What does Lulu, the hedgehog, feel like?
“It felt like toothpicks,” said 3-year-old Amelia Vento, who was attending the mini-zoo animal show Sunday at the Museum of Arts and Sciences on Forsyth in Macon with her parents, Alex and Carla Vento, of Monroe County.
The Ventos were among about 20 adults and children attending the animal show that featured the hedgehog, two ferrets and a bearded dragon lizard.
The hedgehog was purchased by a Georgia family when they were vacationing in Alabama, said museum worker Samantha Harkins, as she held the tiny animal in one hand. The family didn’t realize until they returned home it was against the law to have it as a pet in Georgia so they donated it to the museum.
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Alex Vento said it was the family’s first visit to the museum.
“We thought it would be a nice venue,” he said. “We plan to bring (daughter Amelia) back. ... (The animal show) is a nice way to get introduced to species you don’t normally see.”
He said the lizard felt “a little rough, dry,” but Amelia said it felt “like chalk.”
The bearded dragon is the only animal in the zoo that changes colors, Harkins said.
“He was a light brown when I picked him up and now he’s yellow,” she said. “He’s a little stressed” from being taken from his cage.
Harkins, 20, volunteered at the museum from 2009 to 2012 and then got a job this past fall working with the animals.
In addition to doing the animal shows, she cleans the cages, feeds the animals and keeps reports on their behavior “so we will know if something is wrong with them,” she said after the show.
“I love it,” Harkins said. “I’ve loved animals since I was little, and I found a job I actually love to do.”
Crystal and Paul Davidson, of Gray, enjoyed the animal show with their daughter Brooke, 3, who said her favorite thing was seeing the ferrets.
The Davidsons said they have been members of the museum about two years and particularly enjoy the animal exhibits.
“One reason we came (Sunday) is we’ve been cooped up with the flu” since Christmas Eve, Crystal Davidson said.
Kristie Ussery, a museum worker at the front desk, said the rainy weather sometimes draws some people to the museum. The venue had steady traffic during the holidays as people brought out-of-town visitors to the museum. Some of the visitors have been far out of town.
“We had one person from Thailand yesterday and somebody from Ireland today,” Ussery said.
The animal show is normally held at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and at 3 Sunday. However, the mini-zoo will be closed Jan. 5-Jan. 9 for annual cleaning.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.