Steve, whose presentation is a cross between Ronald McDonald and the
Crocodile Hunter, was boisterous and enthusiastic with a heavy dose
of humor. The audience responded with enjoyment and delight.
the critters Steve brought was a small alligator. He allowed many of
the children to hold it while he explained the difference between an
alligator and a crocodile, how long they live, and how they live in
the wild. The house laughed when Steve scratched the alligator's
belly and the gator's tale started waging like a puppy's.
Although a bit reluctant, parents, especially the moms, were part
of the show. In one case as Steve carried the alligator around, he
placed it on a mom's head, saying if she liked alligator shoes and
alligator purses, why wouldn't she like a live alligator hat? The
mom sat motionless until Steve removed the quite content gator.
Another time as Steve carried a tarantula around for children to
hold, he placed the arachnid on a woman's head, and the kids yelled
in unison when the creature started walking down her face. The mom
didn't move a muscle.
Another mom was brought forward to choose between a tarantula or
something else she wouldn't see until too late. She opted out of
holding the spider, and while she waited to see what he had in his
one hand, with sleight of the other hand Steve placed a scorpion on
When she was told what was on her, she remained frozen until
Steve removed it, explaining it was a harmless variety, and brought
it around the room for the kids to see.
There was some tension as Serengeti Steve told everyone they had
to be quiet while he held a Salvador lizard. He explained the
Salvador lizard is a cousin to the Komodo dragon species. It has the
sharpest teeth in the animal kingdom and fierce claws. Steve
explained that although the lizard is used to humans, sudden noise
could make the lizard defensive and maybe bite its handler.
As the room stayed hushed, Steve and the Salvador made their way
around the room.
Things livened up again when the final act, an anaconda, was
brought out and many of the children were able to hold the large
Curiously, perhaps the largest groan for any of Serengeti Steve's
critters was when he bought out a giant cockroach. Those guys have
always gotten a bad rap.
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When the show was over, many children and adults said it was the
best entertainment they had seen in years. This program was just a
small part of what the Lincoln Public Library has every year to
entertain and educate young and old alike.
About Serengeti Steve
Steve's fascination with reptiles began when he was a young boy
in St. Louis, where at the age of 10, he found a snake in his
backyard. He used a stick to lift the snake into a bucket and
quickly ran to the encyclopedia to look up what exactly he had
caught. What he had in this bucket was an eastern yellow-bellied
racer, a nonvenomous snake. With some written proof of its
nonvenomous nature and a long "discussion" with mom and dad, he was
allowed to keep it ... provided that HE took proper care of it. He
did, and his interest eventually grew to include reptiles and
arachnids, both of which he studies thoroughly to this day.
His passion grew through the years and was eventually put into
practice when he became a police officer. He began teaching the
D.A.R.E program to local kids and was able to incorporate different
reptiles into the program as extra fun. This experience with
children, in addition to his outgoing personality, allowed him to
make The Reptile Experience an exciting and educational program.
After nearly 10 years of police work, he decided to pursue his
unique interest in a more direct and fulfilling way. Since then he
has raised and maintained over 50 species of exotic snakes, lizards,
monitors, tarantulas and scorpions. All of this has since brought
about what is now The Reptile Experience.
For more information, you can visit his website at