If you own a reptile or read any of the trade magazines available about the reptile industry you have no doubt come across the announcements of the various reptile shows that occur across the United States. You may have even attended one, in case you haven’t I am now going to give an inside look at what they are like and why you should attend them as part of your regular schedule. With so many species available to the industry today it is hard, if not impossible for a magazine or any other form of media to cover all of the species available. Brick and mortar pet shops no matter how large are equally forced to cater to their respective customers and this means that they too will carry the more popular species available. So how does one find out about a new species or morph that is coming to market?
It’s easier than you may think. You don’t have to subscribe to the scientific journals or attend symposiums that are dedicated to captive breeding of reptiles where scientists known as Herpetologists generally speak in terms that are far beyond the common parlance. All you have to do is get the family together and drive to the local reptile show. Symposiums and the like are typically very costly where as local reptile shows are well within the budget of the budding herpetoculturist running usually about $10-$20 dollars.
You arrive, pay the modest admittance fee and the reptile world quickly becomes your oyster. Walking through the doors you are immediately transported to the worlds largest reptile captive reptile collection where you will not only see the more common species of reptiles but now, you can see first hand all of those incredible color morphs you have read about in the magazines and books. They are all waiting for you to come and see them in all their glory. Not only that, you are basically given an all access pass to the breeders of these splendid reptiles and all their knowledge that they have gained throughout the years that they have been industry.
The real reason that I personally attend though is to see what new species are coming to market in the coming year. Breeders will often bring the parents of the babies that are currently working with to whet the appetite of potential customers. Generally speaking they will often bring their newest creations which are results of careful selective breeding efforts to sell. These new color morphs or species will cost you a pretty penny because they haven’t been released to the market in general but who doesn’t want to be the first person to own a new color morph or species that no one else owns yet.
The fun doesn’t stop there though, because if you’re like myself and don’t have the necessary room to house yet another reptile you can still talk with the breeders and pick their brains about subjects such as behaviors that you have noticed, or specific dietary needs regarding the species you currently own. Maybe you yourself are interested in breeding a specific species of reptile or amphibian and are wondering about the best way to get started. The reptile dealers are here to answer questions openly and honestly.
A few tips for attending a reptile show. Don’t presume that the breeders are OK with you taking pictures of their reptiles always ask. It shows respect for their hard work and opens the door to further conversation. Be courteous of a breeder’s time; don’t presume that just because you purchased an animal that they owe you the rest of the show to just answer questions. Also while common courtesy tells us that we shouldn’t listen in on other people’s conversations I would suggest that you do just that while attending reptile shows. This ensures that you don’t repeat common questions. The last tip for attending reptile shows and probably the most important; don’t ever try to talk a breeder down from their original asking price this shows poor class. If they are interested in allowing a certain reptile to be sold at a lower price than what they are currently asking they will tell you themselves.
With the above in mind I look forward to seeing you at the next reptile show!