Animal Magic has been operating out of Belleville for forty-one years, led by owner Mark Rosenthal. Animal Magic is one of the largest no-kill, non-profit exotic animal rescues in the United States.
Rosenthal opened Animal Magic in 1980 and they have been doing exotic animal educational presentations longer than anyone in the United States. He states that he is booked every day of the year with shows. Animal Magic regularly presents to elementary schools but they also work at weddings, festivals, and other parties or events.
“Almost any kind of event you can think of, I go to,” Rosenthal said. ”There’s no type of event that I like doing more than any other because I put out 100% effort no matter what it is I’m doing.”
Animal Magic Brings Animal Fun
Rosenthal is very clear in explaining in his shows that his service is not a petting zoo. The only people who touch the animals during shows are him and his fiancé, Misty Fortner.
“I’ve been successful for 41 years, nobody has ever been injured and I don’t take those chances,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal does employ people to help him. Some of his employees have been with him for the last 30 years. But, he says he only has other people take care of the animals when he is traveling for over a day. When taking care of animals, consistency is important so they can receive the care they need.
Animals that Rosenthal works with are not pets. They reside at a facility separate from their house where all of the animals stay unless they need to be bottle-fed.
Animal Magic gets their animals in one in three ways. Not only do they get some animals from zoos, but they also supply zoos with animals. Another way animals come into Animal Magic’s care is from the public. When people buy exotic animals as pets, they sometimes realize that the animal is not realistic to have in their home so they bring them to Rosenthal. Animal Magic also works with police departments to do rescues when people have illegal or dangerous animals in their homes.
Animal Magic’s Shows
Animal Magic rescues a large range of exotic and rare anmials, including birds, reptiles, and large and small mammals. One thing that Rosenthal said he is proud of about his shows is that he has never done the same show twice.
“With the quantity of animals that we have, every day is different,” Rosenthal said.
While the animals vary in every show, there are some things that are consistent in every presentation. Rosenthal talks to the audience about phobias and how they taught by children from their role models. At many shows, he says there are audience members who begin with fears of snakes, arachnids, and other animals that he brings. However, these fears are often somewhat overcome by the end of the show.
“I think one of the best accomplishments that I come away with is getting people to overcome some irrational fears,” Rosenthal said.
Animal Magic services are a product of Rosenthal’s passion for exotic animals as well as entertaining and educating.
“I love what I do. This is not a job and people tell me that they can see that when I’m doing my shows,” Rosenthal said.