NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Southwick’s Zoo Tim Cornwall and Katelyn Richer brought a few of their favorite reptiles and mammals to the Whitinsville Social Library on Thursday, to the delight of more than 100 youngsters.
Guests included a 10-year-old 40-pound tortoise that will eventually grow to 120 pounds; a skink lizard with a bright blue tongue, a colorful Macaw parrot with an impressive vocabulary, and a python.
Cornwall shared a dirty little secret about the bush baby he held. “He eats a lot of sugar and pees it out onto his hands and feet which makes them sticky which makes him good at climbing.’’
The children’s disgust soon turned to empathy, however. Bush babies are considered prey animals, Cornwall said, which means a lot of other animals, especially chimpanzees, want to eat them.
When he showed off a few porcupine quills, he had the kids thinking that would be the next mammal brought to him by Katelyn. They were surprised by a three-banded armadillo, which is related to anteaters.
“People are their predators. They are threatened because they are over-hunted,’’ he said.
Next to come from behind the display was unusual - a binturong – a mammal that Cornwell said smells like buttered popcorn.
The largest animal on display starts life the size of a jelly bean, Cornwall said as he put up a small fence around a large dog carrier. From the carrier came a giant red kangaroo, though it wasn’t giant or red.
This kangaroo was a female and has already had two babies, Cornwall noted. The males are much larger and very red.
UniBank sponsored Southwick’s visit as part of the library’s summer reading program.
Next Thursday at 2 p.m. magician Debbie O’Carroll will entertain.