Paintings by reptiles on display at CoOp Gallery
At one point in our lives we’ve all heard at least one person say “snakes are slimy” or “the only good snake is a dead snake.” However, 6 per cent of drivers will go out of their way to run over a snake or turtle crossing a road. Now it’s time to learn why these misconceptions are wrong and are even harmful to the balance of nature.
TheGoderichCoOpGallery is currently hosting a display of REPTILE ART until mid February, and no, I don’t mean paintings of snakes and turtles, I mean paintings by snakes andturtles. Whoknewthat these animals could create art? Thepeople at Scales Rescue Park found out and have provided their resident reptile artists with canvas and paint and opportunity. It is fascinating to learn howthis is done. Apparently, turtles, beingmore food motivated, arewilling to paint if rewarded by a strawberryor raspberry. Thesnakes, which feedless frequentlyandrest forweeks after a meal, not so much. But the snakes, when they can be persuaded to paint, leave beautiful pictures of their scalepatternsonthecanvases.
TheHuronStewardship Council is sponsoring this exhibit, where you can see examples of the art, a video, plus handouts explaining just how each of us can help preserve these animals. There are eight species of native turtles in Ontario, and currently seven of those are on the endangered list. We can’t afford to allow species predation at such a rate, or soon, our children will see only pictures of long gone animals thatmankind failed to protect. An adult snapping turtlemust live and lay eggs for over 60 years just to replace itself, whichmeansthat in 60 years of reproduction only one turtle has lived to adulthood. The resthave been lost to predation by animals or humans. Unlike birds, whichalso lay eggs, baby reptiles emerge very capable of looking after themselves, but all young hatchlings are seen as tasty morsels for predators. Turtles are infact, living dinosaurs, still existing inmuch the same fashion that they did during the dinosaur age -how cool is that? Reptiles are not slimy! Their skin is, in fact, dry, but their heat regulating system is different than ours, and so they are called “cold blooded.” This doesn’t mean they are heartless and mean, it simply tells us that they use outside sources, like sunshine, tomaintain body heat as opposed tomammals like us, who regulate body heat through our ownmetabolism.
Comein to check out this interesting exhibit; youwill notmeetanylive reptiles, but you can enjoy their paintings, see an informative video, pick up a card explaining how to help an injured animal if it has been hitby a car. Andwhenyou leave, you will be better informed about reptiles, and how to help save them from extinction. Their artwork is available for purchase, with the proceeds of a sale going to support programs to rescue and maintain, as well as study at risk populations of the area turtles and snakes. Whether or not you can “relate” to such animals, they hold an important role in our ecosystem, anddeserve ourprotection. Plus, youcanbe inthe 94 per cent of peoplewhowill not go out of theirway torunover a snake or a turtle crossing the road. The snake is just enjoying some warmsunshine, and the turtle might be looking for a good safe place to lay her eggs.
To learn more about the Huron Stewardship Council, join its Facebook page or visit its website (hsc. huronstewardship.ca). TheCouncil and the Goderich Co-op Gallery want to thank the ScalesNaturePark for theircontributions to this project. Visit www.scalesnaturepark.ca for more information about at risk animals in our area of SWOntario.
The Goderich CoOp Gallery is now operating on a winter schedule, we are open from 10 a.m., to 4 p. m. , Wednesday t h rough Saturday.