Animal Magic Comes to Saline District Library


Saline District Library hosted Mark Rosenthal’s Animal Magic show on Thursday. Two morning presentations were filled with children and adults who came to see and learn about rare, exotic animals.

Rosenthal has been named one of Nickelodeon’s Entertainers of the Year. He and his wife operate a 10 acre, fully licensed facility in Michigan, where they house rescued exotic animals along with family pets.

“We are not here to scare you,” Rosenthal said, adding that he does specialize in phobias. He explained arachnophobia as “an intense and irrational fear of arachnids.”

He began his show with Legs, a four year old tarantula.

“When she’s fully grown, she will be the size of a dinner plate,” he said.

He then explained ophidiophobia, an intense and irrational fear of snakes, noting that this is the second most common fear in the world. He taught the audience the difference between a venomous coral snake and “Slither”, the milk snake that was part of the show.

One of his newest rescues was a two and a half year old Savannah monitor named Vanna. Savannah monitor lizards are native to Africa, and need special UVB lighting to survive.

“One bite will take your finger off,” Rosenthal said. “And their poop is the worst of any animal in the world.”

Skittles, an eight month old rainbow-billed toucan, was a crowd favorite. His preferred treat is blueberries. Rosenthal said that he only brings Skittles to presentations in closed rooms with low ceilings because he has been known to take flight around a room.

“He will be two feet when he’s fully grown. We got Skittles and his brother, Rainbow, from a zoo in Florida.”

Rosenthal owns the only two bat-eared foxes in the state of Michigan, noting that you would have to drive to the Cincinnati Zoo to see another. Radar and Echo are native to Africa, eat termites, and are nocturnal canines.

“In my opinion, this is the cutest animal in the world,” he said. “Radar’s best friend is our 200 pound St. Bernard.”

Finally, Rosenthal revealed Nico, the world famous “crying” parrot. Nico outlived her previous owner, and the Rosenthal’s rescued her five years ago. Nico is famous for her ability to cry like a human infant. She developed this ability after years of living with her former owner, who was a grandmother that watched babies and children daily.

Nico, a Yellow Nape Amazon, is now 32 years old, and can be expected to live 60 to 80 years. Nico’s viral videos have been seen by over 58 million viewers, and she is so famous that she has two talent agents, one in England and one in Brazil. She has been featured in USA Today, the Washington Post, and several national television programs. The bird’s ability to mimic has gotten them into trouble on several occasions, when police officers have responded to complaints of a crying infant left in their van. Nico can also laugh like a toddler, and will say “Bye, Big Boy” and “Bye! I love you!”

Rosenthal explained that while animals exist in the wild, there is also an important place for animals born and kept in captivity.

“Almost every animal in the world will live two to three times longer in captivity,” he said, adding that there are many animals that only exist today because they are kept alive in zoos.

The Rosenthals sell calendars, books, and DVDs featuring their programs, with proceeds going back to the care of their animals. This Saturday, they can be found at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, where they will be hosting an animal adoption event with over 1000 animals at the Saline Exotic Animal Expo. They also breed over 400 species of tarantulas.

“We will have them available in every color of the rainbow,” he said.

After the presentation, children were invited to come up and ask questions about the animals.

Jakob Goldenberg, age 5, liked Nico, while his brother, Reuben, 8, liked Skittles the toucan. They were joined by their sister, Ella, and their grandmother, Sharon Sanders.

“We had a great time,” Sanders said. “My favorite animal was the toucan, too.”

For more information on Animal Magic, visit, or email Mark Rosenthal at

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