Invited guests

Only these visitors acted like animals while at Eisenhower Elementary School

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Erie Zoo Off-Grounds Coordinator Amy Heisler holds Archie, a one-year-old striped skunk, Tuesday during a visit to Eisenhower Elementary School.

From a skink to a skunk, there were some special visitors at Eisenhower Elementary School on Tuesday.

The Erie Zoo, in a collaboration with the Nutrition Group, sent some envoys to meet with students.

Nutrition Group’s Michelle Marker related the special diets the animals eat at the zoo to the food choices kids can make at school. “It’s a great program at no cost to the district,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”

Erie Zoo Off-Grounds Coordinator Amy Heisler said she selected animals with a variety of diets for the presentation.

Heisler and Docent Dawn Layden took the animals around the auditorium. Students got close looks at each, but were not allowed to touch the animals.

There was Right, the female yellow-footed tortoise. Heisler said she is 16 years old, weighs about 40 pounds, and is an omnivore. Her sisters are Center and Left, with distinguishing marks on those parts of their shells.

Archie the striped skunk is also an omnivore. “They can eat almost anything,” Heisler said.

She explained that Archie had had his sprayer removed.

Students asked if he still tries to spray. “He stomps his feet, he raises his tail, he throws a little fit, but nothing comes out,” Heisler said.

The herbivore example was a prehensile-tailed skink — a two-foot long lizard — named Mushu. The 17-year-old lizard is a native of the Solomon Islands.

Delilah, a six-foot corn snake, was the only example of a carnivore. Like the skunk, corn snakes can be found locally. Delilah came from a pet store.

Prior to the assembly, students had a zoo-themed lunch, with broccoli trees and parrot carrots, Marker said.

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