Two hours outside of San Diego there is a place known to locals as the Fairplex. It hosts concerts, county fairs, and the like. The particular weekend my photographer and I went though it played host to more than just the beautiful people of Los Angeles. This weekend it hosted the largest pet exhibit in U.S. history known as the L.A. Pet Fair. As my son and I pulled into the parking lot we saw the line stretching away from the entrance a good distance and growing exponentially.
We headed straight for the reptile building and were treated to a sea of vendors selling everything and anything you could possibly want when it came to reptiles and their care. I actually had a moment to speak with Ramy the shows organizer/owner before the show started and he explained about why there were no longer speakers in the shows. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that people were not attending the guest speaker functions, and he decided to turn that space over to add even more vendors.
We also discovered that he alone organized the entire Los Angeles Pet Fair a phenomenal feat in itself. Not only were there reptiles, he added fish, aquaria, dogs, cats, and even birds. All these were separated into three different buildings and made for an incredible adventure. Being partial to the reptile field, we mostly remained in the reptile building. There alone, I cannot count how many people eventually packed into that building when the show opened. From our perspective the show ran smoothly; we saw some old favorites and some new faces we hadn’t seen before.
The new faces that immediately come to mind as I am writing this are Avangel Geckos, Geckodaddy.com, and DM exotics. These folks are producing some incredible screaming Leopard Geckos Eublepharis macularius and DM exotics had some amphibian species that were awesome, and some we had never seen in captivity before. Later on, we’re hoping to land some interviews with these fine folks to see if we can’t pry out any of their breeding secrets. Some of the familiar people we saw were Bob Applegate of Applegate Reptiles who’s always willing to talk and with his wry wit he always had a crowd at his booth. Philippe de Vosjoli was in attendance and a favorite of those looking for Rhacodactylus leachianus and African Frogs. Both were in full display, as well as his horticultural treasures that he had for sale. Allen Repashy was on site, sharing a booth with Philippe. I had a moment to catch him between customers and he told me of his current project to bring his Superfood line to a more retail market by repackaging it, making it more retail friendly. He also said the future finds him concentrating on more of the horticultural aspects as well.
We had a great time speaking with Steven Sotelo of Exo-Terra who spoke with us about their UVB lighting systems. He broke down the technical aspects for us that go into the construction and use of their premier line of bulbs. This was a great learning experience for us. He also took the time to show us some of the displays he’d set-up to show off the aspects that make Exo-terra enclosures a must have for any serious herpetoculturist. When these enclosures are set-up properly they are nothing short of stunning.
Bob Applegate of Applegate Reptiles had his Striped albino Sinaloan Milksnakes for sell which some regard as the premier Milksnake to now own in captivity. We also noticed that there were a lot of Knob Tailed Geckos Nephrurus sp. and Gargoyle Geckos Rhacodactylus auriculatus for sale which begs the question, are these soon to usurp the Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macularius and Crested Geckos Rhacodactylus ciliatus when it comes to the best species to keep in years to come. Only time will tell. But why wait. Ramy is already taking vendors for the January Reptile SuperShow and even if you’re not a vendor and just want to go to the show you should make plans now. There are bound to be things at the next show that we have not even seen yet and from the talk I heard at the show there are a lot of new breeding projects going on. So why not join us at the next Reptile SuperShow on January 7-8 which will be held in Los Angeles, CA.