Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too entertains the crowd at the Oxford County Fair in 2021 with one of his many snakes. A large – and friendly – snapping turtle named Wilbert wandered near his feet. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

REGION — Maine’s favorite educator and rescuer of exotic animals has been on the brink of homelessness after being ordered to vacate his Lewiston headquarters at the Pepperell Mill on Liston Street by March. 7.

Drew Desjardins has housed his collection of serpents, lizards, crawlies and more at 550 Lisbon Street since 2018. There he has operated an education center, rescue operation and rehabilitation services, but Desjardins is also a mainstay throughout the community, bringing his menagerie to schools, fairs and festivals and special events.

Securing a site to safely care for more than 200 exotic animals is no easy feat, nor is moving them. Desjardins quickly found alternative quarters but the speed required to get there remains a challenge.

Two supporters of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too, Chelsea Briggs & Cheryl Horton, started a GoFundMe campaign last week to help Desjardins find new quarters and safely move his collection, most of which require an 80-85 degree environment, during the dead of winter. As of Tuesday, the fundraiser has exceeded its goal of $25,000 and continues to collect donations from $5 to $500.

People can also support Desjardins by visiting his education center on Lisbon Street in Lewiston this week before it closes to the public on Feb. 25.

Mr. Drew and His Animals Too are no strangers to families who live in Oxford Hills.


Drew Desjardins and one of his animals at the Station House Community Center in Oxford, last November. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Last fall Desjardins visited Oxford’s Station House Community Center, packing the building to capacity according to Recreation Director Kayla Laird. He has also worked the Oxford County Fair, and participated in Agnes Gray Elementary School’s spring carnival in 2019 and 2020.

“Mr. Drew was always the highlight of the carnival,” said Beth Clarke, former principal of the West Paris school. “He is super great with the kids, very patient and he relates with them. It can be tricky when you bring live animals into large groups and he does it very smoothly. There are not many opportunities where kids can be so close to those types of animals and actually touch them as they learn.”

Desjardins is not just all fun and interactive learning, either. He was called in to assist the Norway Police Department in 2020 when 53 arachnids, mostly tarantulas and scorpions and including some illegal species, were discovered residing in a room at the then Inn Town Motel. After a tenant was evicted from the motel, Desjardins rescued the critters left behind and gave them a more appropriate home.

Owners of reptiles and insects who are not equipped for the special care and diet required often deposit their exotics with Desjardins. Some of his forever pets were rescued from poor living conditions or from the wild.

“We can’t stop taking in animals,” Desjardins told the Sun Journal earlier this year. “Who else is going to do it? You know, what we’re taking in, the humane society doesn’t touch.”

Donations can be made by clicking on this link: www.gofundme.com/f/rally-to-save-mr-drew-his-animals-too. Fans of Mr. Drew can catch updates of the move by visiting his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/mrdrewandhisanimalstoo.


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