Reptile Man overuns Ridgefield

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Ridgefield — "Sit" and "sleep" sound more like commands you would bark at the family dog than at an alligator. But kids at South Ridge Elementary School learned it's not only Fido that can follow instructions, as they squealed in delight when visiting "Reptile Man" Scott Petersen showed off the same talents of Lucy the gator, an animal he raised from birth. "She's still learning to count properly," Petersen said at a Feb. 18 assembly. Petersen came to the school to teach the students about reptiles and their ecosystems. He presents similar live-animal shows across the region, a practice he started more than 20 years ago when he was a biology teacher. In his visit to South Ridge, Petersen also showed off a giant snapping turtle capable of biting through bone. Some children even got a chance to carry a hefty boa constrictor named Betty. "There's something about the mystery and intrigue of reptiles that really gets students interested in nature, and one of my goals is to cultivate and grow that interest," Petersen said. Learn more about his work at http://www.reptileman.com.