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9:25 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Scaly subjects slithering soon at the Highlands Center

Allee Kidd demonstrates how to handle a gopher snake. (Courtesy photo)

Allee Kidd demonstrates how to handle a gopher snake. (Courtesy photo)

The Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road, Prescott, hosts Dr. Cecil Schwalbe, a renowned herpetologist who always presents his scaly subjects with a great sense of humor, on Friday, Sept. 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dr. Schwalbe will give a free presentation at the Highlands Center on common state and local reptiles and amphibians and why they matter.

"Cecil has traveled as the National Geographic expert on expeditions to Costa Rica, Panama and the Amazon and has been a faculty member of the University of Arizona for over 14 years. He has many fascinating stories to tell," commented Dave Irvine, Highlands Center executive director.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, at 9 a.m., attendees have the opportunity to meet some of Cecil's wild and scaly housemates: Poncho Gila the Gila Monster; The Big Guy, a five-foot western diamondback; a beautiful California king snake; Bruiser, the 7-year-old desert tortoise; and two little tortoise hatchlings. Cecil will also demonstrate how to safely remove a rattler from your property.

A walk along the trail to Lynx Creek follows this demonstration (1-1/2 miles round-trip) to search for amphibians and reptiles, accompanied by assistant Allee Kidd, a sophomore at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy who has been an attendee at the Highlands Center summer camps for many years.

While at the creek, home of the treasured canyon treefrogs, you can enjoy your picnic lunch and listen to some of Cecil's amazing stories. The group will return to the center around 1:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required for the Saturday event. Cost is $25 for members and students or $35 for nonmembers. Student scholarships are available. Register by calling 776-9550. Bring water and lunch.