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Anchor Seeks Refuge From Reptiles

They may have slithered, crawled, and hopped their way into some people's hearts, but reptiles didn't give co-anchor Hannah Storm a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Ron Magill, goodwill ambassador for the Miami Metro Zoo, visited The Early Show Friday with a python, a Komodo dragon, and a Cane toad. He was aiming to show that these creatures don't deserve the scary reputations they have.

"He scared me," Storm exclaimed as she hopped on a bench, out of the python's reach, and drew her legs up under her.

Oblivious to her discomfort, Magill extolled the attributes of the snake as Storm cowered, backed away, ducked and stood on a bench.

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"You know, I'm not sure where the safe zone is on this set," Storm said.

Here were Magill's companions:

  • Cane toad: Deliberately introduced in Australia to control the beetles that were destroying sugar cane crops, these toads, when stressed, secrete toxins from their skin that can kill dogs and small children. Six months after the initial 101 imported toads were released, there were 60,000 in the wild.
  • Komodo dragon: The most powerful lizard in the world, the dragon can grow to 10 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds. "I've seen 101 pounds of this dragon eat a 90-pound pig in 20 minutes," Magill said. They are considered an endangered species with only about 5,000 found on the small islands in Indonesia.
  • Python: The snake was 10 feet long and weighed a little over 100 pounds. Magill said many people buy them in pet ships when they are only 15 inches long and don't realize that they can grow to be powerful animals. That's when zoos are called in to "adopt" the reptiles, he said.
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