A three-legged, 150-pound alligator stole the show at Exhibition Park this weekend.
“There’s no blood in the (missing) leg area so it feels all squishy and on her back is spikey with all the scales,” said Ryan Baker, 10, who was one of the lucky kids who got to pet Lady-Chomps-A-Lot yesterday.
Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo from Ottawa was in town on the weekend attracting hundreds to see roaming turtles, 200-pound pythons, and of course, Ms. Chomps-A-Lot. She lost her leg in an alligator fight.
So was it scary petting an alligator?
“No,” Baker said. “I love animals.”
Nine-year-old Bradley Goguen said the alligator felt “rough and weird” and that snakes were his favourite animal there.
“Because they move and feel weird. They’re cool.”
It was definitely a kid-friendly event, although many adults seemed just as curious — but not as brave.
Doing his best to imitate a tree for a 40-pound yellow anaconda, handler Sylvain Clairoux said it’s been his experience that kids are braver than adults when it comes to petting snakes.
“Kids are usually really good,” he said. “The adults really get frightened because they’ve heard all these stories about snakes and they really don’t want (to) touch it.”
Part of the work they do is bust the snakes-are-scary myth, he added.
“A lot of adults touching snakes for the first time find that they’re not slimy, cold and ugly,” Clairoux said. “A lot of people are going home reducing their fears of snakes.”
As for the anaconda, he was cool hanging out.
“He’s been doing this for a long time so he’s really used to having people around touching him. Obviously we’re not going to touch him around the face, but he just basically wraps around me like I was a tree.”