Library and zoo partner for Critter Cafe

Allen Wallace photos.

Richland Library always has a lot more to offer than just books. Saturday at the library’s North Main branch, a group of local kids got a wild surprise.

The library partnered with Riverbanks Zoo and Garden to present Critter Cafe, a chance for kids to learn about what animals eat (and even for their parents to learn a thing or two) and how their habits can be a guide to a healthy diet for humans.

Juliet, a zoo staff member, showed the kids how some animals eat meat while others eat fruits and vegetables, using visual aids and reading a children’s book aloud.

“Meat, vegetables and fruit are their three favorite food groups, because those are healthy, and the animals are focused on eating what’s healthy for them,” she said.

She also showed the kids replicas of animal skulls, demonstrating the difference in teeth between a carnivore and an herbivore, but her biggest surprise was no replica.

She brought out Oz, a Brazilian rainbow boa, to oohs and ahhs from the kids, some of whom immediately wanted to touch, while others were a bit more shy about meeting the large snake at close range.

Juliet explained to them how to touch the snake in ways that were comfortable for him, and to avoid his head even though he was unlikely to bite, and eventually even the most reluctant chose to touch Oz.

More information on free family events at the library is available at

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