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Reptile Man charms kids at Winlock Library

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Reptile Man Scott Petersen (midground, right) allows kids to try on an unusual “hat” while sharing members of his reptile zoo with patrons at the Winlock Timberland Library on Thursday.

The Winlock Timberland Library welcomed back Scott Petersen, better known as The Reptile Man, to help kick off their summer reading program series on Thursday.

Owner of The Reptile Zoo in Monroe, Petersen has been a familiar face for Timberland libraries as well as local schools and children, said Library Manager Jamie Allwine.

“He always packs the house,” said Allwine of the large crowds coming in and out of the library that day to see the exhibits, which included a python named Oscar, an alligator named Lucy, and a tortoise named Spongebob Scalepants.

The reptiles were very calm as kids were able to get up close and personal, being able to hold them and, in the case of Mr. Scalepants, even ride them at times. While many children shied away from the scaly, crawly guests, others could hardly be kept from them and the library was packed with families into the afternoon.

Allwine said they would enjoy having Petersen again next year, depending on his availability, and noted the event had been made possible by support from the Friends of the Winlock Library.

Tours and private shows are available through The Reptile Zoo, and those seeking more information can go to www.thereptilezoo.org or call (360) 668-8204. And be sure to look for them on

It took several kids to hold up Oscar the Burmese Python, who would calmly coil around hand and limbs as though lounging on a tree in the wild.

Winlock Mayor Lonnie J. Dowell made an appearance and took time to pose with Lucy the Alligator, who was very docile throughout the day.

When kids were told Spongebob Scalepants the African Tortoise could carry as much as 100 lbs, they took turns riding on his back.

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