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Reptile Rampage

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Tags: reptiles, turtles, alligators, snakes, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Academy of Sciences

Created: 3/11/2013      Updated: 8/10/2016

On Sunday March 10th we were invited to represent the institution at the Reptile Rampage in Lake Forest. This is a great event organized by Rob Carmichael from the Wildlife Discovery Center that opens up the often greatly misunderstood world of reptiles to a large public audience.

We made a horribly early start (did I happen to mention how much I hate daylight savings time?) and got our vehicle loaded up to the gunnels with everything that a bunch of endangered turtle species could possibly need for a day out.

You think taking children on the road is complicated? Rubbermaid containers, check. Coco husk substrate, check. Buckets, check.  Heat lamps, check. Hand sanitizer, check. Basking stones, check. Aquatic vegetation, check. Water bowls, check. The list goes on and on.

Setting tubs up for Reptile Rampage

We transported our precious cargo successfully and everyone arrived safe and sound and the right way up! (Bob our Blanding’s Turtle has a habit of flipping himself over when traveling!) We then got everyone set up for their day. And although I say it myself, our little display looked pretty good. I decided to focus on endangered turtle species as we have some great specimens in our living collections. It also ties in very well with our upcoming Tea with the Turtles event.

Nature Museum table set up at Reptile Rampage

We were surrounded by every ectotherm you could ever want to meet, not least of course was the delightful Bubba. Bubba is a remarkably mellow alligator who is well known at all the big reptile shows and is very accepting of his celebrity status and the endless stream of people who line up to be thrilled and photographed, standing next to him.

Bubba the alligator

There were so many beautiful animals on display and a lot of great information on offer from what to consider if you decide to get a reptile as a pet to how you can help to protect threatened species.

  • Large Boa Constrictor
  • Large Iguana
  • Swimming turtle

We spoke to many of the thousands of visitors who streamed through the door throughout the day, many of whom were surprised to learn that we had endangered turtle species right here in Illinois. Of course our chelonian representatives were the true stars. Many thanks to Opal, Onyx, Bob, August and October, we couldn’t have done it without you.

  • Onyx the ornate box turtle
  • Bob the Blanding's turtle

For more information about our Tea with the Turtles event, check out our Children & Family program page.

Celeste Troon, Director of Living Collections


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