This is the second part of our report on the Reptile Exhibition 2016 at Tierpark Gettorf, one of the largest exhibitions for reptiles and amphibians and successfully in the organisational hands of the Terrarienkreis Kiel for many years. Here you exchange fear of reptiles for fascination. You can read the first part here: Highlights of the Reptile Exhibition 2016 at Tierpark Gettorf – Part 1
Day 4: Laura, A Spider For Special Occasions
The weather was not quite as nice as on the previous day and the number of visitors had dropped to half, but we started fresh and well rested.
Allow me to introduce you to Laura, spider by profession, to be more precise, tarantula. Good old Laura, our Brachypelma auratum (Mexican flame knee), is a spider for special occasions: those occasions when the visitors overcome their shyness – let’s not call it fear or phobia, because we are not psychologists and we do not claim to “heal” – and later drive home with a sense of new possibilities. This is what happens when you hold a living tarantula in your hand for the first time. Many visitors acknowledged that, after such a positive experience, they began to see the spiders in their own home through different eyes.
Along with Laura, Finchen and Jack (two boa constrictor imperator – common northern boas) also went into action. These animals also win over people with their “peaceful” nature. Let’s say we’ve always had good experiences with these animals. They have a lot of experience with exhibitions and are used to be touched by different people.
Of course these situations mean that we have to be especially careful. Hands need to be disinfected and the visitors and animals need to be under close supervision. For us the animal’s well-being always has priority. Once again today we demonstrated to many people that these animals can be quite gentle with humans. However this only applies if they are not put under pressure.
Why is it so important to us that the animals get used to being handled by humans? Well, it can always happen that you have to take an animal to the vet. The vet should be able to approach it, without being seen as a danger. But we also teach our visitors that our animals are not cuddly toys. Unlike cats and dogs they don’t really like to be touched.
Day 5: Old Aquaintances
We could describe Easter Monday as the day of encounters. A lot of visitors to the Tierpark Gettorf used the opportunity to do more than just watch our animals behind the glass pane. We were positively surprised about their interest in our animals, whether it was the well-known bearded dragons (Pogona) or the less well-known Honduran milk snake (Lampropeltis triamgulum hondurensis), which is conspicuous by its red-black colouring. What failed to surprise us was the frequently repeated comment: “But they feel totally different than I expected!”. This reaction is one of the reasons we organise an exhibition of our private animals over Easter every year.
We want to show, convince, prove that our animals are neither wet, nor slimy or spikey. Yes, bearded dragons look spikier than they are. Snakes are shiny, but they are not wet and they are definitely not slimy. We especially like our serial visitors, the visitors who dare to touch a tarantula (let’s say) or hold it in their hand more than once. On Monday we heard comments like: “I was here two years ago”. That really was quite a long time ago. And yet she rose to the challenge again, this time a lot faster. It just needed some encouraging words and a bit of cheering. Our visitor had hardly sat down when Cassandra, our Mexican redknee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) was on her hand and making herself comfortable. You can see that a tarantula is comfortable when it lays its rear part (abdomen) on your hand.
Now the Easter weekend is more or less over and we are looking forward to the coming week. We are still in the animal park in Gettorf with our animals until the coming weekend. Take advantage of the chance to come along, watch the animals and bundle up your courage for an encounter with them.
Day 6: Redesign and checking the Terrariums
What more is there to say? Nothing could disturb the good mood of the club members at the exhibition. Not even the exhausting days that followed Maundy Thursday. After today we would be half-way through the exhibition. So it was, wet your whistle, have a swig from your thermos flask and step up to the terrariums. Now nothing could get in the way of an exciting day, we thought. But it wasn't meant to be. The heavens were merciless with us and the animal park. It rained all morning and the visitors stayed away. We used the time to tidy up the terrariums a bit more. The animals somehow do not have the same sense for interior design and liked it rearrange things a bit. Well, it was their home for a few days, but you just can’t see them when all the plants are lying on the ground.
As soon as the sun came out, the first visitors arrived. A visit to the animal park also means a visit to us. Now the time passed much more quickly than before.
Day 7: Good Mood Despite Rain
Rain rain go away, typical Schleswig-Holstein weather! It is almost end of March and this spring is more like autumn. On the other hand it is as warm in the paradise hall and the tropical hall of the animal park Gettorf as you would expect. And it’s important to mention that our animals are well.
Despite the unsettled weather a few visitors came to the park in the morning. When the weather changed in the afternoon the weather, so did the numbers of guests.
The day was relatively quiet, only a few animals wanted to be closely observed. This was our animals’ way of having a quiet day. To our surprise there was great interest in the feeder animals. Hissing cockroaches attracted a great amount of curiosity. These animals really hiss, even when you only poke them slightly. Not just the young visitors, the adults too wanted to watch this phenomenon. It was a good job we had a lot with us, because we didn’t want these animals to be harmed during the show either.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated money. We are a private organisation with a charitable status, and we finance this exhibition mainly by donations. Many of the members, here the adults are meant, of course, had to take time off work for the exhibition period. We enjoy spending time with the visitors and our animals and we would like to thank for the numerous donations.
And what happened next? You can read this in a few days in part 3 of "Highlights of the Reptile Exhibition 2016 at Tierpark Gettorf ". The first part you can find here: Highlights of the Reptile Exhibition 2016 at Tierpark Gettorf – Part 1