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Spice up your next virtual event with critters from Ann Arbor’s Leslie Science and Nature Center

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ANN ARBOR – Tired of the uniformness of virtual meetings?

Whether you have daily or weekly meetings for work or you regularly chat with friends, the format can get redundant and just plain boring.

That’s why the Leslie Science and Nature Center has begun offering special appearances from its animal ambassadors to lift the virtual meetup experience.

From a slithery boa constrictor to hungry fruit bats munching away at their lunch, the educational appearances are designed to be fun and informative.

An education staff member will accompany each animal ambassador for 15 to 30 minute sessions that include a Q&A. The animal experts can join various meeting platforms, including Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams and more.

According to LSNC, the option is ideal for family reunions, birthday parties or catching up with friends.

Below are the available animal ambassadors, with descriptions by LSNC:

Barred Owl

The Barred Owl is no stranger to online teaching. He’s been logging onto zoom for over 6 years! The Barred Owl is a charismatic edition to any conversation with his large dark and mysterious eyes! This owl is full of curiosity and turns his head at any new sound or notification chime he hears during meetings. This makes him a very good at paying attention at meetings. If you’re lucky, you may even hear him hoot or wink!

Boa Constrictor

Whether it’s hugging a tree branch, or accidentally licking the camera with their tongues, boa constrictors are fascinating to watch! Enjoy watching the behavior of these laid-back, powerful creatures as they slide their way into your next virtual hang out. Any constrictor you meet is naturally found in tropical habitats, so the colorations and adaptations these creatures possess are sure to amaze you and your virtual guests! If you have trouble sitting still in meetings, you will get along great with these critters.

Fruit Bat

Have you ever seen a fruit bat eat a piece of papaya or banana? Have one of our adorable, dog-faced megabats hang out (literally) with you during snack time as they chomp away at their fruit salad. It’s hard not to chuckle as they as they fill their mouths with fruit. All the while their fuzzy ears spin left and right taking in every sound from your meeting or event. You can’t resist falling in love as they huddle together for warmth and comfort once their bellies are full.

Red-Tailed Hawk

If you have ever seen them resting along the highway or soaring in the air, you’ll be blown away by their actual size and stature when you see a red-tailed hawk up close next to a human! Our red-tailed hawk is chock-full of incredible, predatory features, but will usually hold a stoic pose as you take in her amazing plumage and temperament. During the day, she’s quite active, so you may have the chance to watch her stretch her wings while you take care of business at your next virtual session. We will keep an eye on her but be warned, she has been known to knock our video camera over with her large wingspan when she stretches!


This critter has an intimidating look with all of those pointy spines on its body, but wait until you see the soft furry underbelly! Hedgehogs take a minute to warm up to any situation but the wait is worth it. Watching them curiously and cautiously poke their little noses out until it appears to be safe is part of the fun. Once they are out, they are full of personality and impossible to forget.

To book a session, click here.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.