Sophomore takes walk on wild side

Sophomore takes walk on wild side

Sophomore April Mascoti feeds a green lizard. Moscati enjoys working with exotic animals at Wildlife Adventures.

Approximately 60 snakes, turtles, ferrets, bunnies, parrots, ducks, tarantulas, cockroaches, centipedes, chinchillas, lizards, and hedgehogs run wild in Jarrettsville. Well, at least at Wildlife Adventures they do.

Sophomore April Moscati works at Wildlife Adventures, an organization that teaches people of all ages about animals. They have Interactive Nature Displays at the Harford County Farm Fair and the Festival of Trees. They also host summer camps, birthday parties, school groups, and church groups.

“In our Christian programs, we relate the animals to God and how you can live a life more like Jesus. During our camps, which are my favorite to do, we go on hikes, make crafts, and teach the kids all the different animals,” Moscati said.

With 16 different programs to choose from, each lasting approximately 45 minutes the staff devotes five to seven minutes to each animal while encouraging audience participation.

Moscati has been volunteering and helping with the animals since she was about four or five and was added to the payroll a little over a year ago at age 14.  “I grew up with animals and once I turned 14, it just seemed natural to start working,” Moscati said.

Moscati got involved with Wildlife Adventures because her mother, Sharon Moscati works there and has a close friendship with the boss, Valerie Garcia. Moscati is also best friends with Garcia’s daughter, Morgan. And the more she works, the more she realizes her love for animals.

“When I get older, I want to work at a zoo or go overseas and help preserve land for the animals, study different animals, and learn more information about them,” Moscati said.

“Just dealing with the animals can be an obstacle in itself,” Moscati said. Even though handlers have to be careful with each animal and observe their mood, normally Moscati finds her job enjoyable and even funny at times. “One time I was holding the turtle and it started to pee on me so I held it out and it started to pee on a kid,” Moscati said.

Moscati has the biggest challenge with the boa constrictors. Many people hold the boa constrictors as part of the programs at Wildlife Adventures, which gets stressful for the snake.

“If the boa gets too stressed, it may bite someone, so you have to be extra careful with its head,” Moscati said. “We always try to make sure we know where the head is at all times and that it is towards us and not towards people trying to pet it.”

Also Wildlife Adventures travels all over Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia and “another obstacle is just fitting all the animals in the car.” Moscati works with other employees right now because she doesn’t have her license and the transportation of animals is done by the employees.

Even though handling the animals can be challenging, the delight in their playfulness makes the job all worth it. “I can just look at a ferret and smile,” Moscati said.

Sarah Kearby is a Lifestyles editor for The Patriot and