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Creature Carnival

When: Sunday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Zoo Creatures Pet Store and New England Reptile Distributors, 149 Plaistow Road, Plaistow
Cost: Free
Visit: newenglandreptile.com




Kingdom of critters
New England Reptile Distributors hosts free family event

07/13/17
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



 Rare and exotic animals you don’t often see as household pets will take center stage at the annual Creature Carnival.

It’s the largest annual event for Zoo Creatures Pet Store and New England Reptile Distributors in Plaistow, with around 2,000 attendees gathering outside the grounds. This year’s carnival is happening on Sunday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and everything is free.
“It’s usually kind of like a block party ... outdoors on our facility grounds,” Heather McAtamney of Zoo Creatures Pet Store said. “We’ve been doing it for the past four or five years and every year it gets bigger and more extravagant.”
Visitors will get to see reptiles, amphibians and more up close, and there will be crafts, games and a bounce house.
Animals from New England Reptile Distributors have appeared for several other smaller educational demonstrations at farms, Boy Scout camps, schools and even birthday parties. But McAtamney said the Creature Carnival is where the biggest congregation of reptilian species assembles each year.
“We often bring out some of our larger snakes and lizards, and more of a variety of them as well,” she said. “What we’ll usually do is set up big tents [on the grounds] and have the animals constantly out, so people get a chance to learn about them and get up close and personal with them.”
Reptile expert Kevin McCurley started New England Reptile Distributors more than 30 years ago out of his apartment. With a downstairs pet store and an upstairs breeding facility, New England Reptile Distributors ships exotic reptiles to customers worldwide and today is the world’s leading breeder of the Asian water monitor.
It’s from the upstairs part of the business where you will see most of the animals make appearances at the carnival, according to McAtamney — species from Indonesia, South America, Africa and other overseas regions.
“We’ll definitely have our Asian water monitors down [for the event],” she said, “and we’ll also have some reticulated pythons, some ball pythons, some cobras, and our 200-year-old alligator snapping turtle.”
Highlights of the event include a venomous reptiles presentation, in which staff members will explain which species of snakes and lizards produce venom and how it is used.
But carnival goers won’t just learn about reptiles. McAtamney said at least three different local K9 rescue groups usually attend to give demonstrations of their own.
“These are groups that train the dogs to work with police departments,” she said, “so people will get a chance to learn how they get trained.”
Other ongoing activities during the carnival will include face-painting, music, pony rides, a bounce house and a craft station for kids to make their own tie-dye T-shirts. Zoo Creatures Pet Store will also be offering a one-day-only sale. 





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