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When you hear the word "reptile," which ones do you think of first?

It's easy to think of the big ones, like alligators and crocodiles… honestly, usually the first picture to pop in my head is an iguana. Have I ever actually seen an iguana more than a couple of times? Nope – and definitely never in the wild. Why don't all of our nice Nebraska reptiles ever come to mind first? I must be secretly prejudiced against harmless non-tropical reptiles.

Seriously though, there are actually a good number of reptile species right here in the Omaha area! One of my favorite little snakes is called a prairie ringneck – its body is only as wide as a pencil, and it can grow to just over a foot in length! With a beautiful gray body, a bright orange band around its neck, and a bright yellow belly, it is the prettiest, petite-est snake to be seen around here. Another of my favorite reptiles is the painted turtle… not very petite, but still striking to look at! Its striped head and limbs and intricately patterned shell makes it really stand out as it rests on a patch of sunshine.

If you are ready for more reptile fun, join us at Hands-on-Habitat on October 16, anytime between 9:30 am and 11:30 am, right here at Fontenelle Forest. As always, we'll have some indoor interactive stations for you and your child to explore together, as well as an art activity and space for free play. But don't forget to tell us you're coming by registering for Hands-on-Habitat on the ParentSavvy website.

Between snakes, turtles, and skinks, there are so many beautiful and virtually harmless reptiles to celebrate, right here where we live. Don't miss out on this fun morning – see you at Hands-on-Habitat!

Lindsay Cooley

from Fontenelle Forest

Lindsay is an environmental educator at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue. She was born and raised in Omaha, and is happy to be back after spending the past four years interning and working at various nature centers around the country. Lindsay has a background in environmental science, and is passionate about cultivating a love of the natural world in children and adults alike. When she's not cutting out craft materials or taking kids on hikes, Lindsay loves birdi ...

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