Exotic animal day in Byram at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

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The tortoise slowly made its way to the encircling kids, as the Animal Embassy “Bringing Life to Education” naturalist said, “She’s on tortoise time.” The Sulcata tortoise named “Sahara”and many other “exotic” animals were introduced yesterday to the dozen kids during their week of arts and crafts and story telling at the St. Paul Lutheran Church Vacation Bible School in Byram.

A four week old duck was introduced as “Shamu.” “Say hello to Shamu,” said the naturalist Jenn Torres to the children. The duck promptly quacked. “He so thinks he’s human,” said Torres who spoke of becoming the ducks’ “mother” at its birth.  “Duck’s bond to whomever they are with at their birth.” Torres handed out lettuce leaves for the kids to feed to Shamu.

Shamu feasted on the lettuce leaves as the boys and girls from 4-12 were told how ducks sometimes have “angel wings,” feathers that stick out and can’t be straightened. “They can fly alright, but the feathers stick out,” she said. “If they’re too big inside the egg, they have scrunch up inside, so some feathers get bent about.”

In keeping with the  Vacation Bible School theme of “Gangway to Galilee,” the next animal introduced was a desert dwellers similar to those in Israel – there was the lizard, Chunky, a Red Nigerian Uromastyx. “This lizard does not drink water,” said Torres, who explained how he got his water. “We feed him giant salads.”

For more information on the St. Paul Lutheran Church Vacation Bible School, contact Director Sue Cassano at 203-869-5787.

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