All hail Julius Squeezer

See why kids paid homage to things that slither and hiss, at a special library show that featured twenty reptiles …

Of all the reptiles herpetologist Richard Ritchey brought to outer East Portland, the kids loved his Burmese python, Julius Squeezer, the best.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Midland Library was crawling with slithering and creepy critters a few weeks ago.

But, nobody seemed to mind. In fact, kids who packed the large activity room got to touch some of the reptiles brought in by herpetologist Richard Ritchey.

While the star of the show was a huge, yellow Burmese python, named Julius Squeezer, they also enjoyed seeing and learning about the other two dozen reptiles brought in by Ritchey.

“I’ve been keeping reptiles for thirty years,” Ritchey told us. “And, I’ve been doing show-and-tell programs since 1991.” He said he presents 450 programs around the Pacific Northwest in schools, libraries, scout groups, and even birthday parties.

The herpetologist ‚Äì that’s a person who studies reptiles ‚Äì lives in Mololla; he told us he wanted to do something more positive than just keep the snakes as pets. “So, I developed a program to share them with kids.”

Soon, even little boys and girls were meeting, and even petting, a variety of reptiles.

“People don’t realize reptiles are important in our environment. They are the ones that feed on rodents and insects. They keep the vector population in check. They truly are helpful to mankind.”

Some of his “friends” were dangerous, Ritchey added. “I specialize in venomous snakes, and show some rare species. We have a green mamba, vipers, and an anaconda. I handle each of them, every single one, during the show.”

Want to book him for your next children’s party? Learn more, by going to his web site: .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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