Mesmerized by a school presentation when he was in third grade, a little boy began a lifelong love affair with reptiles.
The little boy, Michael Foux of Austin Reptile Shows, grew up and got married. Now he and his wife, Christie, are trying to build an enclosure for their friend Titus, an African Spur Tortoise who can grow to over 200 pounds.
Oh, and there’s also the little matter of the 60 or so other reptiles that live in their house, as part of their growing collection.
But Christie, a second grade teacher at Caraway Elementary, doesn’t mind at all. In fact, the two have put together a company that exists to serve both their passions: reptiles and education.
What started as presentations by Michael for Christie’s students has developed into Austin Reptile Shows, an Austin-based business that has gained local popularity.
I think I know why.
Austin Reptile Shows Educate
Some people think reptiles are scary, but everyone knows there is nothing scarier than 35 bored elementary students sitting in a classroom.
That’s never a problem for Austin Reptile Shows.
As crates filled with reptiles are hauled into the classroom, the anticipation and excitement level among the students escalates into something that could be measured on the Richter scale.
Teachers and group leaders do their best to calm and quiet the students, as Michael Foux starts his 45-60 minute show.
Shows are actually designed around TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), the standards for what students in Texas should know and be able to do. Michael and Christie have taken great care to ensure that Austin Reptile Shows are not only fun, but filled with informative excellence.
We had a chance to watch Michael give a presentation at a YMCA center, and were floored by how great he was with the kids. Michael has a way of imparting his passion and knowledge to students, in a manner customized to their age and level of understanding.
Austin Reptile Shows Excite
There’s something priceless about seeing the students’ reactions to the marvelous creatures that Austin Reptile Shows brings in.
The faces that the students make, some of horror and some of delight, had us smiling. And the bravery that the students muster in reaching out to touch the “scary” reptiles is awesome to watch.
Michael assures his audiences that none of the reptiles in his show are venomous. But he also takes the time to explain why people should always use extreme caution around any reptile they aren’t familiar with.
What to Expect
At the show we attended, Michael opened with Titus the African Spur Tortoise, and ooohs, aaahs and gasps from roughly 25-30 students and teachers.
Then there were two cute little lizards, a bearded dragon, a family of corn snakes, a gopher snake, a milk snake and Michael’s personal favorite, Smeagol the Ball Python. And the reptiles still kept coming.
Michael took time with each reptile to talk about its history, habitat and other interesting facts.
He also took each reptile around to the students and allowed each of them (who were willing) to touch and experience firsthand.
The excitement level that started from the opening minute remained throughout the session. We were truly impressed.
How You Can Book Austin Reptile Shows
A simple disclosure: we weren’t paid or compensated in any way to write this article on Austin Reptile Shows.
We really like what we saw, though, and think a show would be fun and appropriate for teaching, small groups, birthday parties and the like.
Forget the clown; get Michael instead.
A few things are for sure. You’ll get great photos, the expressions will be priceless and you’ll leave the children with something they’ll talk about with their parents and friends for a long time.
If you are interested in booking a show or have questions, you can visit the Austin Reptile Shows website, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them directly at (512) 986-6182.
Have you seen one of the Austin Reptile Shows? Do reptiles freak you out or do you think they’re cool?