Minnesota School of Business-Rochester veterinary technology program students from the Lab Animals, Exotics and Pocket Pets class, as well as other students in the program, took a field trip to the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo (RAD) in Owatonna, Minn. Students enjoyed a self-guided tour of the facility and viewed many different types of reptiles and amphibians at their own pace.
So from hisses to howls, what lives at this zoo?
Some of the species housed at the facility include alligators, iguanas, geckos, chameleons, crocodiles, venomous and non-venomous snakes, and many different species of frogs and toads. There are even scorpions, turtles, tortoises, fish and birds.
“Even though I was terrified of all the things that lived there, I still learned a lot and thought it was pretty neat to go and see everything and be able to touch a live alligator!” said vet tech student, Courtney Olson.
Part of an unexpected special surprise included a hands-on interaction with a boa constrictor and a small alligator. An equally hair-raising experience included watching the zoologists trap a caiman, which resembles a miniature crocodile. The last animal that the students saw outside the cage was a tegu, a type of lizard. Employees were also nice enough to feed the monitor lizard during the visit. Students were fascinated by how the little creature eats mice, and how he came to the employee when it was feeding time.
Veterinary technology student Elizabeth Doberstein said, “I thought the RAD Zoo was a fun experience outside of class, and the first-hand experience of handling animals provided by the employees was both fun and beneficial.”
Next quarter, students who travel to the RAD Zoo will have an opportunity to view the live feeding of Big Al, one of the resident alligators.
“Having the opportunity to experience the Reptile Zoo in the manner we were allowed to was amazing, eye-opening, astounding, thrilling, educational, tremendously fun,” said vet tech degree student, Krista Bertsinger. “That experience has opened my eyes to new possibilities I had never put much thought into before. So thank you for unlocking a new door.”
Student Isabella Archibald said, “The RAD Zoo was a great experience. It was an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom and see a lot of interesting animals.”
Reach out to MSB-Rochester at 507-536-9500 to schedule a tour of our state-of-the-art veterinary technology training lab.