One of the most anticipated events at Nancy Carson Library each summer returned last week when the Savannah River Ecology Lab showed children some of its amphibians and reptiles.
Children excitedly raised their hands when Carol Eldridge, a research biologist with the University of Georgia, asked “Who loves animals?”
She showed children animals native to the area, such as frogs, lizards, a snake, an alligator and an owl.
Jack Wise, 8, said he enjoyed seeing the alligator and owl.
“The beak was really sharp … and the claws were sticking out to (her) glove,” he said, of the great horned owl, which is the largest in the area.
He liked seeing the alligator open its mouth and said his tail was really long.
“I learned that some snapping turtles have alligator tails,” Jack said.
Eldridge showed a common snapping turtle that lives mostly in the water and has a tail. It is the largest turtle in the area, she said, taking about 30 years to become full size.
At birth, they are about the size of a quarter.
“Usually the tail is as long as their body,” she said.
Predators to the common snapping turtle are people and full-grown American alligators.
She showed children the green tree frog and then the American bullfrog, which is the largest in the area.
“He is a carnivore. He will eat anything he can put into his mouth,” Eldridge said, such as small turtles, hummingbirds, Carolina Wrens and other frogs.
“A full grown American bullfrog can eat a baby alligator.”
Eldridge also busted the myth that you can get warts from holding a toad and said it isn’t true.
She reminded children that wild animals do not like to be handled.
“All animals bite. They don’t want to be picked up,” she said. “They will bite, they will scratch you and they will go to the bathroom on you.”
The Savannah River Ecology Lab will be holding Touch an Animal Day from 9 a.m. to noon at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Lab Conference Center in New Ellenton on Aug. 25.