Humber student Tess St. Jean’s eyes widened and her hand jolted up to her mouth in fright as Kaa the 12-foot red tail boa came out of its cage.
But somehow, the health and fitness student found the courage to touch the snake.
“I hate snakes and am terrified of them, but I am glad I had the courage to pet the boa constrictor,” said St. Jean.
The meeting between the slithering Kaa and the fearful Tess was part of Humber’s recess days that kicked off on Monday with a bang as a kangaroo, a lemur, bunnies, parrots, a scarlet ibis, and Kaa all came to the North campus.
Denise Rooney, a learning commons coordinator, and librarian Aliya Dalfen, dreamt up and coordinated the four-day event, the first activity being a petting zoo on the third floor of the Learning Resource Common.
“The event helps with library student engagement and is also a stress buster,” said Dalfen.
This petting zoo helps students’ health and wellness at a much-needed time during midterm Hundreds of eager Humber students were spotted migrating toward the petting zoo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for their chance to step inside the enclosure and get a close encounter with the exotic animals.
Students were able to pet Jasmine the kangaroo, hold Ginny the scarlet ibis, stroke Lemmy the lemur, and if brave enough, help support Kaa the boa constrictor.
The company that provided the petting zoo, Hands on Exotics, had three animal handlers on hand to provide students with a unique experience.
A majority of the animals were once pets, or from zoos and farms, said handler Seth Falk.
He said there are people who think it “would be cool to own a kangaroo,” but quickly realize it is not as fun as they originally thought.
“That’s where we come in and rescue the animals and provide a service to all kinds people,” said Falk.
“My favorite animal would have to be the bunnies because I don’t like big animals,” said first-year design foundations student Vivienne Moran-Guerra.
Primarily the animals are brought to nursing homes, retirement homes and day programs for kids with special needs – but the company doesn’t mind bringing them to Humber, Falk said with a wink.
Humber’s Recess Week continued with a Wellness Day, a Games Day, and finished with an Arts Day.