Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too in Lewiston lets children and their families see and touch a boa constrictor Tuesday at the Ludden Public Library in Dixfield. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — Much to the delight of dozens of children and their families, Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too brought bugs, turtles, lizards and snakes from his educational center in Lewiston to show at the Ludden Public Library on Tuesday.

Before pulling out three cockroaches about the size of an adult’s nose, Desjardins said he loves bugs, which are “declining at an alarming number.”

“Bugs are the number one food source for the animals on our planet, and if bugs disappear, other animals start disappearing,” he said. “And if animals start disappearing, more will disappear, and ecosystems will collapse. We need bugs as much as they are annoying.”

Spiders “just want to eat bugs,” he said.

Holding a tarantula in the palm of his hand, he described it as a “very delicate animal. She smells with her feet.” Female tarantulas live up to 20 years while males live up to five years.

Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too in Lewiston holds an African tortoise Tuesday for children and their families to see at the Ludden Public Library in Dixfield. His educational center in Lewiston offers tours Monday through Saturday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

A snapping turtle, which he carried under his arm like a football, “likes to have his chin rubbed,” Desjardins said. Snapping turtles have long tails, compared to other turtles.


He told the crowd he found the turtle frozen to the ground one cold October evening. He poured warm water on it to rescue and rehabilitate it. He had planned to return it to its natural habitat, but because it became socialized, he decided to keep it at his educational center.

His African spurred tortoise, which is one of the largest species in the world, weighs 50 pounds and is 35 years old. The animal lives up to 120 years. Lion cubs in Africa enjoy playing with them, often batting them around like a ball, he said.

It’s illegal to have them as pets in Maine, he said.

He rescued it after it had been left without care in a family’s basement for years. He said it’s important for people to learn about pets before they get them. “If you don’t know anything about it, how are you going to take care of it and make it happy?” he asked.

Desjardins said as a child he loved to learn about science and animals. His educational center at 550 Lisbon St. in Lewiston has more than 150 animals. He has been working with exotic animals for more than 35 years.

He takes in and cares for them and travels across New England to schools, birthday parties, libraries, Boy Scout and Girl Scout gatherings, nursing homes and other sites, and educates people about the animals. The center offers tours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on Mr. Drew and His Animals Too go to mrdrewandhisanimalstoo.com.

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