I attended my very first reptile show setup day at the San Diego Reptile Super Show.
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Violet the crested gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) and I get acquainted.
Sandy and Russ hawk magazines. Two years for the price of one? Hey, that’s a better deal than I got!
Russ has asked me to write about my first reptile show setup day experience, and since I’ve been telling anyone who will listen about it, I’m more than happy to blog on the subject too.
Russ, REPTILES Sales Manager Sandy Quinn and I arrived at the Reptile Super Show a day before it opened to the public, so we could chat with vendors and see the booths being set up. We had very good timing, as we got there shortly before Zoo Med passed out pizza and cake.
Amidst the refreshments I met Philippe de Vosjoli for the second time, and I got to ask him about his crested gecko article, which is in the 2011 issue of Reptiles USA. He was one of the first people to collect the geckos on the Isle of Pines off New Caledonia when the species was rediscovered after many in the herp world conceded it was probably extinct.
I also met REPTILES contributor Ken Foose. He told me a funny story about well-known reptile breeder and curator, as well as original “Ask the Breeder” columnist Ernie Wagner and Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson involving pinky mice at the bottom of a jar of mayonnaise and a severed pig’s head in a toilet. There were other amusing stories that followed, but I managed to tear myself away, as I had yet to explore the show.
As some of you may remember from my REPTILES Magazine Secrets blog, I’m new to the world of reptiles. That’s not a problem, as it turns out. The show vendors happily answered my questions and opened up containers for me so I could get a better look at their animals. Reptile breeder Randy Wright politely looked on as Russ quizzed me on the snake species at his table (it took Russ a minute to cotton on to the fact that several enclosures were neatly labeled, tipping me off to what was inside them). In another show of goodwill from the reptile community, Randy pointed to a very-easy-to-identify ball python and asked me its name, giving me a chance to score at least a few points with the boss.
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The pygmy spiny-tailed skinks (Egernia depressa) at Jon’s Jungle went for a few thousand dollars.
Show promoter Ramy and Russ’ urinal marketing tactics
The Turtle Inc. table featured many beautiful and rather adorable specimens, and Justin Hiykel was kind enough to let me photograph a number of his animals. There were many turtles and tortoises. In one container stood a couple of striking red-foots with pale yellow speckling. I know we’re always reminding those in the reptile community not to impulse buy, even though it seems obvious. However, I can see how otherwise clear-thinking individuals are tempted when they see these attractive and amazing animals crawling around their tubs.
At a crested gecko booth, I held a lovely little gecko named Violet, and I got to feel the sticky texture of her toe pads as she crawled up my arm. What surprised me was how soft and fragile her body was. These geckos must be rather amazing to survive in the wild!
After my trip, I can see why reptile shows are a herp lover’s dream. There are so many animals to look at, and while you may not be able to take them all home — heck, I saw that some cost thousands of dollars, so you might not even be able to afford some of them — how else are you going to get to see the incredible range of species offered by the hobby while talking to other reptilekeepers at the same time?
While the show setup was a blast, I’m still looking forward to even more adventures when I attend my very first reptile show later this year.
A few words from Russ: “This year’s San Diego show had me doing something I never thought I’d find myself doing: taping fliers for our vendor icebreaker over all the urinals in the men’s room, and inside all the stall doors. What I won’t do to help promote REPTILES magazine. Thanks for the great idea (show organizer), Ramy!”