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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reptiles Are a Family Affair

By Melissa Kauffman

Editorial Director, BowTie Incorporated


You might be surprised at how many families keep pet reptiles. One member of the family may start out as a reptile fan and then it catches on with the rest of the family and, before you know it, the entire family gets involved in reptile keeping. According to the 2009-2010 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, “Reptile owners are more often defined as ‘traditional families.’”

I attended the North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Show at the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday, September 5, 2009. It was the start of Labor Day weekend and the show floor was filled with reptile enthusiasts. I was struck by how many of the attendees were with their families.

I stopped different people as I walked through the show and asked them why they were there. Here are some of their answers:

One family of four (mother, father, son and daughter) was there because the son had a pet Burmese python. So, the whole family went to the show to check out the reptiles and look for products for the python. (Reptile video)

Reptile breeders

Another family of four (mother, father, two daughters) went to the show because reptiles became a “family thing.” The husband started out with a love a snakes and that interest spread to the rest of the family. (Reptile family)

One couple came all the way from north of San Francisco to attend the show. They were hobbyist reptile breeders, just something the couple did together. They wanted to check out the reptiles being sold and took a trip to Southern California just for the show. (Reptile breeders)

A young woman attended the show with her boyfriend, an avid reptile enthusiast. He loved snakes and geckos and she came to the show to support him in his interests. 

Reptile family

I also spoke with a couple who came because the wife recently became the owner of a tortoise. Her son gave her a tortoise for Christmas, which was the first one she ever had. She and her husband came to the show to check out turtles, tortoises and their products. I wouldn’t be surprised if she left the show with another tortoise. What was so amazing was she never even had an interest reptiles and amphibians before she got her pet and now she and her husband are attending a reptile show on a holiday weekend.

The show was fun with lots of different people, products, reptiles and amphibians. There were pet store retailers exhibiting there along with reptile breeders and reptile product manufacturers. Gone are the days when keeping reptiles as pets were exotic and only kept by naturalists. Now you are likely to see a soccer mom and her kids at the show checking out their next pet.

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