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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Here Lizard, Lizard

By Sherri Collins

Editor, Pet Product News International

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I’m going to need a bigger box or, in this case, a bigger place to live in order to house all of the reptiles I now want to keep. I blame it all on the National Association of Reptile Keepers Conference (NABRC) and Trade Show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center this past weekend…well, that and my upbringing. I’ve been around reptiles in some form for a long time. My kindergarten’s class pet was a kingsnake, and as a kid, I used to catch--and release--blue-bellied lizards (which I now know are Western Fence Lizards) that hung out regularly in my SoCal yard. As a teenager, living in Northern California, I’d help my younger brothers scare my stepmom by wrapping red-sided garter snakes around my wrists and wearing them as bracelets in the house.

Based on the crowds at the show, it’s obvious there are lots of other people who fancy reptiles as well. The aisles were filled with enthusiasts, nearly all of whom seemed ready to put down money to either add to their existing menagerie or start a reptile-keeping hobby. (See Melissa Kauffman’s latest Consumer Watch blog for interviews with some of the attendees.) Before leaving, I stood outside the hall and watched as attendee after attendee left with both reptiles and bags of product.

This year’s show featured more than 120 exhibitors, while the majority were breeders offering captive bred reptiles (what else would you expect at a breeder show). There was also a good selection of herp product manufacturers on hand, including Zoo Med Labs, Timberline Live Pet & Food, Exoterra/Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp. and ECO Wear & Publishing. Sister publication, Reptiles, was there, too, of course.

In addition to the myriad breeders and manufacturers, there were several retailers purveying their wares. LLL Reptile & Supply had a sizable booth, as did Prehistoric Pets and Creative Pet Supply, all of which offered an amazing mix of food, accessories and animals.

Which leads me back to needing a bigger box. I must have gone back at least four times to Amazing Blue Reptiles’ booth to gaze longingly at the intensely blue panther chameleons. And, since I have several poison dart frog keychain fobs, I decided owning the real thing would be even cooler, so a repeat visit to InFrogNeato’s booth was in order. I also kept circling back to view the many dragons on display at various dragon-centric booths, including Dragon’s Den, Dragon Herptile and Dragons Klutch (I have a weakness for them, as I once shared office space for two years with two bearded dragons). I was also fascinated by the iridescent glow and fanciful patterns of the many snake morphs on offer. In short, I wanted nearly one of everything.

However, with three cats and thousands of books, my apartment is at its holding capacity. Until my space situation changes, I’ll have to make do with visits to zoo reptile houses and attending as many reptile shows as I can. I really do need a bigger box.

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