SYRACUSE -- A menagerie of unusual animals showed up Friday at Buffalo Point Elementary School.
The creatures were first-grade students inside animal costumes, parading through the school in the culminating activity of a monthlong study of animals, said first-grade teacher Cindy Nottingham.
Student Mason Olsen learned all about red-eyed tree frogs so he could dress like one and teach others what he had learned.
"He sticks to trees," Mason said as he demonstrated the feat.
That's what he likes most about the little animals, he said.
"They have suction cups on their fingers."
The frog lives in the rain forest and grows to be no more than 3 inches long, he said.
Students from all seven of the school's first-grade classes studied animals, then dressed in animal costumes. Their parade wound through each others' classrooms as well as into the "corral," where parents and grandparents sat to view the procession.
Lilli Lowe, a student in one of the Spanish immersion classes, dressed as a lion.
"I love lions. They are so cool the way they look and how they eat raw meat," she said.
Lilli managed to look quite ferocious as she snarled like a lion.
Among the animals was a scary rattlesnake.
"They are cool and rattle around everywhere," said Logan Child, dressed as a snake, with his face painted. "They live in the desert."
Logan said he has a dog and some cats as pets, but no snakes.
"We saw a snake in our yard," he said, adding that it wasn't a rattlesnake but a garter snake.
"I like elk. My dad likes to hunt, and elk make really cool sounds," Harrison Affleck said as he held up an elk caller and turned on the sound so the cry of an elk could be heard.
"They swim really good. They travel about 50 miles in a day," he said, adding that he would never get too close to one in the wild. "They would chase after you."
Boston Park had spots on his face and wore a cheetah costume. The cheetah runs fast and eats antelope, hares and gazelles, among other animals, Boston explained.
After the cheetah catches his prey, he moves to a safe place. "He has to rest for 20 minutes before eating," Boston said.
The cheetah has to rest because he runs so fast, Boston said, adding the animal can run 70 mph for one minute at a time.
During the Animal Unit, students also focused on writing. Each answered questions when family members and friends visited the classrooms after the parade.