The Erie Zoo held an event on July 23 to raise awareness and stress the need for conversation of certain animals that people tend to be afraid of.

We checked in with the zoo to see which critters they had on display for guests to learn about.

The Erie Zoo celebrated reptiles, amphibians, and insects that are endangered.

Many people find some of these animals to be creepy and or gross, but this event was meant to show people that these creatures are nothing to be afraid of.

The Erie Zoo held its first R.A.I.S.E. Up for Conversation event on Saturday. R.A.I.S.E. stands for reptiles, amphibians, invertebrate, species, extravaganza.

Staff members at the zoo hoped that people left this event with a better understanding of animals and that they raise a good amount of money to go towards conservation efforts.

“We are celebrating the creepy crawlies of the world that don’t often get much attention when it comes to conservation. As an example, the reptiles, all the reptile species in the world, one out of every five are considered to be endangered. So not a lot of conservation efforts going out there to help them, and a lot of the proceeds are going towards these conservation efforts,” said Kylie Kaspick, Erie Zoo Marketing and Events Assistant.

Some of the animals that were on display included scorpions, snakes, bearded dragons, turtles, butterflies, and more.

Throughout the day, guests were invited to take a closer look by participating in conversations with zoo keepers, veterinary technicians, and tables where they had the opportunity to touch the animals assisted by zoo volunteers.

Guests also had the ability to feed yellow footed tortoises and see what it looks like when staff members feed the alligator at the zoo.

Although many people can be afraid of these types of animals and creatures, staff members at the zoo told us they can be quite beneficial to our environments.

“Some of these animals are pollinators. Some of these animals kill pests and other invertebrates that tend to bug us a lot. They keep populations at bay. They keep the dirt airyated, and they create new dirt and all that kind of stuff. So they’re very, very important to our environment,” said Kaspick.

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Following people’s visit on Saturday, the Erie Zoo hopes that those in attendance now have a newfound respect for these animals.