Reptiles wrangled at Jackson-Butts library; The Panses delight a crowd with their slithery friends

Photo by Rebecca Long

Photo by Rebecca Long

By Stewart Voegtlin


Ken and Zack Panse slithered into the Jackson-Butts County last Tuesday morning with baskets of creepy-crawling amphibians and reptiles.

The Panses, alternatively known as "Reptile Wranglers," thrilled a large crowd of local children with "Bump" the turtle, "Marbles" the Gila Monster, "Paco" the lizard, and "Peaches" -- a massive albino python.

Ken Panse warned the children the Gila Monster was highly poisonous, and shocked parents present by explaining the monster eats up to half its body weight in one meal.

"That would be like one of you sitting down and eating a giant turkey -- bones and all -- for dinner," Panse said to the children.

Zack Panse carefully pulled the python from a bag and wrapped it around his shoulders. Panse said the python can grow up to 20 feet long, and it appeared the one he held was well on its way to that length.

"This snake has 60 teeth in his mouth," Panse said. "He can swallow something three times the size of his head, like a rabbit or squirrel."

The children lined up at the presentation's conclusion to touch the python.

Libby Spence, who helped organize the program, thanked Carmichael Insurance for its sponsorship.