Annunciation students get some hands-on lessons

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Samantha Perrien, a fourth-grader at Annunciation Catholic School, looks up at a baby alligator held by Nicole Garris, of the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, during a presentation on Friday at the school. Garris talked about reptiles in North Carolina.

Ken Buday/Havelock News
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 08:19 AM.

Fourth-grader Samantha Perrien recalled seeing an alligator once when she was in Florida. But, she wasn’t about to touch it.

The Annunciation Catholic School student had the chance to touch a baby alligator last week as part of a presentation from the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for students at the Havelock school.

"It’s pretty cool," she said.

Nicole Garris, outreach assistant at the aquarium, gave a presentation about reptiles in North Carolina. She taught the students interesting facts, such as what makes up hair and finger nails in humans also makes up the scales of an alligator, that snakes can shed their skin up to four times per year, that some sea turtles hold their breath up to four hours and that alligators can lose up to 3,000 teeth in their lifetimes.

When asked how alligators can see under water, Perrien had the answer.

"They kind of wear goggles," she said. "They close their eyes, but it’s clear."

However, she said her biggest lesson was how to determine the size of an alligator just by looking at its head. The length between its eyes and nose in inches is the reptile’s approximate length in feet.

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