Monkeys, snakes take seat in science class

Maureen Nagg

Chris Massara, founder of Animal Rescue Services’ Pets and Zoo-2-U, which is based in Bainbridge, rescues animals and recently started taking them on the Zoo-2-U tour for educational purposes. The monkey shown, Misty, was found close to death and was resc

Credit: Andrew popik

It would be hard to imagine Marshall Woods forgetting his day in Earth Science.

Woods, a sophomore justice studies major, the first student to volunteer during a class discussion on animal adaptations, came face-to-face with a Mexican Rose-haired Tarantula.

“I was expecting to hold the ferret,” Woods said. “And then there was a tarantula crawling on my neck, and I was a little freaked out, but it was awesome.”

Tamie Jovanelly’s Earth Science class came to life during a show-and-tell presentation featuring some exotic animals yesterday in McGilvery Hall.

The nonprofit Animal Rescue Services’ Pets and Zoo-2-U brought snakes, monkeys, spiders and lizards into the classroom to interact with students during their discussion of animal adaptations and behaviors.

“Any time students get to interact like this, it’s amazing, and I think they will have a greater appreciation for the subject matter after this experience,” said Jovanelly, a teaching fellow in the geology department. “ I want to leave my students with something memorable.”

Animal Rescue Services’ Pets brought a wide variety of species for students to handle

Some of the animals included a 200-pound python named Hercules, an iguana, a tortoise and a hawk. A few of the lizards introduced to the class haven’t changed since the prehistoric era and are seen as they were then, said Chris Massara, founder and owner of Animal Rescue Services’ Pets.

Massara says his knack for animals is what makes the whole thing possible.

“It’s not that you have a heart for animals,” Massara said. “It’s that they have a heart for you, and I just happen to have that chemistry.”

He even demonstrated this chemistry by showing the class the mating ritual of a monkey with the primate he brought.

“I don’t usually do this in public and I know I made a complete butt of myself, but I think she liked it,” Massara said.

This monkey also happens to be Massara’s best friend.

“I get a little emotional when I talk about her ,” Massara said. “She is my little girl, and she is even in my will.”

Massara rescued Misty from her former owner who used the monkey to practice “experimental surgeries,” he said.

ARS takes in animals of all sizes and species that people either no longer want or don’t know what to do with, Massara said.

“I am the only person the state of Ohio who will work with anything,” he said. “You name it I’ve worked with it.”

ARS helps find new homes for animals, nurse abused or injured animals back to health, and also works to release some animals back into the wild.

“I believe every animal in this room deserves to be in the wild, “ Massara said.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Maureen Nagg at [email protected].