For 16 years, John Valentine traveled throughout the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, Santa Monica, Orange County and more with his Traveling Nature Class.
On May 1, he’s packing it in—along with his wallaby, skink, scorpions, snakes, bearded dragons, spotted frogs and more.
Valentine, 66, is ready to retire out to the desert (in Laughlin, Nevada), and he is getting ready to disburse his animals to zoos, collectors, reptile experts and more so that he can travel around unencumbered by dozens of creepy-crawly critters.
“I love un-teaching people of everything they know about the animals they are afraid of,” said Valentine.
He drapes four-foot snakes around the necks of children who are at-first terrified of snakes. He shows people how to pet tarantulas and how to approach lizards.
And yes, he even has a lizard nod when he asks it a question, and another that will stick out it’s long blue tongue to kiss a curious child.
“I have spent a lot of time in the Amazon, I know these animals,” he said.
Bonnie George, the Valley View PTA president, said the Valentine Traveling Nature Class has been a big hit at the school for children of every age for the past eight years. “The students are thrilled to hear he is coming, and he will be very much missed,” she said.
Although no animal has ever bitten or attacked anyone during his traveling show, Valentine did have a wallaby hopping around loose at Valley View’s campus a few years ago. Other than scaring the cafeteria staff, no one was harmed.
See the videos of John Valentine at work, and how the children react.