By Brian L. Brink
“Snakes are the devil,” said Nick Mott at the reptile exhibit on campus last Friday, Feb. 9.
Thiel College put together a “Reptile Farm” in Weyers Lounge with the help of The Herps Alive Foundation, a non-profit charity dedicated to saving unwanted reptiles and amphibians. During the two hours in which the exhibition ran many students came to see, learn about, and hold reptiles.
There were some students like Mott who said he didn’t mind the reptiles while in they were in their terrariums. While others like his friend sophomore Kaila Carolus, who said she had five reptiles and snakes at home and already knew how to handle them. However, most students weren’t as experienced with them but still wanted to pick up the snakes.
Kira Snyder fell in the that last category and after said, “In a rural town like Greenville a lot of students wouldn’t have had the chance to necessarily even see these animals, let alone hold or handle them.”
Snyder held a corn snake and petted the bearded dragon and a skink. Other animals that were at the exhibition were boa constrictors, turtles, a ball python and a baby alligator. Most of which could be petted or held, with the handler’s permission.
The handler, Keith Gisser, said that he loves putting on shows and that “it’s not only good for the animals but also the people who get to lean about and handle them.” He then went on to say that it was easy for him to get to Thiel because he only had to take route 322 from South Euclid, OH to get here.
Gisser serves as executive director of the foundation and has over thirty years of experience working with these animals. He has presented on over 200 colleges across the country since 1990.
Herps Alive acts as an adoption center for the animals they rescue. They also sell all the all the equipment and supplies one would need to take care of whatever animal they adopt. Gisser said that at the end of 2017 they rescued over 200 frogs from one place and had them all adopted within six weeks.