By Jessie Forand/ECHO  This brave soul is Logan Fox. She made some new friends at ECHO on Saturday in these Madagascar hissing co...

Wildlife Encounters at MudFest


By Jessie Forand/ECHO 

This brave soul is Logan Fox. She made some new friends at ECHO on Saturday in these Madagascar hissing cockroaches. After learning about the difference in appearance of male and female varieties, she offered herself up as playground for the critters. 

Thanks to Logan, we now know that cockroaches may bite, as is the case with any animal, but they DO NOT eat children. 

Here are some of the other exciting animals we were introduced to by Wildlife Ecounters

Giant Argentine Tegu Lizard 

These lizards are a non-native invasive species, not unlike the plants and animals that have made their way into Lake Champlain.

Named Monster, this creature is a South American native but related to the Gila monster and the Mexican  beaded lizard.

The tegu's skin is both smooth and bumpy - kind of like mud! - and is similar to humans' fingernails.

Tegu lizards use mud to look for food, they find bugs to eat, dig and burrow, and use the dirty stuff to treat skin illnesses and wounds.

Monster was rescued by the Upper Valley Reptile Group after living in a fish tank in Vermont. He was underweight and sick.

African Giant Bullfrog: 

"Jelly Belly" the bullfrog is one year old and weighs less than 1 lb. When he's done growing, he could weigh  up to 10 lbs. 

Living in sub-Saharan Africa, these frogs rely on the rainy season to create a more temporary version of Lake Champlain. Once the land is flooded, mothers lay between 2,000 and 4,000 eggs, then leave. The fathers guard the eggs

As the "lake" begins to evaporate, the fathers must dig trenches to make sure the eggs don't dry up and their growing tadpoles stay safe. 

These guys use the mud in another way, too. Before it dries up after the rainy season, they dig themselves down into the mud, which then dries around them. They stay in these muddy enclosures for 6-9 months, waiting for the next rainy season. 

Sulcata Tortoise:

This guy's name is "Frodo." Wildlife Encounter's Derek Small shared  mud-tastic story: The creatures are known for digging in the mud, creating burrows and constantly just throwing dirt around. A while ago Frodo decided to go into a previously dug burrow and was hiding out there. When Small noticed the overnight temperatures, expected to dip below zero, he knew Frodo couldn't stay outside underground. 

Eventually Megan, a high school senior who works for the company, and very tall, Small said, climbed in after the tortoise to pull it out! 
When she emerged, Megan was nice and muddy. 

Mini Pig: 

Last but not least, we have all heard about pigs loving mud. They use the dirty stuff to protect their skin and as a sunscreen. And they're pretty cute! 

See more photos here and keep an eye out for Wildlife Encounters' next ECHO visit! 

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