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    Give your 10-year-old the chance to be a junior herpetologist

    Ever wondered where the phrase ‘crocodile tears’ came from? Make a list of all the questions you have around reptiles and snakes — for the Junior Herpetologist’s workshop this Sunday. From a fun show-and-tell of baby crocs and tortoises to a scavenger hunt to teach little ones to identify various plants, animals, birds and insects — this kid’s day out at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust promises to be anything but dull.

    Also, leave those queues behind and get closer than ever before. “There will be chances to get a close-up look at some of our captive and free ranging animals and also to help maintain our animal enclosures,” says zoo educator Arul Venkateshwaran, one of the facilitators of the programme. Of course, this is provided the kids stay clear of unnecessary noises that might alarm the animals or don’t wander off by themselves. The 26-year-old gets serious about the rules that need to be adhered to for safety.
    If you’re wondering what the most common question these zoo educators get from kids while giving them the grand tour, this is bound to be a surprise. “Why are reptiles so lazy is something we get all the time,” says his colleague Anjana Srimathi, with a laugh. “We then have to explain what cold-blooded means and go into a little of their metabolism and physiology for the children to understand that reptiles are not lazy, but energy efficient,” she adds, with a smile.
    As for those crocodile tears, it comes from the myth that the reptiles weep when eating humans. And yes, they do wipe their eyes when feeding, not because they are sad, but since their eyes bubble and froth when eating. Now you know why, you should never make a crocodile cry!
    On February 19
    between 9.30 am and 5 pm. Ages:
    7 to 14 years. Price: `2,500. Details: 9791257916 or email education@madrascrocodilebank.org

    —Sonali Shenoy

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