Rainforest comes to Custer
Custer Elementary turns into mini-rainforest – just for an afternoon
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014
The rainforests from around the world came to Custer Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the form of exotic animals, ranging from small and terrifying to large and cuddly.
Melissa Fugit with Wonders of the Rainforest brought the animals for Custer Elementary students to see up close.
Before bringing out the animals, Fugit talked a little bit about rainforests — both tropical and temperate — and what kind of habitat the animals live in.
“I like tropical rainforests because the animals are colorful and different. They’re also small, so they fit in my van,” she joked.
Fugit said while the U.S. does not have tropical rainforests, there are a handful of temperate rainforests, found along the West Coast stretching from California to Alaska. Many of the animals found in those rainforests are large, such as bears, elk and mountain lions.
“Animals from the tropical rainforest need to be in 80° temperatures,” Fugit said. “Sometimes it’s not fun staying in hotel rooms with them. It gets pretty hot.”
The first creatures Fugit introduced to the crowd were Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which were both interesting and terrifying for the students. Fugit had six in her hand, which she showed to students by walking up and down the bleachers.
“These guys are the garbage men of the rainforest,” she said. “They eat all of the dead things, like plants, and put back nutrients in the earth to help other stuff grow.”
The second animal was a Chaco Golden tarantula named Charlotte. Once the tarantula was out of its container, students jumped up and scurried away from the edge of the bleacher aisle — with one student even running away altogether.
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