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Boas and Owls and Tortoises, oh my

Dale Thompson Of the Record staff
Delaney Duncan, 2, looks cautiously at the armadillo from Utah s Hogle Zoo as it comes out of its shell.
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It’s a jungle in here.

The Eccles Center wanted to expose children to animals even if they didn’t have tickets to see Jungle Jack Hannah perform on Saturday night.

A hands-on outreach activity was presented by Hogle Zoo at the Eccles Center on Friday. First-and second-graders from McPolin Elementary and Park City High School nursery school children attended the event.

They learned about six animals, including the great horned owl.

Rebecca Egberit, a member of Hogle Zoo’s education staff, started the presentation by asking what some of the students favorite animals were. Children responded with everything from giraffes to rabbits.

Then Egberit brought out what she called her favorite animal, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

"This animal wears its skeleton on the outside of its body," she explained to students.

Many of them were hesitant to touch the large insect as she walked around the room with it cradled in her hand.

Next Susanne Blockburger, volunteer coordinator for the zoo, brought out a red tailed boa constrictor. It coiled around her hands as she told students that some types of boas grow to be 18 feet long, while the rubber boa in Park City usually reaches 1 foot in length.

Egberit taught the group about Three Banded Armadillos as she held one in her hands.

"They can fit together like a puzzle," she said as it slowly uncurled from a ball.

An endangered South Desert tortoise was presented followed by a great horned owl named Thor. Blockburger told students that owls cough up pellets after they eat mice.

"The best way to find an owl is to look on the ground," she said because that’s where the pellets end up.

The last animal shown to students was the North American opossum. "Some of you might be strict candy eaters but most of you are omnivores (like the opossum)," Egberit said.

The children were excited to see the animals.

"I liked the turtle, he has a very good shell," Zach Brown said.

Hector Jaimez explained the owl was his favorite for a number of reasons. "I loved the owl ‘cuz he’s cute. They fly and eat mice and climb on trees," he said.


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