Have you ever been to a Reptile Show? If you Google ‘reptile shows’ with your hometown’s name, you might be surprised how many are near you. I’ve now been to my third one. And each time I’ve seen and learned so much about both nature and people.
The first one was in Tucson AZ and I had no idea what to expect...maybe snakes crawling and lizards leaping and weird people. Once I actually took a deep breath, paid my admission and walked into the large hall, my fears got lost in my amazement of the variety of animals I saw.
The chameleons were multi-colored and safely caged in habitats of branches and greenery.
The poisonous Dart Frogs were brightly colored and hopping around the trickling water in their humid terrariums. (These have toxic skins for their own protection). Snakes of many patterns and varieties were in containers and carefully monitored.
|Young Green Tree Python|
I fell in love with baby bearded dragons as they stacked on top of each other.
It was obvious that people were fascinated with these reptiles that originally came from all over the world. (Now many are captive-bred.) And now I was one of those ‘weird’ people.
The second show was in Phoenix and there were so many Crested Geckos for sale that I wondered where they all came from. There are trends in reptile fashions. Some years there are more boas, some years more corn snakes, some years more skinks. I had no idea there were so many varieties of lizards, frogs, turtles and snakes. Nor did I realize that so many people throughout the world are fascinated by them. Lots to learn!
This year, Peter and I went to the Phoenix Reptile Expo. There were more turtles here than I had seen in the past- tiny black polka dotted turtles from Asia, star backed ones called Radiated Tortoises, Pancake Tortoises, and Matamata Turtles. In general, turtles live in or near the water and have adapted to swim by holding their breath underwater. Tortoises live primarily in arid regions, built for storing their own water supply and walking on sandy ground.
There were lots of bearded dragons, crested dragons, geckos, skinks, and chameleons. Chameleons are fun to look at but not easy to care for.
Many of the reptiles have been cross-bred to be what are called ‘designer’ reptiles. The colors and patterns have been altered to be ‘fashionable’. It is often now difficult to find reptiles that have their original coloring and patterns. But I found an originally colored Leopard Gecko and bought it! He is very easy to care for and very healthy. He now has a small aquarium sand and rocks with his hollow log in it. He sleeps during the day and ‘hunts’ at night. He is a happy lizard!
There were inanimate replicas of a variety of frogs and lizards for sale and lots of t-shirts and caps. There were a couple of tables of reptile jewelry and lots of books and accessories.
It was fascinating watching the people watch the animals, seeing friends meeting friends and vendors exchanging information with each other and customers. These are animals that get a lot of negative press and are somewhat misunderstood just because they are not warm and fuzzy! I’m learning so much about them and about how people form attitudes that may or may not be accurate!