Exotic animals visit Philip Elementary

Mark Stangle being investigated by a kikachu under the supervision of Keven Vogel.

Starting out with a somewhat local representative of exotic animals, Kevin Vogel set a live skunk on a table, which squirted the audience.
Yes, the table squirted the audience; through a trick pressurized tank of water hidden underneath. Vogel continued to keep the attention of the Philip elementary students through humor, living exhibits and a running lecture on the importance of these animals to the earth and to humans.
The student assembly Wednesday, May 9, in the high school gymnasium was provided by Dakota Assemblies. Vogel, from Minnesota, is part of Safari Adventures. His main lesson to students is how one type of animal helps other animals, and thus helps humans.
His show included a kikachu, a Central and South American mammal also known as a honeybear. Its prehensal tail and never stopping inquisitiveness makes it resemble a monkey. Its diet of nector from rain forest canopies actually helps plant pollination, similar to the actions of honey bees.
The next mammal was a raccoon-like coatimundi, a land dweller that sleeps in trees and uses its long tail for balance while climbing. It can eat almost anything and can adapt to most warmer environments, but is itself a main diet for predators.
The California king snake has a high tolerance to the poisons of venomous snakes, and will eat other snakes. One of the students asked if it could be used in South Dakota to help get rid of rattlesnakes. The king snake can not survive in the cool temperatures of this area.
Instructor Jessica Wheeler got to cuddle a joey, a young kangaroo. When not being displayed, it was “stored” in a bag hung from the table top. This is much like when it is in the safe environment of its mother’s pouch. In the wild, kangaroos congregate in mobs of up to 150 individuals.
The Eurasian eagle owl rotated its head almost 360 degrees, using its 14 vertabrae in its neck as opposed to a human’s seven neck vertabrae. Everything about an owl is made for hunting.
As he was packing up to return home, Vogel held a mini show for some of the high school students who were between classes.