The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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Togo and Diablo: The Rulers of the School

Togo+and+Diablo%3A+The+Rulers+of+the+School

Wilmington Friends School is occupied by students, faculty, and yes- animals. Yes, there are the infamous rats but this article will highlight the welcomed animals. Diablo the bearded dragon and Togo the snake are old souls at the school. Diablo is 18 years old, older than most of the senior class. Togo resides in Caitlin Norton’s bio classroom and spends his days sleeping and facilitating classes while keeping watch over the school during the night hours. These animals are part of the WFS family. 

Togo, the tranquil and therapeutic snake has been with Caitlin Norton,the  upper school biology teacher, since 2008 and has lived in many different classrooms, and met many different science students. Norton describes him as, “a really nice snake. He is curious and gentle and has changed many students’ minds about snakes. There have been people who hate snakes who have warmed up to him. He’s never out to hurt anybody.” Norton makes sure that no one in the class is really uncomfortable with snakes before she brings him around for the students to touch with two fingers. Simran Dattani ‘24 said, “I was scared of him at first but then I pet him and thought he had a cute face.” Norton rarely uses him for classes but pulls him out for her IB HL biology year-2 class when they discuss classification of organisms. It’s more complicated than you think to have a class snake. Every long break Norton brings him to her house where he has a separate cage. She says, “it’s especially difficult to transport him after winter break because he can’t get cold.” During COVID he had to live with her full time at her house. Student’s are always very interested in Togo when he eats. He eats only defrosted rats and mice and he enjoys them very much. The only time Togo has ever hurt anyone was when Norton was feeding him during COVID and he accidentally bit her hand instead of the rat– both parties did not like the experience. Other fun-facts about Togo are that he enjoys basking in the sunshine during the summer months, and that he lives in the enclosure that the infamous ‘cornflake’ resided in before his passing. 

Diablo, the dapper and dazzling bearded dragon lives in Ellen Johnson’s biology room. Years and years ago, before many of you were walking Lisa Darling, Johnson’s boss came into her room and declared, “I would just really love a bio room with living things in it.” Promptly afterwards Diablo showed up and has been with her ever since. Diablo is never used for any experiments or lessons but Johnsons remarked, “some students are calmed by holding him so during class I will let them hold him, but some kids get really freaked out by him.” Diablo was named after Ellen Johnson’s family members who thought that he was evil. Especially her husband who was, “convinced that it would be like the creepy story where the Lizard eats the family in their sleep.” Even though he may not be liked by everyone, many people find him cute and enjoy petting, looking, or holding him during class or breaks. For years he would go home with the Selekeman family over the breaks but during COVID he lived with the Johnson family. Diablo has more of a wide range for his palate than Togo. He eats packaged animal food, dried crickets, and lots of lettuce. 

Both of these animals are well loved and have helped student’s get over their fears of reptiles. Next year Catlin Norton is moving into Ellen Johnson’s room after her partial retirement. Who knows if the two animals will get along in the same room? We’ll have to stick around and see. 

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About the Contributor
Katie Bryan, Staff Writer
Katie Bryan is a community writer for the Whittier Miscellany. This is her fourth year as a part of the Whittier team. She decided to join the Whittier because of encouragement from her eighth-grade English teacher. She likes to stay on a local scale when writing, and she enjoys focusing on the Wilmington Friends community. She finds that she learns significantly more from interviewing than she does writing.   

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