LONG LAKE Long Lakers were treated to some very interesting visitors on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
The Utica Zoomoblile came to town, sporting four of the more travel-friendly zoo inhabitants: Chooch, Pig, Bob, and Riley, along with Mary Hall, education manager of the Zoomobile. They emerged from the colorful Zoomobile to meet the crowd of children and parents waiting in the Mount Sabattis Pavilion.
First, Hall introduced the audience to Chooch, an Egyptian spiny tail lizard. Chooch was a curious lizard, and began inspecting the children in the front row as soon as his keeper set him on the floor. According to Hall, Egyptian spiny tails are vegetarians and are big fans of being fed flowers, so several children stayed after the presentation to give Chooch a feast of dandelions and other blooms.
Following Chooch, Hall brought out Pig the owl. She told the audience that Pig was hit by a car, which broke her wing. Since she wouldnt be able to survive in the wild without flying, Pig now stays at the Zoo.
Next, Bob, a sulcata tortoise came out to play. Hall said that Bob is only 13 years old, which is young for a tortoise, and hell grow to be around 200 pounds by the time hes full grown. She also told the audience the main difference between a turtle and a tortoise: turtles live in water, and tortoise prefer dry land.
Finally, Riley the snake made an appearance. Riley is an albino California king snake. He is mostly white with red eyes. Hall explained that king snakes are called that because they eat rattlesnakes, which they are able to do because they are immune to rattlesnake venom.
The Zoomobile is a part of the Education Department at the Utica Zoo. It has been traveling around with a unique collection of animals since the late 1970s. Hall visits at least two places every day, and sometimes as many as four, thrilling children and parents alike with her traveling menagerie.