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It Was Like a Zoo at Harborside [Photos]

Snakes, turtles, iguanas and other exotic creatures pay students a visit.

"He feels like a basketball," Milford Police Detective Frank Gall says as he holds a 60-70 pound Burmese Python.

Despite its impressive size, students in Lisa Nori's sixth grade class at Harborside Middle School were eager to hold Elmer, the snake who made headlines in 2009 when Milford Police confiscated the animal as part of an investigation. It took about five students to hold Elmer, with help from Det. Gall and Milford Police ID Technician Melissa Carney.

Elmer was docile. His tongue waved in the air as he sensed his surroundings. But Elmer and some of the other animals Det. Gall brough can be potentially dangerous. That's why he exercises extreme care and caution when handling them and especially so when letting others handle them.

"I treat them like a firearm," he tells the students. "I use my discipline for my firearm in handling these animals."

So, he never points an animal's head at anyone. He respects its power and is always "uber cautious." He also impressed upon the students that owning a pet comes with great responsibility.

Gall speaks from experience. He owns 30 exotic pets, from snakes to iguanas and turtles.

RONALD M GOLDWYN November 18, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Why is "Elmer" in the possesion of Dect. Gall and how did he acquire him. Just what are his other pets? Are any of them dangerous should they escape from his control?
RIck George November 18, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Detective Gall is a renowned amateur herpetologist and lecturer that we and multiple other agencies in the state rely on for info and help, and is also a big part of our pet education program. His knowlege and reptile handeling abilities are the things that legends are made from. He owns nothing that is illegal to own and he was featured in March and May 2011 REPTILES magazine.
Leila Chaucer November 19, 2011 at 01:11 PM
What a treat for the students in the Harborside Science Club! Very nice of Detective Gall to take the time and share his pets!

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