Milwaukee County Parks
Press Release

Reptile Day Returns to Wehr Nature Center June 10

General admission for Reptile Day is $3 per person, $2 per Friends of Wehr member. Parking is $3.50 per car.

By - Jun 5th, 2018 04:10 pm
At Reptile Day, June 10, a variety of turtles, snakes, and lizards will meet the public. Photo from Milwaukee County Parks.

Can you find the turtle? On May 2, a female snapping turtle was stuck in the rocks near a waterfall at Wehr Nature Center. She was rescued, given a clean bill of health, and released.
At Reptile Day, June 10, a variety of turtles, snakes, and lizards will meet the public. Photo from Milwaukee County Parks.

MILWAUKEE – Meeting snakes, turtles, and lizards—up close and personal—is in store at Reptile Day, June 10, from 1–4 p.m., at Wehr Nature Center, 9701 W. College Ave..

Families will see and learn about a variety of reptiles and amphibians from Wisconsin and around the world. Experts, including wildlife biologist Randy Hetzel and members of the Madison Area Herpetological Society, will present their animals, give visitors the opportunity to touch or hold the critters, answer questions about reptiles in the wild, and discuss responsible ownership of reptiles as pets.

In addition to the critter show-and-tell, Milwaukee County Parks staff and volunteers will lead nature hikes, at 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., in search of basking turtles, croaking frogs, and sunning snakes.

Some of the Wisconsin species to be exhibited include the Common Snapping Turtle, Blue-spotted Salamander, and Timber Rattlesnake. Exotic species to be exhibited include the Amazon Tree Boa, Ball Python, and Spiny-tailed lizard.

A variety of children’s reptile-themed craft activities will complete the event.

Refreshments will be available for purchase.

“There’s a lot of myth and half-truths out there when it comes snakes, turtles, and frogs,” said Wehr Naturalist Howard Aprill. “Reptiles and amphibians are important parts of our ecosystem. At Reptile Day, we share tips on how to peacefully co-exist with these misunderstood neighbors.”

Guidelines for Reptile- and Amphibian-Friendly Yards
Aprill offers these guidelines for establishing a reptile- and amphibian-friendly yard.

  • Avoid using glue traps for rats and mice. While the traps work on rodents, they also capture insect-eating frogs and rodent-consuming snakes.
  • Use pesticides sparingly. If you must use them, follow the instructions on the pesticide container. It is against the law to use a pesticide in any other way.
  • Avoid using nylon netting for erosion control. The netting can trap frogs and snakes
  • Do not relocate animals to your yard. The translocation of reptiles and amphibians can spread disease to the new population with little resistance. Instead, attract frogs by making the habitat inviting to them.

Tips When Interacting with Reptiles and Amphibians in the Wild
The Madison Area Herpetological Society offers these tips.

  • Move slowly when approaching snakes and turtles. Both will move away quickly when startled. If you want to handle them, do so with care. Snakes may release a strong odorous musk and may bite.
  • Before touching any amphibian, such as a salamander or frog, make sure your hands are wet and free of any chemicals. The animal’s skin can absorb anything on your hands, and if your hands are dry, you will dry out the amphibian.
  • If you found an animal under a rock or other object, pour water next to the object and set the animal gently in the water so it can make its way back. Do not put the object on top of the animal to avoid crushing it.
  • Do not keep the animals you find. They don’t always transfer into captivity well and often die. Regulations prohibit the capture of many animals. Take pictures, enjoy meeting the animals, but leave them in the wild.

General admission for Reptile Day is $3 per person, $2 per Friends of Wehr member. Parking is $3.50 per car.

For more information call Wehr Nature Center at (414) 425-8550.

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