Enjoy an interactive and educational show that will provide a lifetime’s worth of memories of a variety of exotic critters from around the world. Featuring geckos, skinks, dragons, snakes, tortoises, amphibians, insects, arachnids, invertebrates, marsupials and more. Our entertaining and enthusiastic staff will introduce your students to the exciting world of these exotic creatures and give them the  opportunity to meet each one up close. Shows are structured to appeal to all ages and we have packages for all group sizes.

Daycare and Pre-School Programs: We have provided educational and entertaining programs for well over 100 daycare centres and pre-school groups. Your children will never forget their first encounter with a bearded dragon or a rainbow boa!

Elementary School Programs: As with all other educational programs we provide, programs for elementary schools are directly linked to the Manitoba curriculum. Our presentations introduce and reinforce the concepts that
students are learning in class and they will learn how to apply their already existing knowledge to the outside world.

Secondary School Programs: The educational programs provided for your students are tightly linked to the science curriculum. The dynamic and captivating reptiles and amphibians we bring into your classroom will increase the
richness of your students’ educational experience.

Post Secondary Programs: Programs for post secondary level classes include workshops for students in teachers
college to veterinary medicine and animal care. All programs feature live animals and are provided by qualified
educational instructors.

Home Schooling Programs: Our experienced and knowledgeable educational instructors are experienced addressing audiences of all kinds. Programs for Home Schoolers are rooted in biological science and customized to the needs of your group.


 

Our programs help both children and adults to familiarize themselves with these fascinating animals which as we all know, helps to minimize the usual fear of reptiles that many people grow up with.

When children are growing – they absorb information from every source around them – their parents, environment, TV, friends, and hopefully…some from their teachers! Surprisingly – by the time they are only 5 years of age – about 55% of the ‘Beliefs’ they will hold for the rest of their lives are planted in their subconscious minds.

This means that if they form an incorrect conclusion during their formidable years and their subconscious mind embedded this erroneous belief – they will likely be stuck with a wrong conclusion as the basis of future judgments when their mind accesses this piece of information for guidance. Simply put, if a child’s parents (or anyone close to them) does not like snakes and
exposes the child to this fear before they are 12, they will probably have a fear of snakes.

For this reason, it is especially important to expose young children to these animals before they develop this fear as this is not about a fear of snakes, it is about enabling children in their early years to grow their subconscious beliefs based on facts – not fiction.

Our presentations are a great addition to your MB curriculum:

Grade One—Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
Grade Two—Growth and Changes in Animals
Grade Four—Habitats and Communities
Grade Five—Organ Systems
Grade Six—Diversity of Living Things
Grade Seven—Community Interactions

Specialized  30min classroom presentations:

– Geckos                                       – Rainforests
– Dragons                                     – Deserts
– Snakes
– Amphibians                               *Custom shows available, just let us know what you need!
– Arachnids & Invertebrates


 

We have two presentation options available to accommodate both small & large groups:

Classroom: Our Classroom presentations are best for groups no larger than 30 students, typical group sizes are 15-25 students . The number of students participating in the presentation affects the number of critters they’ll meet as well as the length of time they’ll have to interact with each critter. With this presentation the students will have the chance to ask questions, touch and even hold some of the animals as we do the presentation.

– During the presentations hosts will introduce students to the critters one at a time providing
information about the species before allowing them their opportunity to interact with it.
– Shows for younger children focus on basic species information such as where they are from, what they eat, body parts and other fun facts.
– Shows for older children will provide more detail on proper care,  husbandry, anatomy, as well as
conservation.
– Students  will have the opportunity to touch almost all of the critters that we bring and even hold some as well.

Pricing:  30min Show = $150 | 45min Show = $170 | 60min Show = $190
Receive a $50 discount off each additional show after the first one booked!
Discount only offered for same location and date with no more than 30min between shows

Assembly: Our Assembly presentations are best for groups of 50 or more students and can handle over 100
students during a presentation. We introduce students to a number of different species and cover a variety of topics. Unfortunately due to the number of students participating in these presentations they will not have the opportunity to ask questions, touch or hold animals during the show. We do offer a Meet & Greet option as an addition to your Assembly presentation to allow students a chance to get up close and personal with some of the animals from the show, touch a lizard or snake and ask those burning questions.

Pricing:  30min Show = $150 | 45min Show = $170
Add the optional Meet & Greet for $50 per presentation!

*Taxes included in pricing
*
Travel costs may be charged on round trips over 100km from our location.
Please let us know if you are located outside of Winnipeg.
*25% non-refundable deposit required to confirm booking

Make things even more exciting with our special upgrades!
Options that can be added to your presentation include:
– Add Acai the Leopard Tortoise, a Sugar Glider or Hedgehog for $20/ea

Presentations will feature a variety of animals from each of the following categories: Lizards (Geckos, Dragons, Skinks, Uromastyx), Snakes (Boas, Pythons, Colubrids), Tortoises, Amphibians (Frogs, Toads, Salamanders), Arachnids (Tarantulas/Scorpions), Insects and more! Here’s what you’ll typically see with each package:

30min Presentation

· 2 Geckos

· 1 Lizard

· 2 Snakes

· 1 Amphibian

· 1 Tortoise

· 1 Tarantula/Scorpion

45min Presentation

· 3 Geckos

· 2 Lizards

· 3 Snakes

· 2 Amphibians

· 1 Tortoise

· 1 Tarantula/Scorpion

60min Presentation

· 4 Geckos

· 3 Lizards

· 4 Snakes

· 3 Amphibians

· 1 Tortoise

· 1 Tarantula/Scorpion

*Actual number seen will vary depending on number of students participating

Some of the common species brought to parties are: Bearded Dragons,  Blue Tongue Skinks, Spiny-tailed Lizards, African Fat-tail Geckos, Leopard Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos, Crested Geckos, White’s Tree Frogs, Pacman Frogs, Cane Toads, Corn Snakes, Black Rat Snakes, Gopher Snakes, Ball Pythons, Children’s Pythons, Dumeril’s Boas, Nelson’s Milk Snakes, Brazilian Rainbow Boas, Hermann’s Tortoises, Rose Hair Tarantulas, Gold Knee Tarantulas, Emperor Scorpions and Giant Hissing Cockroaches.

To see our complete collection, information and pictures for the species we keep please check out the Collection section of our website at www.PrairieExotics.ca. If you have a special request to have something brought or left out please let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate. Unfortunately not all animals are available for birthday parties.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will you arrive? Our Hosts arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for the show. This should give them enough time to park, settle the account and get the reptiles ready for the show.

Do I need to pay a deposit? A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your booking. The remaining balance is to be paid in full in either cash or cheque when we arrive to set up for the show. This allows you to get right back to normal class functions after the show and allows us to quickly pack and leave you to your class. Cheques can be made payable to Prairie
Exotics.

Do you need a table? No, we bring our own table and everything we need. The only thing we require is enough space to do the show.

Is the show going to scare any kids? Unfortunately you cannot predict the reaction of every child. Before the kids interact with an animal we first allow everyone to adjust and calm down after it is first brought out. If kids do not want to interact with an animal they will not be pressured in any way. The show is fun and appropriate for all ages, we do not want to scare kids but help eliminate any fears they may have!

Are these animals safe for me & my guests? We have been providing presentations in schools and daycares for 5 years without incident. All animals will defend themselves but the animals that will visit with you were born domestically (some here at Prairie Exotics) and have been with people all their lives. There is absolutely no reason for any concern, after thousands of
parties and appearances as well as hundreds of education programs taught, we have had a perfect record of no incidents.

What age groups are your shows suitable for? We do presentations for all ages from infants to seniors!

How much space do you need to perform? Although we have performed in many different situations and space restrictions we generally ask for an area large enough for everyone to sit comfortably, possibly in a half-circle, so everyone gets to see and
enjoy the show. We recommend that you have enough space so our Host can walk between the kids. Students can also sit in their desks or rows of chairs depending on group size. We will come around to each student.

Can you perform outside? We can do the shows outside weather permitting. Obviously if it’s raining the show needs to be
inside but as long as it’s warm enough or not too warm we can do it outside.

A brief overview of reptiles and amphibians:

Shared characteristics of reptiles and amphibians:
1. Vertebrate animals that have internal skeletons made of bone.
2. Ectothermic.
3. Most do not protect their eggs or young (except crocodilians and a few others).

Differences between reptiles and amphibians:
1. The skin of amphibians is glandular, highly permeable to air and water, and is usually covered in slimy mucus. The skin of reptiles is covered in dry keratin scales and is not very permeable to air or water.
2. Amphibian eggs do not have a shell and are usually laid in water. Reptiles either lay shelled-eggs on land or give birth to live young.
3. Amphibian young are born physiologically different from their adult form and must go through metamorphosis to develop into adults. Reptiles do not go through metamorphosis.

The 4 orders of the class Reptilia: The 3 orders of the class Amphibia:
1. Chelonia – turtles, tortoises 1. Anura – frogs and toads
2. Crocodilia – alligators, caimans, crocodiles, gavials 2. Caudata – newts and salamanders
3. Rhynchocephalia – tuatara 3. Gymnophiona – caecilians
4. Squamata – amphisbaenians, lizards, snakes

Vocabulary words you might hear during the presentation:
• Adaptation: characteristics and behaviours that help an animal or plant survive.
• Albino: an animal that lacks melanin, or dark colors, on its body.
• Amphibian: ectothermic, vertebrate animals (frogs, salamanders & caecilians) that typically have moist, slimy skin, usually lay jelly-like eggs in water, and go through metamorphosis to become adults.
• Amphisbaenians: a group of elongate, snake-like reptiles.
• Antivenin: medicine derived from snake venom used to treat venomous snakebites.
• Caecilians: a group of legless, snake-like amphibians found mostly in the tropics.
• Carnivore: an animal that eats other animals.
• Competition: a demand by two or more individuals for the same resource (food, water, shelter).
• Conservation: protecting natural resources.
• Deforestation: to clear a forest of all trees and vegetation.
• Decomposer: animals that eat decomposing or rotting plants, animals, and animal wastes.
• Ectothermic: (cold blooded) an animal that has a body temperature dependent on the temperature of the environment (reptiles and amphibians are ectothermic).
• Endothermic: (warm blooded) an animal that has the ability to maintain its temperature above the temperature of the surrounding environment (mammals and birds are endothermic).
• Extinct: a species that once existed that has died out completely.
• Fang: a specialized tooth with a closed canal or groove that channels venom into a bite.
• Habitat: a combination of climate, plants, geology and other factors combined to create an animal species home.
• Herbivore: a plant-eating animal. Iguanas and tortoises are herbivores.
• Herp: a reptile or amphibian – from Latin “to creep or to crawl”.
• Herpetology: the scientific study of reptiles and amphibians.
• Hibernation: a state of inactivity or torpor, usually involving physiological changes that many animals enter to survive winter.
• Keratin: hard, tough material that makes up reptile scales, mammal hair, and bird feathers.
• Metamorphosis: a process of physiological change that some animals (including amphibians) go through to become an adult.
• Invertebrate: an animal that does not have a backbone or spine.
• Natural Resources: material supplied by nature.
• Niche: the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
• Nocturnal: animals that are active at night and sleep during the day.
• Photosynthesis: the ability of plants and certain other organisms to create complex organic materials (including sugar) by using sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and inorganic salts.
• Poisonous: an organism that contains a substance that can cause irritation, illness, or death if another organism handles or eats it. Most amphibians are poisonous.
• Reptile: ectothermic, vertebrate animals (snakes, lizards, crocodilians, turtles, tuataras) that have dry, scaly skin and lay eggs with a shell or give birth to live young.
• Species: groups of plants or animals that reproduce young like themselves.
• Territory: an area within a larger environment that an individual protects from invasion from others of the same species. Iguanas will fight to protect their territory.
• Tropics (tropical): region of our planet lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, 23-27 degrees north or south of the equator.
• Tuatara: a reptile resembling, but not related to, a lizard – Tuataras live on islands near New Zealand.
• Vertebrate: an animal with a backbone or spine.
• Vomeronasal Organ/Jacobson’s Organ: a sensory organ usually located in the roof of the mouth that helps an animal taste or smell its environment.


 

Reptiles and Salmonella

Abstract – Reptiles are known to have Salmonella bacteria in their digestive tract, which can cause salmonellosis in humans. However, birds and mammals, including humans also frequently have these bacteria present. Salmonella is most frequently contracted when people eat improperly prepared foods. Only 3-5% of all cases of Salmonella poisoning are linked to reptiles. Of these, over 95% are linked to green iguanas and red-eared slider turtles that are kept as pets. Contact with other species of reptiles rarely leads to salmonellosis. The risk of contracting salmonellosis from a reptile is minimal and virtually eliminated when a few simple hygiene practices are put in place: people working with reptiles should wash their hands with soap and water after contact with the animals and maintain a clean environment for the reptiles.

Introduction
The fact that reptiles can carry Salmonella is well known and well documented. This fact cannot be disputed; however, the fact that chicken, fish, eggs and meat regularly found in our refrigerators and freezers can carry Salmonella is also well documented and cannot be disputed. In fact, Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in the intestinal tract of many different species of animals including humans. The issue at hand is the risk of contracting Salmonella from any of these sources. This document will address the issue in light of concerns raised regarding having reptiles in the classroom.

History
Many cases of Salmonella contracted from reptiles have been reported and will continue to be reported. If each case is examined, poor hygiene is the primary reason Salmonella was contracted. As a matter of fact, this is true with virtually all cases of Salmonella regardless of the source. The most common species implicated in cases of infection from reptiles is the green iguana followed by the red-eared slider turtle. These two species of reptiles account for over 95% of all reported cases of reptile related salmonellosis. However, statistics also show that reptile related salmonellosis only accounts for between 3-5% of the incidents of Salmonella poisoning. Therefore, 95-97% of all incidents of Salmonella are traced to sources other than reptiles.

How is Salmonella contracted?
Salmonella is found in meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and even vegetables. Humans contract salmonellosis by coming into contact with the Salmonella bacteria and ingesting it. It can also be contracted through open cuts. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.

Reptiles and Salmonella
Salmonella is found in the digestive tract of most animals including reptiles. The route of infection may be from direct contact with the animal’s feces or indirectly from an animal’s skin that has feces on it. Traces of fecal matter in an animal’s enclosure can also be a source of infection. However, reptiles do not exude Salmonella bacteria from their skin nor do they have a tendency to wallow in their feces.

What is the real risk?
First, those that are at highest risk are those under the age of 5, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems, as in the case of people with HIV/AIDS. Second, to contract Salmonella, a person must come in contact with the bacteria and ingest enough of it to cause illness or have it taken up in their bloodstream through a fresh open wound. Third, only 3-5% of all cases of salmonellosis are contracted from reptiles. In other words, 95-97% of the reported incidents of Salmonella are traced to sources other than reptiles. These statistics alone demonstrate that the risk of contracting Salmonella from reptiles is small. Looking more closely reveals that over 95% of all reptile related cases of salmonellosis are traced to green iguanas and red-eared slider turtles. That is, 95% from only 3-5% of all cases of Salmonella. Thus, the risks of contracting Salmonella from a reptile other than a green iguana or a red-eared slider turtle are minute to say the least.

Simple steps we take to reduce the risk of infection
Following a few simple guidelines we virtually eliminate the risk of contracting Salmonella from reptiles:
1 Wash hands with soap and water  or hand sanitizer after touching reptiles.
2 We ensure the animals are clean and take every precaution to make sure no messes are made.
3 We keep the reptile’s environment clean and feces is always removed upon discovery.
4 We don’t allow young children, especially ones that put hands to their face, to handle reptiles unsupervised.
5 Do not allow reptiles near areas where food preparation or consumption occurs.

Summary
The risk of contracting Salmonella from reptiles is real; however, the risk is minute. Iguanas and red-eared slider turtles are the most common source of Salmonella and poor hygiene is the cause of virtually all cases of Salmonella regardless of the source. Simple hygiene practices such as avoiding direct contact with feces, keeping the reptile enclosure clean, and washing hands after working with reptiles will virtually eliminate the risk of contracting Salmonella from reptiles. Education is the key to reducing risks rather than elimination of the source. If elimination of all risks is the goal, then we should start with the poultry, eggs, and meat sold in virtually all supermarkets. After all, these foods account for over 95% of reported cases of Salmonella infection.