Yes, we were told on our recent visit to the Raven Hill Discovery Center (in northern Michigan) that we could not "pet" the spider.
Here is our guide. She is a wonderful guide who owns this museum. I believe she has done a fabulous job.
And this is a close-up of the spider in her hand. Despite popular opinion, this is not a tarantula. We were told not to "pet" the spider since one of its defense mechanisms is to release its hair, causing itching and sneezing. She also said the first itching powder (a prank) was made from the hair of this type of spider.
So what else did the Animal Room have to offer?
There were tortoises. I have seen tortoises before. I have never seen four in the same room, one of which looked almost big enough to ride.
The four I'm referring to were all adopted by the kind owners of the Raven Hill Discovery Center. Apparently, this type of tortoise is one that can be purchased for a pet. (Why any parent would think this giant turtle would make a good pet is beyond me.)
We got there in time to help feed these fascinating animals. We were warned of the strength of their grip and to keep our fingers back. They don't know where the food stops and the human begins, after all.
Thankfully, they were perfect gentlemen (ladies?), however, and no fingers were lost. :o)
Of course, there were also some smaller turtles. I don't know what all of them are but here's the pics I took. Decide for yourself. :o)
The label on the tank said box turtles. There were five turtles in there, however, as you can see, and one of them looked a lot different than the others.
They had pythons, of course. I'm pretty sure this, to the left, is a python but there was a small boa constrictor in one of the tanks, too. I was getting them mixed up quite a bit...
Our guide informed us of the unsuitability of pythons as pets for children. (As if I needed someone to tell me that. LOL) She mentioned one family who thought one mouse per week was sufficient food for a python. That same python eats 3-4 RATS per week and even that isn't quite enough.
And this one to the right...sheesh, it's either a boa skeleton or a python skeleton. I'm leaning toward boa for some reason but I honestly can't remember which our guide told us it was. It was in a display case, just as if it were alive. Obviously, it is too delicate a specimen to be out for people to touch. I can only imagine children wanting to reach out to the thin bones only to have them snap off.
To the right here is a corn snake. I never realized how bright they were, pretty almost. (I never, never thought I would call a snake pretty...) There was an albino corn snake as well but, stupid me, I didn't take a picture. :o(
And the lizards. Oh, the lizards. They only had a few. (Turtles seemed to be their most numerous pets.)
To the left is a skink. Honestly, I don't remember much of anything she told us about skinks. My bad.
To the right is a leopard gecko. Notice the puffy tail. Apparently, geckos store food in their tails. I'm still marveling over that. Our guide took this neat little lizard out so we could pet him. That was pretty cool. :o)
The walls of this room were covered in animal skins and skeletons, butterfly displays and more. It was a fascinating room.
For more information, driving directions and classes, visit the center's site: Raven Hill Discovery Center.