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P.T. Reptile Show brings exotic animals to kids at local libraries

Reptile Pete charms kids and adults with his show of snakes, lizards, and dragons –

Story and photos by Patricia Beech –

Cutline 3:  It takes this whole group of uneasy young men to handle this Yellow Albino Python during a special presentation on Monday at the Peebles Library

Cutline 4:   Though with perhaps a little trepidation, this young lady handles a 20-lb. African Tortoise.

Peter Rushton, Owner of PT Rushton Reptiles, allows a blue-tongued skink to get up and personal with this young man during his presentation at the Peebles Library on July 25.
Peter Rushton, Owner of PT Rushton Reptiles, allows a blue-tongued skink to get up and personal with this young man during his presentation at the Peebles Library on July 25.

Young people at the Seaman and Peebles library branches on  Monday, July 25 were treated to a visit from Reptile Pete Rushton and  his collection of exotic animals. Children sat wide-eyed on the floor,  surrounding the native Australian as he introduced several tropical  reptiles, inviting the youngsters to touch and hold the animals.

Not your typical headwear as this young lady models the latest fashion, a Bearded Dragon.
Not your typical headwear as this young lady models the latest fashion, a Bearded Dragon.

The species in Rushton’s menagerie included a black and orange  corn snake from the southeastern United States; a three-year old  yellow albino Burmese python; a Russian tortoise; a twenty pound  African tortoise; a bearded dragon from Australia; and a blue-tongued  skink from Australia and Indonesia.

Rushton features his unique collection of tropical animals in  over 450 shows a year across southern Ohio. “Being comfortable with  reptiles comes down to knowledge,” he says. “If you’re passionate  about something, you’ll learn everything you can about it, you make  yourself familiar with things like the animal’s temperament and  feeding habits.”
Rushton’s interest in animals has been a life-long adventure. “I  took my own sons, Peter and Taylor, to creeks and ravines to search  for reptiles when they were young,” he said. “We started our own  collection, and my sons would take them to school to share with their  teachers and other students.”
After spending nearly three decades in the corporate world,  Rushton left his six-figure job behind in 2003 to pursue his dream of  working with animals and children.
“I’ve been able to mesh my passions  together and do something I love every day of the week,” he says.  “Kids respond very well to this program, they really listen once you  get their attention and get them focused.”
All of Rushton’s animals are captive bred, and he impresses upon  children the importance of not removing animals from their native  environment. “Because of animals being on the endangered list, or  diminishing because of changes in their habitats, anyone who wants a  pet should buy only those bred in captivity,” he says.
The animals featured in the P.T. Reptiles Show are all native to  tropical climates, and are kept in cages, behind two locked doors, in  a fully ventilated, climate-controlled environment set at 87 degrees  year-round.

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