“Creepy Critters” assembly held by WildLIFE Associates


WildLIFE Associates representative Michelle Durant holds Tally, the alligator, while explaining the history of American alligators. A projector displayed the creatures on a larger screen so that the students could get a better view.

During the assembly period today, several advisory groups attended an optional assembly held by WildLIFE Associates entitled “Creepy Critters,” which highlighted reptiles.

While not all students went to the assembly, those in attendance learned about and viewed five animals: a California desert tortoise, an American alligator, a rose hair tarantula, a black throated monitor lizard, and a boa constrictor.

WildLIFE Associates is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the public “to care for living things and to understand the natural systems on which all life depends,” according to its website. Last year, the organization held a similar talk focused on mammals.

“[The presentation] was pretty cool. I learned a lot about animals that I didn’t know,” Arthur Shau (11) said.

Representative Michelle Durant started off the assembly with a brief introduction of reptiles and their common characteristics. Then, she individually introduced each animal and explained its background and unique features, as well as how it came to live with WildLIFE Associates.

The tortoise, Mr. Tank, attracted the most attention with an unusual past experience. When Mr. Tank tried to escape from a family that forcibly took him from the wild, the family painted their phone number on his shell and chained his shell to prevent any further attempt. However, Mr. Tank’s second escape was successful, and he was sent to WildLIFE Associates after receiving treatment from an animal hospital.

Senior Shreya Vemuri, whose favorite animal was the tortoise, appreciated that ASB officers worked to set up a specific time for students to be with their advisories in an environment different from the usual Thursday meetings.

“I thought it would just be a viewing of the animals, but I like how they provided information as well,” she said. “Overall, I thought it was creative and something different.”

Although Kristen Park (9), another fan of the tortoise, enjoyed the assembly, she would have preferred an overall different choice of animals.

“It was interesting I guess [but] it was kind of boring at some parts,” she said. “[I would go again] if the animals were cuter.”

Durant ended the presentation by emphasizing the differences between reptiles and humans; despite these diversities, she pointed out that reptiles are critical for human survival and need to be respectfully protected by humans.