Photo by Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

Exotic animal sanctuary to host open house Sept. 24-25

Micha Petty has loved reptiles and amphibians ever since he was a child.

Now, he’s teaching others to love the animals that inhabit the land through the Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), a non-profit organization that freely provides rescue, special needs sanctuary and rehabilitation services to exotic and indigenous animals, as well as conservation education to the public.  Petty,  a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and master naturalist, recently moved his critters into a new 2,000 square foot facility in Elm Grove.

He’s hosting an open house this weekend for the public to come in and see the work his team is doing.

“We teach people of all ages about the animals in their own backyards and their purpose in the ecosystem,” Petty said. “The more we demystify these animals, like snakes in general, the less chance of people killing them every time they see them.”

Petty is in the process of relocating L.E.A.R.N. to a brand new facility. Located on 11 acres of land off Highway 154 in Elm Grove, the site is four times bigger than the previous location in Greenwood.

“I was able to manage everyone in there, but things were cramped together,” Petty said, describing the previous location.

Not only will the bigger facility look better, but it will be easier for his team to maintain all of the tanks. The plan is to have an open room with tanks lining the walls from floor to ceiling. 
L.E.A.R.N. takes in injured or healthy indigenous reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates; exotic reptiles amphibians, and invertebrates; exotic mammals, birds, and aquatic animals (on a case-by-case basis, when capacity permits). They do not take in cats or dogs.

The open house is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25. Visitors will be allowed in Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with a campfire planned from dusk until close. Sunday visitors will be allowed in beginning at 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Petty invites everyone to stop by.

Children are welcome, but must be supervised. Adoptable animals will also be on site. Visitors can fill out an adoption application while there.

Petty intends to have an open house around each equinox, giving the public four opportunities during the year to see their growth.

L.E.A.R.N. is located at 4274 Hwy. 154 in Elm Grove. For more information, visit learnaboutcritters.org.

Micha Petty is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and master naturalist. He’s teaching others to love the animals that inhabit the land through the Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), a non-profit organization that freely provides rescue, special needs sanctuary and rehabilitation services to exotic and indigenous animals, as well as conservation education to the public.
Micha Petty is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and master naturalist. He’s teaching others to love the animals that inhabit the land through the Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), a non-profit organization that freely provides rescue, special needs sanctuary and rehabilitation services to exotic and indigenous animals, as well as conservation education to the public.