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Posted by desiree on August 01, 2002 at 12:20:39:
Kids hold creepy animals at Descanso Family Fun program
By Marshall Allen
July 18 2002
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- By the end of the presentation by Joe Python and the Reptile Family at Descanso Gardens on Wednesday night, about 70 children were reduced to screaming and quivering bundles of excitement, as they worked in groups to hold Kaa, a 120-pound, 12-foot Burmese python.
The show was part of the ongoing Family Fun for Nature Nuts series at the gardens. Wednesday night's perform- ance by Emmy Award-winning musician Dan Crow will be the final installment.
The hands-on Safari Squad show started with the children sitting attentively, a little nervous, on a matt in the front of the Rose Pavilion. The children gazed up at an exotic collection of various sized wicker baskets and mottled boxes and trunks -- one with a sticker that read: "YES, THEY'RE REAL."
Chrissy O'Grady, a round nature lover in a pith helmet, led the show with the assistance of her husband Joe "Python" Martin. Together, they played show and tell, placing dozens of frogs, lizards, spiders and snakes in the hands of kids, while lecturing about the animals.
The kids learned that Mortimer, the giant African millipede, has 400 legs, four for each section of his fat, foot-long body.
It took three kids to hold Jabba, a meaty African bullfrog the size of a swollen Whopper. O'Grady asked the kids if anyone knew how Jabba survived in the heat of the Kalahari desert. "He drinks his bottle!" one kid shouted.
Nope. He actually burrows into the sand, O'Grady said.
The family fun program is a place where children can play with and pet animals, and more, father Scott Sullivan said.
"It's a time for the family to get together, get dinner and relax," he said.