Interesting zoo animals visit library

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Children zoom in for a look at a Fire-Bellied Toad, held by Education Specialist Jamie Williams from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, during a visit from several zoo animals at the Cassville Branch Library last Thursday. The toad has a black and green back, and a bright red belly. Williams said its bright color keeps them safe from predators because it warns them of their foul taste. When threatened by a predator, the toad arches its back, raising its front and back legs to show its bright red belly to send the message, "You really don't want to eat me." The species can be found in Europe and areas of Asia. Williams took time to give every child in the room an up-close-and-personal look at the toad, which, as an exotic species, may be something they would never see otherwise. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Children zoom in for a look at a Fire-Bellied Toad, held by Education Specialist Jamie Williams from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, during a visit from several zoo animals at the Cassville Branch Library last Thursday.

Jamie Williams, education specialist with Dickerson Park Zoo of Springfield, shows fascinated children a Lesser Sulfur-crested Cockatoo, during a presentation about zoo animals at the Cassville Branch Library Thursday, to which she brought several live friends to meet the children. Williams explained how cockatoos are a very intelligent bird species that have been known to copy human words, but emphasized it "takes practice" for the birds to perfect words, using the example that people must practice to get good at something, too. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com
Dickerson Park Zoo Education Specialist Jamie Williams lets Raegan Doucet, left, 5, and Riley Doucet, 5, twins from Cassville, see what it feels like to touch a brightly-colored Milk snake. The snake, whose name is Mimic, Williams said, is often mistaken for a venomous Coral snake, which it closely mimics with its similar pattern. Williams explained to children in her presentation that some animals use bright colors to warn predators to stay away, because they are poisonous. In this case, the Milk snake uses mimicry, she said, to fool its enemies and thereby prevent it from getting eaten. An easy way to remember the name of the snake, she explained, was the snake's pattern looks like Oreo cookies on their side, which go great with milk. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com
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