Peterborough United Methodist Church hosts reptile program

  • Daniel Wilson, 8, holds a 7-foot-long carpet python. —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

  • Alex Hartley from Reptile Shows of New England shows off an African bullfrog to a crowd of 80 community members.  —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

  • Tori Anderson, Lucy-Ann Hadler and Joe Hadler pose with a python over 8 feet long.  —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

  • Daniel Wilson and other community members have a personal encounter with an African bullfrog. —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/8/2022 11:06:29 AM

After engaging with several snakes ranging from 3 to 7 feet long, 8-year-old Daniel Wilson described his experience in three words: “cool,” “awesome” and “scary.” 

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Peterborough United Methodist Church hosted Alex Hartley from Reptile Shows of New England to showcase unique, cold-blooded creatures to more than 80 community members. The collection of species from Africa, Australia and the United States included a California kingsnake, a banana boa constrictor, leopard and crusted geckos, the African bullfrog and the largest mainland tortoise in the world, the African spurred tortoise. Jaws dropped, eyes widened and smiles formed every time Hartley revealed his next reptile. 

Youth leader Linda Wallenstein said the purpose of the free event was bring the community together in a new and exciting way. 

“With COVID-19, so many families are isolated and church services are smaller,” said Wallenstein. “It’s a way to get people together.”

During the presentation, Hartley demonstrated each animal’s unique adaptations. According to Hartley, the crusted gecko creates static electricity from the hundreds of little hairs on its limbs to latch onto surfaces. In addition, the non-venomous banana boa constrictor survives on one large meal every two weeks. Most importantly, every reptile on display has never bit or attacked an audience member. 

After caring for these creatures for over a decade, Hartley said his mission is to share his passion with the community, up close and personal. 

“I think it’s about helping people overcome their fears and build a new appreciation for wildlife,” said Hartley.

For the grand finale, community members had the chance to hold a python over 8 feet long. 

“It’s pretty fun,” said Daniel after posing for a photo with the snake. “I’m grateful to be here.”

According to Wallenstein, the church is planning to host more free events for the community in the near future. 


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