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Explorit: Meet science museum’s resident animals, including Spike

This article appeared in the April 19, 19 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Explorit: Meet science museum’s resident animals, including Spike

Explorit's Bearded Dragon, Spike

 

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

 

Explorit has a variety of animals and insects that we use for science education.  We bring our animals to area schools, let our summer campers meet them, show them off at birthday parties, and assist with interactions with our guests during our public hours.

 

One of our resident reptiles is Spike, a Central Bearded Dragon.  Their scientific name isPogona vitticeps, and they are from the east-central parts of Australia. Their habit is flatlands, deserts, and hillsides of the outback, but can be found in suburban neighborhoods as well. They have long claws on their toes that help them with climbing in the wild or digging shallow holes to find food, cool off, or to lay eggs.

 

Bearded dragons get their name from spiky appearance of the area under their chin and neck.  They can also change the color of their “beard” to a darker shade than the rest of their body if feeling threatened or excited.  Like most reptiles, bearded dragons are covered in scales that are shed regularly.  They do not shed their entire outer layer at once like snakes do, but it flakes off in pieces.  We try not to handle Spike while he is shedding, as it can be uncomfortable if his shedding pieces are pulled or tugged, and we do not want to harm Spike in any way.

 

Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals.  In the wild, they eat a variety of insects and arachnids, as well as leafy vegetation.  We try to give Spike a variety of foods including leafy greens like dandelion greens and celery tops, occasionally fruits like apples, as well as meal worms for some protean. One of Spike’s favorite foods is butternut squash and can regularly be found in his food bowl.

 

Spike doesn’t flick his tongue in and out like a snake, but he does use his tongue to touch objects to investigate them.  They use chemoreceptors on their tongue to acquire information about surfaces, food, or other objects they encounter.

 

Spike is about 11 years old and continues to bring smiles to our guests and school children. When you come visit Explorit ask to meet Spike, if he is out and about and not shedding we’ll be happy to bring him out to meet you.

 

 

Explorit's coming events:



·      Check out the new evening teen camp July 8 – 12 "The Stars and Our Night Sky" for ages 12-16 yrs. Learn about the stars, planets, moons, black holes and other phenomenon in the sky. Explore the use of various telescopes and learn to identify stars and planets.

  • We are currently recruiting summer camp volunteers.  http://www.explorit.org/support/volunteer/volunteer-application.
  • Visit Explorit's latest exhibition, Earth Explorations. Explorit'sExploration Galleryis open to the public every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.
  • Consider a donation to Explorit. Now more than ever, we need science education. Your donations help Explorit serve our community with exhibits, activities and educational outreach programs in 15 surrounding counties. Sponsor a program or summer camp scholarships by making a gift atexplorit.org/support, or call us for more details.
  • Looking for that perfect gift?  Give the gift of science with a membership to Explorit and also gain free access to hundreds of science museums across the nation. For more information or to purchase or renew your membership online visitwww.explorit.org/join/membership-levelsor call Explorit at 530-756-0191. For a list of participating museums across the nation visithttp://www.astc.org/passport/.



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Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org, or "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

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