Scorpions, sloths and warthogs — oh, my!

Stacey Hartley • Jul 1, 2019 at 9:00 PM

The Norwalk Public Library hosted a wildlife presentation Friday at Perkins Family Gymnasium.

According to its website, the Michigan-based non-profit organization Animal Magic Inc. “is dedicated to exotic wildlife conservation and life science education.”

Its leader, Mark Rosenthal, has taken in and cared for wildlife for nearly 40 years.

“My life is on the line with every show I do,” he told an audience of more than 50. “I do this because I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world.”

Rosenthal showed a non-venomous scorpion, which glowed bright blue under a black light after library staff briefly turned off the gym’s lights.

Once the lights were on again, the scorpion was returned to its container — after stinging Rosenthal a few times. The audience then welcomed a Russian tortoise that was about the size of Rosenthal’s hand.

Shown next were a spotted genet and a fennec fox, the latter Rosenthal described as “the world’s smallest fox.”

Above a chorus of “awww’s,” Rosenthal reminded the crowd “these are not house pets — no matter how cute they are, no matter how much you want to take them home.”

Then came “Nico” the bird. It turned out she was far from shy, as she loudly laughed a laugh that you’d swear only a human can produce.

Nico’s previous owners were an elderly couple, leading the bird to learn and repeat several different phrases, including “Grandma” and “Bye, I love you.” She also imitated a toddler’s cry from a Youtube video, and is now contracted with a company for her uncanny ability in a television commercial.

The last two animals were a warthog named “Rooty” and a traveling sloth named “Seven.”

Rosenthal took the animals to audience members, encouraging them to take pictures and post online.

To learn more about Animal Magic Inc., visit the website http://iwantanimalmagic.com.

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