Radical Reptiles gives new appreciation for local creepy crawlies

GIBBON, Neb. (KSNB) - Slithering around in the grass, hiding under rocks, or swimming in the water are all kinds of reptiles in Nebraska and the Audubon Rowe Sanctuary wants kids not to fear them.

The Audubon Rowe Sanctuary held a Radical Reptiles event to show kids they don't have to be afraid of the reptiles in their own backyard. (KSNB)

“Most people that come in say 'oh I am afraid of snakes or I don't want to touch turtles' we will have at least try to touch one before they left and they're happy about it and they're not scared anymore,” Zoozeum Volunteer Chloe Griffith said.

The Radical Reptiles program takes kids out on the trails to see what is living in the wild. Parents help their kids find lizards and frogs with the help of a volunteer. They want to show them there are interesting animals not too far from home.

“The more you get people used to something like a snake the less likely they're going to be afraid of it and less likely they are going to want to kill it and really appreciate their role in the ecosystem,” Sanctuary Education Manager Beka Yates said.

Snakes in the wild help with rodent populations and lizards reduce the bugs. the Zoozeum in Kearney helps rescue native animals or reptile pets people may not want anymore. Some parents grew up seeing these animals and had no idea what they were.

“Just because these are your animals in your backyard,” Griffith said. “But once they actually get to hold them and learn a little bit about them I think it's a really good experience for kids.”

Sanctuary volunteers hope kids will head home and have a new appreciation for their local reptiles.