July 23, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
72°F

Fairgoers experience exotic pets up close and personal

Terri Wise lets children pet a tortoise at the Medina County Fair on Tuesday. She said tortoises are faster than most people expect, and they are different from turtles because tortoises aren’t aquatic. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Mojo, a young ring-tailed lemur, clings Tuesday to Wise, its owner. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Terri Wise places a corn snake around the shoulders of a volunteer Tuesday at the Medina County Fair. “Don’t worry, the snake only eats one kid a day, and I fed it mine earlier,” Wise joked. Corn snakes aren’t venomous. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Lions, and tigers, and bears … well, not quite.

They aren’t that dangerous, but Medina County fairgoers all week have the chance to see and touch the unusual pets owned by Chatham Township animal lover Terri Wise and her husband, Bryan.

And best of all, it’s free.

On Tuesday, more than 50 people got to interact with some of the Wises’ “cute and cuddly” pets — a ring-tailed lemur, chinchillas, a groundhog and an angora rabbit — and the “creepy crawly” ones, like her gargoyle gecko, corn snake, legless lizard and panther chameleon.

“Mom and Dad,” Terri Wise said to the parents in the audience, “I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up, and now I have almost a hundred.

“Get them a hamster.”

She said most of her family’s pets are rescued or given to them. Very few are purchased, she said.

She and her husband run Our Zoo to You, an animal show company. Wise said she puts on shows all around Ohio, but prefers to stay in Medina County and the surrounding area.

“One hundred percent of the money we make from the shows goes right to the animals,” she said.

Shows later this week are set to include a fox, a 7½-foot boa constrictor and raccoons. Wise said she’s also planning to bring a coati, which is a Brazilian relative of the raccoon, and a kinkajou, which is native to rainforests.

Visitors to the county fair can stop by the animal shows at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. today and Sunday, and 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For more information on Our Zoo to You or to book the Wises for an event, visit www.animalshowsohio.com.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.