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© Copyright 2017 Vermilion Voice

Big Wild Encounter

 
Each year Northern Lights Library system supports a library summer entertainer and this year’s entertainer was Reptile Parties out of Calgary. The show was held at the Elk’s Hall in Vermilion on August 10th. 
Over 80 children, plus grownups were in awe of the presentation held by Reptile Parties owner Jason Clevett who started the show off easy with a Leopard Gecko named Lemon. 
“Geckos live in areas where food is not always accessible; you will notice that the tail on the gecko is fat, that is because they store fat in their tail and can live off it for over a month. The gecko can also detach their tail if a predator comes after them, it is a defence mechanism so they can hopefully get away from the predator,” said Clevett.
Clevett then brought out a Tiger Salamander and went on to explain that when he was a child growing up in Calgary there weren’t all the outlying towns there are now and that as a young boy he would catch and release frogs and tiger salamanders from the marsh.
“How many of you have ever seen or caught frogs and salamanders, etc.? If I were to ask that question in Calgary, I wouldn’t get very many hands coming up because their natural habitats are destroyed, and it’s really sad. You are lucky here because in rural areas you can still find them,” added Clevett.
Small reptiles, amphibians, and lizards like the gecko, salamander, and Blue-tongued Skink were not the only animals at the show to amaze the crowd. Clevett also brought along a Tarantula, Eastern Box Turtle, Mexican Black King Snake, a Ball Python and an Albino Boa Constrictor named Malcolm which certainly did its job and impressed the crowd.
“Snakes are important because they eat rodents and other animals that can destroy crops. Sometimes it’s hard at shows because people say ‘Ooooh that’s gross! How can you touch that?’ and I find it hurtful and rude, all these animals are important,” said Clevett.
According to their website, www.edmontonreptileparties.com Reptile Parties are structured to appeal to different age groups and size. Kids meet up close cold-blooded animals such as friendly bearded dragons, amazing frilled dragons, colorful geckos, incredible snakes of all sizes, and even tarantulas and scorpions! 
Clevett launched Reptile Parties in Calgary in 2008 and had since opened additional branches Edmonton Reptile Parties and Canadian Reptile Encounters. He has volunteered as an assistant gorilla keeper at the Calgary Zoo and traveled to different zoos, nature centers, and aquariums to learn more from others in the field. He has toured Western Canada and appeared at multiple events as well as TV and Radio. He was a board member and executive member of The Alberta Reptile & Amphibian Society from 2007 - 2013 including President in 2010. Reptile Parties was voted as the top for “Best Entertainment For A Children’s Party” in 2011, with “Honorable Mention” in the 2010 and 2012 Parent’s Choice awards, presented by Calgary’s Child Magazine.
Clevett is passionate in regards to pet ownership and was quick to discuss the importance of knowing what you are getting into when it comes to owning any pet.
“Nothing angers me more than seeing the ads on Facebook or Kijiji saying ‘Looking to rehome our precious snake as we do not have the time to do what she needs from us, etc..’ I understand things can come up in a person’s life, whether they are laid off from work, or moving to Nunavut, etc., but this is a copout, and it’s a disgusting excuse for being bored,” said Clevett. Clevett went on to say “When you want to get a pet dog, cat, hamster, lizard, snake or whatever you have to learn everything you can about that animal and then decide if you can care and look after them for the time needed.”
If you would like to book a show, you can call 1-877-857-6253, email reptile.party@hotmail.com or learn more by visiting their websites http://www.calgaryreptileparties.com, www.edmontonreptileparties.com

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