Hermann led his group into the reptile building, talking loud enough so they could all hear him. “-where we keep our reptiles and amphibians. Our zoo is home to forty different species. Recently we rescued a female iguana- she was injured by a hunters trap and our experts are working on rehabilitating her, if you’ll just follow me this way we’ll start with the smaller lizards and snakes-”
Children squealed and ran from their parents sides to the glass separating them from the creatures, older folks drifted off to take pictures of their grandkids and to read the signs next to the enclosures.
Hermann could tell them everything on those panels- having worked here long enough to memorize everything- but he let them wander. He watched as some smaller kids mimicked a rat snakes flicking tongue, and smiled.
Suddenly, a voice called out from behind him, and his smile was replaced with a scowl. “Hey Herm!”
He turned to see Dr. Gieszler walking towards them, a young boa constrictor draped around his shoulders and exploring his arms.
“Hello Dr. Geiszler.” He said politely, turning back to survey his tour group.
"Pardon?" Hermann said, glancing at him.
"Lilly- the snake?" Newt gestured with the arm Lilly seemed to be enjoying climbing.
He was about to reply, but his group noticed the man and the snake and gathered around, excited.
"Ah- this is Dr. Geiszler, the zoos leading expert in reptiles. He’s the one who’s rehabilitating the iguana I mentioned earlier."
Newt grinned and kneeled so the kids could see the snake better. “Hey guys, this is Lilly.”
"Can I touch it?" One of the older kids asked, reaching out their hand already.
Newt glanced up at Hermann, who shrugged back at him.
"Yeah sure buddy, don’t touch her head though. And- yeah, stroke her in that direction. You feel how smooth she is?"
The child’s younger sibling squealed, “Eww! Snakes are slimy!”
The man laughed, “Now why’re you saying such mean things about Lilly? She’s just a baby. Snakes aren’t slimy, they’re smooth and scale-y. Wanna feel?”
The child inched forward and placed a small, tentative hand on the snakes side.
“See? She feel slimy to you?”
The child laughed and backed away.
Newt stood up and repositioned the snake so she was distributed evenly over him. “Alright- well- Id love to stay and talk about snakes, but it’s feeding time for some of the salamanders so I’ll let you folks get back to your tour.” He nodded to Hermann, and winked. “Herm.”
He scowled at the mans back as he went on his way, ignoring the snickers of some of the older members of his group.
“Alright, shall we go see that iguana?”