A slithery show
The North Suffolk library welcomed some unique visitors on Friday.
John Barnes, founder of JB Rattles, presented an array of reptiles and spiders to a crowd of more than 100 children and parents. Karly, his 7-year-old granddaughter, also accompanied him.
“I’ve been helping him my whole life,” Karly said.
Before revealing the animals, Barnes gave an extensive presentation on the animals and precautionary measures.
Michelle Moren, a mother in attendance, said the presentation was “very informative.”
“It’s not just a reptile show,” she said. “It’s especially helpful for mommies whose kids get bitten.”
A 13-foot long Burmese python, a canebrake rattlesnake and a blue-tongued skink were among the collection of reptiles shown to the kids. According to the JB Rattles website, Barnes has more than 100 reptiles on hand.
During his presentation, Barnes had the animal cages covered to maintain the audience’s focus, specifically the squirming children.
Once the animals were revealed, the wide-eyed children exploded into excited conversation as Barnes and Karly walked around the room with the reptiles for all to see and touch.
“I love kids,” Barnes said. “Their smiles are worth a million dollars. Just for a brief moment I get to make their day.”
Barnes had a little fun with the audience by placing the smaller, non-venomous snakes and other reptiles on the spectators’ arms and faces.
For obvious reasons, he put some distance between the crowd and the larger and venomous reptiles.
Barnes has had a passion for reptiles since he was 7. Eventually, he said, he quit his full-time job to host reptile shows for a living.
Twelve years in, Barnes has performed at birthday parties and schools throughout the area.
He hopes to “pass on the torch” and to “inspire kids” to want to learn more about reptiles.
Reptiles, as he says on his website, are “some of the world’s most beautiful and misunderstood animals to inhabit our planet.”