Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too holds a tegu lizard Tuesday afternoon, May 7, at the Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. He brought several insects and other animals some of which children could hold or touch. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

LIVERMORE — On Tuesday afternoon, May 7, students in the after-school program at Spruce Mountain Primary School were treated to a visit by Drew Desjardins who operates Mr. Drew and His Animals Too.

After-school programs in Regional School Unit 73 are available through Franklin County Children’s Task Force in Farmington. Grant funding allows 21st Century Kids of Southern F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N. to serve youth in kindergarten through grade eight at the primary, elementary, and middle schools this year, the website indicates.

Desjardins said his facility in Lewiston is home to 200 to 400 animals at any time. Puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, sometimes bunnies and guinea pigs are found at animal shelters, he noted.

“We take in whatever animals the Humane Society doesn’t,” Desjardins said. “I do creepy crawlies, scary animals people don’t understand.”

Jace Fitch holds and touches a cockroach from Madagascar Tuesday afternoon, May 7, during a visit from Mr. Drew and His Animals Too for the after-school program at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Desjardins said he travels all over the state of Maine and New England displaying his animals and explaining about them. He believes Maine’s land and waters should be for native species. The specimens he brought to show are exotic animals. “They don’t belong outside,” he stated.

According to his website, Mr. Drew and His Animals Too is a natural science and exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation center. Working closely with the state, it advocates the conservation and protection of exotic species. The center has all proper permits and commits to move illegal and invasive species out of the state on a quarterly basis, it adds.

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“There is no such thing as a bad animal,” he stated. Just because someone doesn’t like an animal doesn’t mean it is bad, Desjardins noted. He said he doesn’t like mosquitoes because they bite him. As a food source for other animals they are important for the planet, he explained.

Drew Desjardins of Livermore watches as Brenden Veilleux holds a boa constrictor Tuesday afternoon, May 7, during a Mr. Drew and His Animals Too presentation at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Veilleux is a staff member for the after-school program. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Desjardins spoke of catching jars full of fireflies when younger, only catching three last summer. Insects make up almost all of the animal species found on Earth, he stated.

Children were able to hold or touch cockroaches from Madagascar. A tarantula was shown but not touched. It scares easily and sheds hair from its back when it is frightened which can irritate the skin, Desjardins explained.

Drew Desjardins of Lewiston watches while Lannon Wilson holds a boa constrictor Tuesday afternoon, May 7, at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Students attending after-school programs at the elementary school in Jay had Mr. Drew and His Animals Too visit Wednesday. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

A pixie frog is the second largest frog in the world, weighs about three pounds when full grown and can eat rats and cats when older, Desjardins told the children. He held a relatively small one he had rescued from a family who thought with the name pixie it wouldn’t get very big.

Desjardins held an iguana, a reptile that is now illegal to own in Maine.

A snapping turtle he rescued when he found it frozen can be trained, he noted. He placed it on the floor and after moving forward a bit it stopped and stayed there while Desjardins walked away. Turtles are able to rotate their legs, which tortoises can’t do, he explained.

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The children were able to touch the turtle and a tortoise plus a tegu lizard. Those who wanted to could later hold or touch a boa constrictor.

The presentation was shared at the elementary school in Jay on Wednesday afternoon.

 

 


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