WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Reptile and amphibian enthusiasts came together Sunday at the Westchester County Center in White Plains for the New York Metro Reptile Expo.
“I like all pets, but reptiles are fun and different,” said Nancy Cortez, who came down from Connecticut for the exposition.
Spectators walked around the county center to look at the various snakes, salamanders, turtles and lizards for sale. Along with various animals, the expo also featured supplies to care for them such as aquariums, plants, rocks and food.
“I’m talking to people, I’m giving advice, I’m talking about their breeding problems and I get to promote my business,” said Jimi Reed, owner and breeder of Jimi’s Snakes.
Reed started breeding snakes about 10 years ago because he wanted an albino Boa Constrictor, but didn’t have the money for one. After he bred for the snake he wanted, he decided he enjoyed doing it and started his own business as a Boa Constrictors breeder. He has been a vendor at the New York Metro Reptile Expo for the last five years.
“There is something about them,” Reed said. “They don’t take much time. They eat once a week, they poop once a week, they don’t demand your attention like a cat or a dog would.”
Expo Coordinator Bruce Lowder started hosting the Reptile Expo because he had numerous friends who were breeding reptiles, but didn’t have a specific place to get together, share information and sell them to their buyers.
“I’ve been fascinated with reptiles since I was a kid and to see the new types that there are now is just amazing,” said Lowder. “They’re beautiful and fascinating.”
Lowder had 20 vendors and hoped at least 200 people would show up to his first expo back in 1991 – more than 900 ended up walking through the door that day. The show moved to the Westchester County Center in 1997 and the expo has since grown. Lowder also hosts the expo in New Hampshire, Boston and Long Island now and plans to expand the one at the county center.
“Most people don’t understand that Iguanas make very poor pets and that their needs are more complex than people expect,” Iguana rescuer and rehabilitator AJ Gutman of the CT Iguana Sanctuary said.
Gutman had a Green Iguana available for adoption at the expo, as well as her “spokesperson,” a paraplegic Iguana named Eurydice. Gutman has been taking care of Eurydice for the last five years after she was dropped off to her by an inexperienced owner at an expo. Besides adoption, Gutman’s main objective of attending the expo is educating others about Iguanas and other reptiles.
“We have people that come back to my table time and time again, and ask more questions or tell me they’ve improved their Iguana’s environment,” said Gutman.
The New York Metro Reptile Expo will have five shows a year at the Westchester County Center. The next show will be even more expanded with more than 230 vendors and will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found online.