Veteran Rotarian and Second World War hero, holder of PHF Sapphire summed up the talk given by ‘Jungle Jo’ at Thursday’s lunchtime meeting, as quite extraordinary and interesting. A different approach to her subject matter was displayed as she spoke on her ’Exotic Entertainment’. This was the original advertisement space she acquired in Yellow Pages back in 2005. It was in that year that Jo began giving her expertise to schools, birthday parties, disability schools, residential homes and other venues. The business has grown as she covers Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Her lifelong passionate interest now houses 31 species of diverse exotic animals, mammals and insects.
The whole series of explanation about the 4 animals shown was a not to be missed experience, the faces of the members when each in turn was handed a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, eased the panic as the 2 1/2” insect, that has more brains than a 5 a side football squad, plus the referee, allows it to live for 2 weeks after its head is decapitated. For 40 million years these insects have bred and lived on earth, with its blood having antifreeze in it and ability to eat anything, will inhabit this planet, long after human demise.
Following was the New Guinea Spiny stick insect. Only one of the male and female insects was distributed to each Rotarian in turn. Strange is its waterproof skin, it camouflages its eggs, sheds its skin as it grows and changes its colour. Beginning at the top of the canopy from lime green through to dark brown on the jungle floor. A similar size to the cockroach, it lives about 2-3 years.
Now, the first signs of nervousness hit the attendees as the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula was introduced. It never ‘poos’ as it recycles everything it eats into producing its web, which is on the floor, even to eating its leg, should it be broken off. It will go up to 1 1/2 years without food and up to 2 1/2 years without water, claws are retractable. With poor eyesight it is guided by smells and senses vibrations through its body hairs, towards its prey. It accommodates 8 eyes, no nose, nor ears.
So, to the Eastern Indigo snake, from Orlando Florida. A protected species that will grow up to eight feet long. It sheds the skin on its eyes, its fangs and tongue during the growing period along with its whole body. Rats, birds, fish and small mammals are on its diet sheet.
The Prince’s Trust was the initial start to her business enterprise, and she is qualified in animal education. She has adapted the curriculum subjects to the presentation of live animals. Thus eliminates childrens’ fears and now has removed many of the members’ from their phobias. An excellent time limited exhortation. Rtn Chris Harriss from Harlow Tye Rotary Club was extremely impressed, as a visitor. Jo has been on television, radio and accompanied Sir David Attenborough at his book signing. As a Karate Black Belt now studying Kung Fu she has also swum with sharks. President Peter Fox has advised that anyone reading this, will look at her website www.junglejo.co.uk on the internet. Those wishing to know more about Dunmow Rotary Club, to join, or visit please contact Rotarian Past President Dick Amott, telephone 07749932260, or 01279 870988.