From Press Reports
MABEN — The second week of the Maben Library Summer Reading Program feature Beverly Smith from the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge as the guest speaker on Tuesday. She had on display skulls of an alligator and a white-tailed deer, and two stuffed animals: raccoon and owl. Some of the children were knowledgeable about wildlife and full of questions and information that they attributed to the program: Congratulations, Carson King and Jace Makamson.
Smith told the group that the deer had antlers instead of horns because they are shed each year. She said that it was an herbivore; an herbivore is an animal that gets its energy from eating plants, and only plants, and that it was a crepuscular (it comes out at dawn or at dusk to feed). Most crepuscular animals have fur that serves as a camouflage (hides them).
The next animal that she discussed was the raccoon, which wears the bandit mask. It is a nocturnal animal. One patron told about one raccoon that they rescued, Smith told them that it was actually against the law to keep a wild animal caged but people can serve as a rehabilitator for rescued animals. Raccoons are scavenger feeders; they are also opportunist eaters — whatever they find to eat. Raccoons are strong animals; and are infamous for breaking into garbage cans. She says because of their extra-long back legs they tend to waddle but can lope pretty fast. They have sensitive noses and sharp claws, which aid them in finding food.
They briefly reviewed last week’s lesson on bats: they are flying nocturnal mammals and are true hibernators.
The next animal was a stuffed barn owl, which has sharp talons, a curved beak, large fixated eyes, and receptive ears and a swiveling neck. These all aid in locating and capturing prey. She also had an owl pellet for everyone to look at. An owl pellet is regurgitated food; such as fur and bones. This sounds gross but it is most important for the wellbeing of the owl.
The last skull was one of an alligator, which also is a nocturnal animal. It has been around since the dinosaur time. It has the ability to stay under water for a long time; this may be one way to kill their prey. They eat pretty much whatever doesn’t eat them first. They also store their food for later consumption. They reproduce by laying eggs. Their life revolves around eating, sleeping and reproducing. Alligators are freshwater animals. The skull was most interesting, and the group discussed the ways to tell the difference in it and a crocodile.
After her lecture, the children were invited to come and touch and examine all of the animals, except the owl, which is old and fragile.
Ms. Mary ended the program by awarding prizes to the children that had read the most books: Carson King (ages 4-7) and Cierra Bell (ages 8-12). Then they drew for two prizes for attendance: Graceland Bell and Madison Murphy. All of the children were then invited to pick a prize from the big box of prizes. YEA!
Last but not least they all checked out books before next week, June 26, when Lisa Hester, art teacher from Webster County, will present the program.