“Kerry the Critter Guy” of Texas Exotic Animals dazzles students in welcome back week

Adam Roseberry Staff Writer

Who needs a trip to the jungles of South America or to the plains of Africa when you can simply travel to Northeast Texas Community College?

As students walked into SUB at the start of the semester, they were likely surprised to see a man clad in brown outdoorsman gear showing off critters and animals from across the world to the fascination of a large crowd.

That man is Kerry “the Critter Guy” Rosenberry of Texas Exotic Animals performing his “Zoo to You” program for the students and faculty at NTCC.

NTCC Director of Student Development & Inclusion, Kaymon Farmer, had the idea to give students a wild welcome back to campus following the winter break.

“We wanted to put some smiles on some people’s faces [and] provide them with some new experiences they’ve probably never had before,” Farmer said.

Students were able to interact with seven different animals, from Stanley the Hedgehog to Mr. Mcgell the kinkajou. While showing his animals off, Rosenberry explained in detail the species, origination, natural habitat, and characteristics of the animal.

The “Zoo to You” program has been going on for about four years now, but that’s not how Rosenberry started his career of showing off animals.

“Believe it or not it started with snakes. I used to have a venomous collection that rivaled most zoos.” Rosenberry said. “It got boring to go to the zoo because they didn’t have the cobras or the South American vipers or anything that we had. I would go do programs with those.”

Texas Exotic Animals is an exotic animal breeding facility based in Pittsburg, Texas. “We breed for zoos and educators,” Rosenberry said.

As a result of operating the breeding facility and having requests by the community to handle exotic animals outside the facility, Texas Exotic Animals started Texas Exotic Animals INC, a 501 C(3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to care for exotic animals left homeless or abandoned.

“Anything that’s not a dog or a cat that ends up at shelters or rescues we’ll take it in and provide it a home,” Rosenberry said. “We assess it and then we do our best to find it a good forever home, somebody that understands the animal that’s gonna take proper care of it.”

Most of the animals involved in the Critter Guys program have come through the non-profit rescue side of Texas Exotic Animals.

”The ferret (Snow White) that I have with us, that was one that came in through the 501 C(3).” Rosenberry said. “If they’re very friendly and exceptional animals we’ll use them for the programs.”

While students were surprised to see a man draping snakes over his shoulders and holding hedgehogs out for petting, for the most part, the surprise seemed to be a welcome one.

“I don’t know what I was expecting to see, this is a very unusual show.” NTCC student Luke McCraw said. “I think it’s very neat that he’s going to come out here and show off these exotic animals that we wouldn’t see otherwise.”

For more information about Texas Exotic Animals INC, students can visit https://texasexoticanimalsinc.org. To learn about other exciting events coming to campus, contact Kaymon Farmer at kfarmer@ntcc.edu, or keep an eye on your student email for event announcements.