By Kristin Van Alstine
Today I thought I would talk a bit about my recent experience at my first NARBC show that was held in Tinley Park last month. I go to local shows all the time but have never been to a nationwide one like this before. It was like sensory overload … geckos and turtles and snakes, oh my! There were so many ball python morphs that if you placed them all end to end, they would probably reach to the moon and back. I also saw several other species that I have never seen or even heard of before.
There were no “hot” (aka venomous) herps or crocodilians allowed for sale at the show (Illinois, gotta love it), but there were some on display for educational purposes. A few of those that I photographed were brought by Robert Carmichael of the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill. My favorite herp that he had was the very photogenic, but feisty, Mexican beaded lizard. His booth was right next to that of the International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF). Desiree Wong and a stunning Blue Iguana were working this booth, and easily convinced me to join their organization.
My highlight of the show was speaking with Dr. Terry Cullen of The Cullen Vivarium Wildlife Conservancy and holding Moo-Shu, the Chinese alligator. It was surprising just how calm and well behaved she was. She didn’t seem to mind being held or having her picture taken. Dr. Cullen works to help conservation efforts for this critically endangered species.
The other fun thing about the show was getting free stuff from vendors and show sponsors, and being able to put a face to the name of many companies and people in the industry. I didn’t even go there looking to buy any animals (although I did buy a few other things), but I still had a great time. So next year, if a NARBC show is coming to a city near you, I recommend that you go.
-The Toad Talker