I don’t have a rattlesnake with me. My boss wouldn’t let me do that.” While she didn’t have any animals that dangerous with her, she did have an American alligator, a tortoise, a common boa and a tegu lizard.
First, Fleischmann brought out Daisy the tortoise and explained how her shell wasn’t smooth like a sea turtle, because she doesn’t need to cut through the water like a turtle. In fact, Daisy can’t swim. When she asked the crowd what they thought Daisy ate, one child answered “food,” which Fleischmann explained is generally true. “But once she did try to eat my shoelace,” she added. After explaining that Daisy is an herbivore and how tortoises are always crying to clear dirt out of their eyes, Fleischmann put Daisy away and brought out Sephura, the black and white tegu lizard.
Sephura was only five years old, though she will live to fifty. While she easily fit on Fleischmann’s shoulder, Fleischmann asked if she was tall. Though barely over five feet, the young children said she was, which Fleischmann appreciated. She then informed the kids when fully grown, the lizard would be as long as she is tall.
Next came JujuBeans the python (or Mr. Beans, “for those of you old enough to get the reference”). Fleischmann invited a girl to feel the snake and noted that rather than being slimy, it actually felt like a basketball. It was wrapping itself around Fleischmann, thinking that she was a tree - something Fleischmann attributed to JujuBeans’ bad eyesight.
Before the kids were allowed to gather around and pet the animals, Fleischmann had one more friend to show them. It was Little Mikey, the American alligator. While Fleischmann acknowledged the alligator wasn’t from the rainforest, she did have a trick up her sleeve to keep the kids entertained. She asked the kids to wave to the alligator, then used its arm to wave back. After telling the kids to stop waving, she ventriloquist dummied the alligator arm to keep waving at them, then feigned anger towards the animal while the children laughed at the perceived rebellion. She also used a reflex hammer to demonstrate how the gator automatically chomps down on something that touches the bottom of its mouth.
With the program completed, Medfielders returned to the late-autumn chill that awaited them outside, armed with thoughts of rainforests and their denizens to keep them warm.