By Victoria Mejicanos, Jan. 24, 2023
From Jan. 7 to the 8, the Pomona Fairplex hosted the Reptile Super Show, attracting reptile enthusiasts from across the country. The expo is one of the largest in the United States and is considered a one stop shop for all things pertaining to reptiles and their care.
The show is hosted three times a year, each event taking place in a different Southern California city. According to its website, the overall purpose of the event is “all about showing off animals to the world that deserve our attention.”
The expo contained an abundance of reptiles such as ball pythons, bearded dragons, geckos and chameleons. Other animals such as koi fish, turtles, poisonous dart frogs and insects, such as spiders, were present at the expo. The event was filled with colorful and exotic animals that one can only imagine ever seeing on TV.
A major component of the event is educating attendees about reptiles and the care they need to live long and happy lives. Through every interaction with the vendors, it was clear that education is what is most important to them, and something they are eager to provide.
A vendor selling geckos provided an itemized care guide on what is needed for the animal to thrive. The guide listed information about geckos such as where they originate from, what temperature they enjoy and how often to feed them. Vendors were eager to answer any follow up questions asked by attendees. In fact, it was encouraged.
Jarome Holland, a second-year vendor and longtime reptile owner, advised that those looking to purchase a reptile ask lots of questions.
“Make sure you walk out of wherever you get the reptile comfortable and understanding how to care for it,” he said.
Along with educating attendees, the expo provides a sense of community. There was no pressure to buy anything even though there were many things for sale. If someone saw an animal they found interesting, they were able to hold it and interact with it while having a conversation about how the animal behaves.
Each vendor knew one another and helped each other with customers. Someone buying a snake could be directed to another vendor that had the proper tank and heating lamp and that vendor would send them to someone with plants or food. Holland shared that the sense of community is his favorite part of being a vendor.
“I really like interacting with people, people come from all over. My buddies helping me are from Iowa,” Holland said.
There was no need for attendees to be reptile experts to enjoy the atmosphere. Some attendees, like Sally Hawkridge, have only recently started collecting reptiles.
“I love all animals, I’ve always had a pet, and ever since I’ve been able to own my own home, I’ve been collecting reptiles,” she said.
However, there were people who didn’t know anything about reptiles and were simply there for the experience. Much like attendee Carla Mexia who shared that she was there to simply scope out the expo and see what it was like since her husband and son were curious.
“I don’t know much about reptiles, but my husband does and used to have a pet, so we’re just looking,” Mexia said.
Those who are the most experienced with reptile care made the event even more engaging. People would go up to each other and ask about the pets they bought and engage in conversations about their experience with reptiles. Vendors were very informative and often delved into how they became interested in reptiles. A common theme for snake enthusiasts being that they enjoyed how each snake had its own unique pattern and color.
There were people so comfortable with reptiles that they were walking around with large exotic snakes traveling around their neck. One attendant even had a bearded dragon hanging on their back, making the expo even more entertaining.
The expo is a unique educational event that allows anyone regardless of experience with reptiles to become familiar with these fascinating creatures and perhaps even take one home.
The misconception of these animals being difficult and expensive to own changed as many attendees walked into the expo and noticed the snakes and their unique colors and patterns. Snakes are only temperamental if they feel anxious or threatened and are naturally calm creatures.
The next Reptile Super Show will be held in July at the Anaheim Convention Center. For more information about tickets as well as dates and locations, attendees can visit their website.
Feature image courtesy of Victoria Mejicanos
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