Our primary students were privileged to get a visit from the animals of the Elmwood Park Zoo. The EPZ Educator, Elisa, brought 3 of the zoo’s animals and shared with us important and interesting information about the food they eat, their senses, anatomy, etc. She had rules for children to follow before introducing the animals – no screaming so as not to scare them and no touching.
Elisa first introduced Ozzie, the black rat snake, the longest snake that can be found in Pennsylvania. The students found it interesting how snakes like Ozzie can smell using their 2-pronged tongue. They generally eat mice but they can eat larger animals. She even brought a snake shed (snake skin) for children to see and touch. It is made of keratin, the same material as human nails and hair.
Brie is the zoo’s skunk. She was very shy and held on tightly to Elisa’s arms. She couldn’t spray because the vet took that gland out when she was a baby. Skunks spray mainly to protect themselves from predators. Elisa showed skunk fur from a dead skunk that the children felt. It was so smooth. Lastly, the adorable Sally, the salmon-crested cockatoo, joined in the group. She was not shy at all. She made very funny noises that made everybody laugh. Elisa had to remind her to use an inside voice, but she couldn’t help herself.
Curiosity got the best of our students and they had many questions to ask about all the animals. One hour surely was not enough. However, it was fun to have them visit our school. Hopefully, the zoo will come back soon and show us other animals!
A special thank you to our parent volunteer drivers who took a morning off to drive our students to the Limerick school.