It’s a place where exotic animals, many of them cold-blooded, find refuge.
The Urban Safari Rescue Society has roughly 350 animals in their care including 120 different species of animals, ranging from bugs to arachnids, toads and frogs, turtles, tortoises, lizards, and snakes.
A handful of these critters were at the Animals in the Plaza, part of the McBurney Plaza Summer Series, on Saturday.
The society at 1395 176th St. rescues and cares for exotic animals surrendered to the facility, as well as educates the public about animals, the natural world, and conservation issues.
The society’s Gill Turner said apart from a few domestic animals, the society’s animals are exotics.
“They’re mostly rescued or surrendered,” she said.
Oftentimes, changes in circumstances force people to surrender their animals, Turner noted.
“Either they had to move or anything has changed in their life,” she said. “Or, they got the animal not knowing very much about it, they didn’t do their research, and maybe the animal got bigger then intended… for whatever reason, we take these animals in.”
Turner’s advice to someone who wants to care for an exotic is, “for the most part, don’t do it.”
“Most of these animals should not be in our houses,” she said. “If you are really adamant that you want to do it [care for an exotic animal] please do the research. Look at the lifespan, look at how much space they need, the heating, the lighting… they are exotic animals, they need really special treatments.”
The animals don’t need a lot of attention but they of course need the essentials: cleaning, food, and water. Most importantly, Turner said, they need kind of heating and lighting requirements common pets like cats and dogs don’t need.
Animals in the Plaza also included representatives from OWL (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society) who brought along a pair of fine feathered friends, expert dog training presentations from certified dog behaviour consultant and certified dog trainer, Kris Crestejo, pony rides, and more.
Next up in the series is Science in the Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 17, when Science World comes to downtown Langley from noon to 3 p.m.
McBurney Plaza is located at 20518 Fraser Hwy.