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Naturalist and humorist “Wildman” Phil Rakoci visited the Sedona Public Library on Tuesday morning, July 15, for a presentation of wild reptiles and arachnids.Philip Rakoci, as “Wildman” Phil, gets his hat taken from him by a large soft-shelled turtle in a stunt to show how long the turtle’s neck is. Rakoci hosted a wild animal fun demonstration for a  group of youngsters at Sedona Public Library to educate them about the different creatures around the planet, like reptiles and arachnids.

Rakoci had a variety of snakes and lizards, as well as a tarantula and a scorpion, that he showed kids in the audience.

“A lot of the animals are what people might think of as creepy or scary or dangerous, but I think they’re all cool,” he said.

One of the animals that drew the biggest reaction from the crowd was a large African spurred tortoise with a unique set of front limbs.

“This particular tortoise ... is actually very special. He’s unlike any other tortoise anywhere in the world,” he said. “This tortoise came to me about eight years ago. I got him from somebody I had never met, somebody who knows I like animals and knows I like to help them out.

“I came home one day and on my porch was a box. Inside the box were two baby African spurred tortoises. I got the first one out and he was a cute little guy, so I put him out in the yard with the other tortoises and they got along fine. Then I got this tortoise out, and I noticed right away that this tortoise was different.”

To read the full story, see the Friday, July 18, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.


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  • Jennifer Kline

    I liked Wildman Phil's message of conservation - but he enforced negative stereotypes by making comments like "cry/scream like a girl" and that blondes (girls) are dumb. I hope the library can tell him not to enforce negative stereotypes about girls if he is going to come back for another presentation.

  • Jennifer Kline

    I liked Wildman Phil's message of conservation - but he enforced negative stereotypes by making comments like "cry/scream like a girl" and that blondes (girls) are dumb. I hope the library can tell him not to enforce negative stereotypes about girls if he is going to come back for another presentation.

  • Jennifer Kline

    Me and my child enjoyed Wildman Phil's presentation, however I was upset that he disparaged girls several times by using phrases like "cry/scream like a girl" and that blondes (girls) are dumb. I hope the library can be a place safe from negative stereotypes about any groups such as girls. If Wildman Phil is invited back I urge the library to tell him not to make fun of girls. Anyone who has raised a boy knows they cry and scream as much as girls (although studies actually show boy babies are more fussy).

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