Adding Spring Animals to your Routine

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Spring Roxie RaccoonSo you tried using puppets in your act and it’s really not your thing? Here is something fun to try, an animal made of spring! Sorry for the rhyme, I just couldn’t help myself. Not everyone can master puppetry, or perhaps you just don’t see how to fit a “puppet act” into your show, but spring animals are puppets of sorts and they are loads of fun.
 
What are Spring Animals? 
Basically you have a cute furry critter like a Spring Raccoon or Skunk that you can animate very easily and the movements look quite realistic when practiced. Inside the animal is a spring much like what is in a mattress, sturdy yet flexible. Outside is the furry critter covering, eyes, ears, body and tail, and with a few simple moves they come to life.
 
How do they work? The spring can be manipulated through the outer fur to make your critter look around, eat from your hand, sniff things and even leap from your hand. Let’s take a look at some of those moves.
 

Looking up and down

Spring Animals: Looking Up and Down 1. Hold animal just below what would be the neck with your thumb on top and index finger on the bottom, sort of like a pistol.
Spring Animals: Looking Up 2. Press down with your thumb and the animal looks upwards.
Spring Animals: Looking Down 3. Pull in with your index finger like squeezing a trigger and it looks down. This method will make the animal sniff or eat by pulling and releasing quickly and repeatedly.
 

Spring Animals: Make it ScurryMake it scurry

Hold the animal sort of like a baby up against your body, with one hand on its back and the other on the bottom. Now two fingers of the bottom hand wiggle your animal while pushing it up towards your shoulder; this makes it look as if your critter is running up your trousseaux. As you get better at this maneuver you can make your animal scurry all over, even side-to-side.
 


 

Leaping and jumping

Spring Animals: Leaping and JumpingThis is my favorite part. Being that these critters are spring loaded you can make the jump by compressing them. Literally just squish the head down to the tail, as you release the head give it a little flick from the bottom end and they become airborne. Try shooting your animal into the crowd and watch them go nuts. Usually gets quite a few screams but play it up right and the crowd will be eating out of your hand. I make it jump around the audience several times before returning to my spot on stage.
 


Play it up

I bring my spring animal along in a cardboard animal carrying case from the Humane Society. I tell my audience I have a wild animal that I would like to show them, and that everyone must remain quiet and calm as not to frighten our little friend. As I reach into the box, I scurry my hands around like he’s playing hard to get and when I bring him out he quickly scurries inside my jacket. This brief glimpse of flying fur really makes the audience think they are about to see a wild little critter.
 
There are so many great opportunities to use a spring animal in your act, I do hope you will try one and enjoy the success that I have.
 

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