Taking a slew of exotic animals on the road
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
You may not have known it, but the Western Idaho Fair played temporary home to dozens of exotic animals.
"we have alligators, cotton-mouth, copperhead...hawks, owls, vultures...We have wolves, we have cougars, we have porcupines," said director of Predators of the Heart, Dave Coleburn.
He and his crew have to follow strict animal welfare guidelines from the state, the county, and the USDA.
"We're required to have veterinarian inspections. We have approved diets, and safe ways to transport all the animals and to display them," Coleburn said.
That means his special air-ride truck is equipped with fans and other temperature-regulated areas for certain animals. Others need plenty of space, and have to have windows to see where they're going. Coleburn has been with his exotic creatures for awhile now, but he had to amass them rather quickly.
"When I was younger, I always liked animals," he said. "We saw the laws coming down the line; we knew everything was going to be illegal to do, so what we did is we got all of our animals in so we got grandfathered in."
Soon, Predators of the Heart became the largest traveling exhibit in Coleburn's home state of Washington. His 45-minute program at fairs and other places around the country especially reaches out to kids, who can touch and even hold some of the critters you don't see every day.
"Our main message is we wanna get kids to fall in love with nature again and to have an appreciation for it," Coleburn said.
Even though he doesn't bat an eye at those fangs, claws, or even venom, the hardest thing for him to do is decide which animal he likes the most.
"Favorite? No....I can't. I like 'em all. I love 'em all."
Learn more about Predators of the Heart, or check out their schedule of traveling shows.