Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th Year Anniversary!
Since 1996 Snakes-N-Scales has been creating delight and preventing suffering. The delight of children in 4 states and the prevention of suffering to mostly reptiles but also the odd tarantula and frog. They began with a mere 35 animals and now have over 325. They did about 20 shows that first year and by Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th, now perform between 1300-1500 per year. There were others that did similar programs but Bill, the founder of Snakes-N-Scales, always found other performers either actually scaring the kids with the animals, abusing the animals or having no educational value whatsoever!
He made it his mission to alter that! And he has. At Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th, they have been sought out by dozens of animal education and rescue groups including most of the zoos in NJ, including the Turtleback Zoo, Bergen County Zoo, Trailside Nature Center, Popcorn Park Zoo, Flatrock Brook Nature Center, Weis Ecology Center, Mercer Wildlife Center and the NJ Division of Wildlife.
1992–The Denville Library 1992; It wasn’t his first public show, but it was a milestone. It proved That he could compete with anyone in a public arena and succeed! Snakes-N-Scales didn’t exist yet! This was just Bill doing what he loved to do! On Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th Anniversary we still marvel at the wonder of animals and the joy they can bring to children.
1992–That Boa is “Bright Lady,” the very snake Bill was introduced to during his first training day at the Newark Museum, where he honed his trade. She was given to him by the Museum, as he was the only docent, (instructor) that wished to use the large snake. Amusingly, he didn’t consider her very large at all.
Snakes-N-Scales grew out of 2 linked ideals; rescue reptiles that needed help and teach children about these feared and misunderstood creatures.
One of the hundreds of animals that Bill took in and repaired over the course of years. This one an old Snapping Turtle that was released. That crack had actually healed on its own before it was brought to the Plainfield Animal hospital where Bill was working.
2000–In the upper left corner are 2 baby crocodiles, “Ra” and “Ainu.” 15 years later Ainu is still alive, though he’s too large and ornery to be used in programs. On the lower left is “Blue,” Bill’s American Alligator. He is also still quite well and still preforms with Bill, now at Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th he weighs around 100 pounds.
2000–Bill and Blue, when both were younger…and smaller!
Bill and Blue doing a carnival at he Meadowland, around 2000.
Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th– Rescue
2001–Bill’s ability with crocodilians wasn’t over-looked by the NJ Fish And Wildlife Division. They called on him numerous times to help with illegal, lost or unwanted crocodilians. In this case a Spectacled Caiman pulled from a home in New Milford. This case is how Bill became the “NJ Crocodile Hunter,” dubbed by Thomas E. Franklin of The Record newspaper.
A truly symbolic moment during a show in Ridgewood where Bill is answering children’s questions with a large albino Burmese Python over his shoulder. Her name was Daisy.
This is 2003 in Sayreville Library when Bill was doing his Aragorn impression!
Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th– Education
Plumstead Library in New Egypt 2004–The Burmese Python in the upper left is “Hernia,” yet another animal that still lives at Snakes-N-Scales over a decade later, as is the lower right hand corner Asian Water Monitor, “Elizardbeth.” Both these animals are still alive and kicking and doing shows with Bill.
Bill and “Daisy” taught a hands-on college course every year at the Bergen County College to Veterinary Technicians. Species identification, restraint for treatment, blood taking methods, safety, and basic anatomy were all included in the course. Bill brought in dozens of animals for the vet techs instruction. The depth of Snakes-N-Scales species pool has always been a strength.
This is 2003-04 and all 4 of these animals are still with Bill at Snakes-N-Scales’ 20th ! The python is “Hernia,” The gator is “Blue”, the monitor is” Elizardbeth” and the crocodile is “Ainu”. All but Ainu still do programs. Ainu has been retired due to his ferocity as a Nile Crocodile. Bill feels proud that so many animals have survived for so long with him and he should! Survival in captivity is a badge of honor, showing that the animals are well cared for over the long haul!