Monday 19th October 2015: 30th Birthday Special

30 years of Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers!


Our extra special 30th Anniversary indoor meeting included some amazing visitors from far flung places including Madagascar, Peru, Mexico, Martinique and even Swindon!

We were very lucky to enjoy a visit from Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow, run by Jonathan Cleverly a University friend of Leader Martin.

We invited both our Wildlife Explorer and Phoenix members to an extra long meeting so that we could meet as many of Jonathan’s fascinating animals as possible!

The evening started with everyone meeting Maximus the giant millipede. Lots of the group got to feel his many amazing legs strolling over their hands and then we discovered that Maximus is home to lots of hitchhikers, very tiny mites, that help to keep him clean after he snacks on on squidgy banana flesh.

It was time to lower the lights for our next visitor, Leia the Imperial scorpion, as Jonathan demonstrated her luminosity using his handy ultraviolet torch. Truly an amazing sight for all of us!

Next both children and adult leaders were given an opportunity to get up close to tiny and beautiful Elsa the Martinique Pink Toed Tarantula, thanks to Jonathan’s excellent close up video camera beaming spectacular footage of her amazing bright blue body onto the screen. We could see her in great detail and learn a lot more about her body.

Some of the more nervous group leaders seemed a little more concerned when Jonathan’s introduced us to Ruby the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula as she was considerably larger but once we all got to know her, thanks to Jonathan’s insightful information, Ruby had made lots of new friends and we understood a lot more about Ruby’s fascinating lifecycle. Again Jonathan’s excellent video camera gave us an amazing closeup view of Ruby including actually watching her spin some silk!

Our final visitor was a real highlight for lots of the children and adults alike! Nacho is a Mexican black king snake and is loves to investigate his environment with his dry and tickly tongue. Because Nacho is such a calm and relaxed snake, we were all able to not only hold him but also feel his tongue for ourselves on the back of hands or even on our noses 🙂 As you can see this led to some brilliant expressions and lots of giggling.

Like many of our native animals Jonathan explained that many of the species, that he takes round schools and groups, are under threat from human action and climate change and explained that none of his animals have been collected from the wild and that all of his animals were bred in this country. The group asked some excellent questions during the meeting and Jonathan shared all he knew about these animals and related it back to more local native species.

As this meeting was a celebration of 30 years of the Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers we made sure we made for time for cake! During our meeting break we all gathered together for a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.

We are so grateful to Jungle Jonathan for coming to visit us and sharing his passion for animals, his enthusiasm is infectious and any of the group members who started the meeting a little nervous left this extra special meeting with a lot less fear and tonnes of fascinating information.

Find out more about Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow at his website – or follow him on his Facebook page

Photos by Darren Mayer and Jan Riley.

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