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They have scales and snouts and shells. They stick out their
tongues or shed their skin or snap their jaws. They come in every
color of the rainbow, and some are even able to change their color
when it suits.
What is this diverse group, which hails from every corner of the
globe? You probably already guessed: reptiles.
At this year's ReptileFest event, you'll get a chance to be
face-to-face with some of the wildest and wackiest species out
there, from iguanas to alligators, turtles to skinks.
ReptileFest, organized by the Chicago Herpetological Society, is
the nation's largest educational reptile and amphibian show.
Exhibitors bring more than 200 species from around the world, many
of which are ready and willing to pose for a photo. And even if
you're a little too squeamish to don a 15-foot snake Britney
Spears-style, there are plenty of less intimidating creatures
waiting for their close-up. (Don't worry, the animals that are able
to be held are completely safe; the venomous ones stay behind
The purpose of the show is education (no animals are offered for
sale), so be on the lookout for favorite kid-friendly exhibitors
like The Frog Lady and the Herps of Illinois, who are always happy
to answer questions and let you meet their scaly friends.
And above all else, be bold. Reptiles may come in all shapes and
sizes-some of which are frankly intimidating-but they all have a
lot to teach us about unusual beauty and taking care of the creepy,
crawly creatures of this world.
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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