(Mission, TX) – You're invited to Spike's birthday party, Saturday, December 10, at 10 AM, at the National Butterfly Center! A yearlong resident of the garden, Spike is a giant African Spurred Tortoise, whose birthday we celebrate at the anniversary of his adoption.
Abandoned after 10 years when his boy went to college, Spike was picked up by Animal Control and surrendered to a local sanctuary. The sanctuary owner first suggested Spike come to live at the National Butterfly Center, where he has become the official spokes-tortoise for the facility and a very large part of their youth education and wildlife conservation programs.
“We call Spike 'the world's most spectacular non-butterfly',” states Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center. “He's huge and very friendly, so everyone loves him. He enjoys all the attention he receives, here, and he's an excellent visual aid for teaching children all the things that butterflies have in common with reptiles, and why South Texas is home to so many of both!”
At nearly 100 lbs., Spike is a really big teaching tool who is expected to reach 200 lbs. at maturity. With his help, children get to know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle, so they may help preserve Spike's smaller cousins, our endangered Texas Tortoises. They are also introduced to concepts such as native and non-native species, ecosystems and stewardship, in order to prevent the release of exotic animals from the pet trade into habitats where they do not belong.
“We are all responsible for the protection of native plant and wildlife species,” explains Wright, “Thanks to Spike, learning about these things is fun, memorable and relatable for our visitors, who not only understand that butterflies are basically cold-blooded creatures with scales; but also appreciate the importance of caring for these creatures and providing for their needs.”
Everyone is invited to attend Spike's birthday party, complete with a fruit “cake” made from his favorite foods and craft activities for the kids. Bring your camera for “Beauty & the Beast” photos with Spike, as well as a present for the big guy (red apples, strawberries and watermelon are always appreciated); or make a donation to the Spike Support Fund, which we hope will cover his meals and medical expenses for another year.
We hope to see you, here!
For more information or to learn more about the National Butterfly Center, visit www.nationalbutterflycenter.org, or call 956.583.5400. You can also find us on Facebook, or schedule your school field trip for 2015, at this time.
The National Butterfly Center is committed to ‘Growing Connections’ between people, plants, and the winged wonders that pollinate and propagate all that grows around us. We do this through educational and environmental initiatives that cultivate meaningful understanding of the processes that create sustainable ecosystems. The Center is open to the public, for visitors and members, seven days/week.
To learn more about our mission and how you can join us, visit www.nationalbutterflycenter.org, or call 956.583.5400. Your annual membership or charitable gift impacts the beauty of our community and helps preserve the biologically diverse, natural treasures of deep South Texas.