Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Critter Camp 2013

Back in May, I heard about a camp that is held in one of the local junior high schools for elementary students.  The biology teacher at that school started the camp years ago to teach kids about animals.  He loves animals and has literally hundreds of them!  He has tarantulas, bearded dragons, blue tongued skinks, mexican king snakes, Russian tortoise, cockatiels, parrots, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, rats, African pigmy headgehogs, etc.  The mom that told me about the camp raved about it.  I told Leah about it as well, and we lovingly nicknamed it Critter Camp.  ;)

We decided to sign up Maggie & Clayton for the last week in June.  Then we recruited Leah's niece and nephew as well.  Such a cute little group of campers...

The kids spent the week learning about all different kinds of animals - snakes, mammals, birds, insects, lizards, turtles, etc.  They learned about their habitats, diets, mannerisms, etc.  They also got to interact with them and feed them.  They even dissected a squid.  Pretty cool!

Thursday was the grand finale day when the kids were declared Junior Caretakers and they got to "check out" an animal for the weekend.  They had filled out their preferences and the parents had to sign the form.  I knew that Clayton had requested a Ball Python as his first choice.  After discussing it with Wade, I reluctantly signed the form.  I thought it would be a tiny snake that would stay in its cage the entire time.  It couldn't be that bad, right?

Clayton was ecstatic at noon on Thursday to tell me that he would be able to take Diamond the Ball Python home for the weekend.  I did not share his excitement.  ;)

I walked into the school to see what we were in for.  I had heard all about Rosie the Burmese Python.  Clayton told me that she was 14 feet long and she hung out in a baby pool in the hallway.  I was certain that he was mistaken.

By this point I was sweating it a bit.  Just how big would our snake be?  The teenage helpers lead us back to where the animals were.  Drew liked this huge turtle (tortoise???).
 Then they showed us Diamond, our pet for the week.  What a surprise - she was much bigger than I expected and they assured me that Clayton could play with her as much as he wanted and she would not bite him.  She is a "code green" animal.  IDK.

We took Diamond home and Clayton was in hog heaven.  He carried her around all weekend and even sat with her in his lap while he was watching TV.  Yowsa.  I kept a safe distance and refused all of Clayton's offers to touch Diamond/hold her.  No way, Homie.  Not this girl.

 The backpack hold

I became kind of desensitized to Diamond by the end of the week.  She just kinda hung out - nothing too exciting.  She didn't stink at all and only pottied a tiny bit in her cage.  Clayton loved her and was sad to take her back to the school this morning.  
Just before we dropped her off, I decided to play cool mom and hold Diamond.  I'm pretty sure that Clayton has never loved me more.  Ha!  He snapped a quick picture and then I dumped Diamond back in her cage and frantically looked for antibacterial wipes.  ;)

Clayton LOVED the experience and we will definitely sign up again next year.  I'm just going to start praying now that he chooses something that isn't covered in scales.  ;)


Gran said...

Did he have to be fed? What did he eat? You are a brave moma! Boys are really different from girls. You are a GREAT guy moma.

Holly said...

I love that pic of you and Diamond! You're such a natural holding babies, but I've never seen this side of you. :) I'm glad Clayton had so much fun!

Matt and Cindy Fleharty said...

SARAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! You have me scared about my future as a boy mom. I don't think I can make the cut if this is required!