SYCAMORE – Frank, a 7-year-old American alligator, was a star attraction at the third annual Rockin’ for the Reptiles event hosted by the Midwest Museum of Natural History on Saturday.
“They don’t make good pets,” warned veterinarian Jason Olech of Chicagoland Mobile Veterinary Service as he carefully showed Frank to people gathered around to feel the animal’s scaly skin. “We have to have special permits.”
“At the end of the day they are still a predator,” Olech said.
Less-lethal live reptiles were also on display by the Chicago Herpetological Society and MMNH.
“The split second you put live animals in a show you can double or triple the attendance,” said Michael Scott of the Chicago Herpetological Society.
Big crowds are key to the success of the annual fundraiser hosted by MMNH, which uses the proceeds to pay for the care and feeding of the live animals at the museum. Molly Trickey, executive director of the museum, said that the museum spends about $3,000 per year for the care and feeding of the animals at the museum.
“The animals are something different,” said Linda Meyers of Sycamore. “It’s something you don’t normally see.”
Live music was performed by Garage Orchestra, Fishback Boys and Buffalo Jump. Other attractions included face painting, games, crafts, grilled food and an inflatable bounce house.