© HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
The expression on the face of Lily Harbers, 2, of Stewiacke says it all as she comes face-to-face with a large albino Burmese python during a reptile show at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition on Friday.
BIBLE HILL - In a word - "Epic."
That is how nine-year-old Madeline Melanson described her experience of petting Tiny, a 10 foot, 40-pound albino Burmese python during a reptile show Friday at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE).
"I never saw a big snake like that and I think it's really cool," the youngster said. "It's all like, it has so much scales and how big it is."
Other cool factors about the big snake were that it had "like the whitish eyes ..." and "I like how they're so fast and they can eat so much and they grow so big."
Tiny actually consumes about a 10-pound rabbit every two weeks, according to owner Mike MacDonald, co-founder of the Maritime Reptile Zoo in Halifax.
The big albino snake and other animals in the exhibit have all been rescued in some form or another. Also included in the exhibit was a six-foot American alligator, a ball python, blue-tongue skink (lizard) called Sprite, and a number of turtles and tortoises.
While some people, especially the older generation of adults, are squeamish about some of the reptiles he demonstrates with, others, especially children, find them exciting.
"People love it," he said. "Seeing the animals, learning about them. A lot of people want to learn about what they don't know about, what they don't understand."
And while some people let their fears get the best of them, not so for children.
"Kids aren't naturally afraid of anything. They want to come and see all of it, they want to learn about it," MacDonald said.
"It's cool, it's amazing," he said, of their reactions. "There's some people who have never touched a snake. They go ‘ewww, that's gross, that's disgusting.' And then when they touch it they say, ‘oh, that's not what I thought it was.'"
Even though Tiny appears shiny and wet looking when MacDonald takes the large python out of its container, the reality is quite the opposite, he said.
"They're not slimy at all. They're completely dry, they're waterproof.
And MacDonald believes that the greater number of people who take the time to learn a bit about the reptiles, the more respect that will be passed on to future generations, which will help with conservation efforts.
"So what we do, we try to educate the parents as well as having the kids in around it, learning about it, interacting with it," he said.