Biology Club Goes Wild for Animal House

Students experience encounters with wild animals


Anthony Malo photo

On March 2, the two titans of the biology department joined forces to showcase ten of the most famous animal celebrities on campus. This joint event between Animal House and Biology Club was attended by several insects, a turtle, a tortoise, some crabs, Smaug the bearded dragon, Kuzco the crested gecko and quite a few students as well. This event was a big hit among Animal House and Biology Club members alike. This was a great opportunity for people who are not enrolled in the Animal House course to interact with the animals and ask questions about their species’ origins and habits.

Some notable events included Dandelion the Russian tortoise and the aforementioned Smaug having some pre-show nerves, which was followed by a hasty clean-up before too many people became aware. Biology Club and Animal House advisor Dr. Ryan Haasl was present and mentioned his favorite animals in Animal House were the steel-blue colored death-feigning beetles. “But it’s hard to pick,” Haasl said and mentioned that beetles were the focus of his master’s degree. 

I had the opportunity to interview a member of Biology Club as well as a member of Animal House. Biology Club vice president Kadee Lawrence commented that Smaug was her favorite Animal House animal because of his “head bobs,” which Smaug does when he’s angry. Lawrence’s first academic advisor was Haasl, who inspired her to become more involved in biology activities on campus, especially since the university is so engineering-based. Lawrence would like to see more mammals in Animal House, specifically rodents, as it is currently mostly reptile and invertebrate-focused. 

Next up was Jamie Matthews, the vertebrates lead in Animal House. Once again, Smaug was the favorite, because “he goes from being a little toddler to a grandpa.” She absolutely adores his side-eyed and grumpy face when he is relaxing in his hammock, but also when he is running around and exploring. Matthews was inspired to join Animal House to increase her knowledge and experience handling and caring for animals, which is her desired career. She enjoys sharing animals with people and wants to see another snake in Animal House, preferably one smaller than Monty the ball python, like a corn or milk snake.

Biology Club meets every other Wednesday, either playing biology-related games or meeting with professors and guest speakers to broaden their knowledge on biology. If you’re interested in joining Biology Club, learn more about it on PioneerLink and request to join!