Cedar Grove Library Hosts Reptile Talk
Snakes-n-Scales animal expert Bill Boesenberg helps children understand the world of cold-blooded animals.
Children at the Cedar Grove Library got a hands-on lesson about pythons, tarantulas, and other creatures Thursday.
The children were guests of animal expert Bill Boesenberg, owner of Snakes-n-Scales, who hosted an hour-long children’s program at the library.
Boesenberg, who has made a career out of handling, rescuing and rehabilitating animals for the last 25 years, has a special love for cold-blooded animals, like the ones in his shows and said the animals are often misunderstood by the general public.
The program focused on the misinformation surrounding the animals Boesenberg presented.
For instance, one of the main differences between alligators and crocodiles, he said, is that alligators pose virtually no threat to people, whereas crocodiles are known to actively hunt humans.
After going over some basic safety rules and vocabulary with the children, Boesenberg wasted no time getting the program underway when he introduced his alligator, Blue, to the anxious group.
The alligator is one of countless animals Boesenberg has helped rescue over the years from people who get the animals as pets, legally or otherwise, and just don’t know how to care for them.
“I got Blue 12 years ago when the state of New Jersey called me and said they had an alligator they would like me to have,” said Boesenberg. “He was found in the back of someone’s pickup truck in Jersey City.”
“He likes having his head rubbed,” said Boesenberg. “Though, for me, it’s like petting a driveway.”
Boesenberg has a license and adequate facilities in his Wanaque home that allow him to be in possession of, and care for, so many exotic species.
During Thursday’s presentation, he sat with an alligator in his lap as he explained facts about the reptile to the audience.
While alligators don’t make good pets, he said, there is some communication between he and Blue; the alligator responds to its name and it knows the word ‘stop,’ among a few others.
“A dog can learn around 300 words,” he said. “An alligator can learn about five.”
After presenting several other species, Boesenberg introduced his Burmese python. The children were then invited to come up in groups to pet the python.
Some children are even regulars at Boesenberg’s shows.
“We saw [the Snakes-n-Scales show] in Little Falls on Tuesday and had to come see it again,” said Gina Testa, who brought her three-year-old son, Rocco, to Cedar Grove.
Snakes-n-Scales does more than 1,000 educational programs throughout the year in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
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