Locust Shade Park Hosts Reptilian Guests

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus

He may not have an Australian accent but Michael Shwedick is something like the Potomac Communities’ own version of the Crocodile Hunter.

Shwedick keeps and shows an expansive private collection of reptiles, and brought several species to share with visitors to Locust Shade Park on Thursday.

Shwedick’s calm voice and soothing demeanor navigated parents and children through a variety of reptiles including an alligator, crocodile, Mexican Milk Snake, cobra, and copperhead.

Shwedick shared how his own fascination with reptiles began as a young child and that his parents did not approve of non-fuzzy pets in their home. As he grew, Shwedick pursued his passions and now uses his collection of animals to help educate the public on respect for the “misunderstood” species of animals.

“When a snake sees a person, they really just want to crawl under a rock or your shed…it’s our great pleasure to stand back and watch the snake and not touch it or step on it”, he said.

At the end of the show, guests were invited up to pet Banana Boy’s Brother, or “Triple B”, a 15-foot albino python.

Sarah, age 5, who attended the show with her father, said that the snake didn’t feel real. “He feels like plastic or something. Not slimy at all…I like him” she said.

Locust Shade Park’s Jean C. Smith Amphitheater offers numerous programs throughout the summer, including plays and informational performances for children and adults.

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