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Odd Animals Come to the Ruth Keeler Library

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Naturalist Deborah Mumford and her daughter Wendy played to a full house on Tuesday when they presented " The Nature of Things " to children at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library .

The audience watched as the Mumfords introduced live turtles, frogs, snakes, hedgehogs, chinchillas, strange insects and a handsome rooster named Mr. Waddles.

The children were so enthusiastic that Deborah had to caution them to stay outside the tape barrier on the floor. The kids were anxious to get a closer look or to reach out and pet an animal. Most important of all, however, was learning each critter's name. The two chinchillas were Sophie and Sophia. The tarantula was Rosie.

Tarantulas, the audience learned, live in the ground. They have all that hair for protection. They do bite though the bite is not poisonous and is more like a bee sting. Tarantulas live in Mexico, South America and Texas.

Hedgehogs roll into a ball when they are frightened.

Chinchillas call the Peruvian Andes home. They clean themselves by rolling in the dust, as birds often do.

Zach Bertolino, 10, and his sister, Siena, 6, liked the chinchillas most. Siena commented on its fluffiness and Zach called it, "cool."

Ella Dallow, 5, and her sister, Maya, 7, also voted for the chinchilla because it was "so soft."

Lily Doerr, 10, said the chinchilla, "feels like a cloud. I thought it would be like petting a cat, but it wasn't. I hated the big, big frog. It was so creepy."

Genevieve Aldrich, 4, apparently speaking of the hedgehog, said, "I liked the porcupine because it had that little piece of white on it. The thing I didn't like was the toad. It looked mad."

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