Reptile lovers flock to show
From the veiled chameleon to the Argentine black and white tegu, the Canadian Western Reptile Expo did not disappoint.
Reptile lovers were scooping up more lizards, frogs, spiders and turtles while others were contemplating a first buy.
Snakes are always a hit at the show and this year was no different despite the recent deaths of two New Brunswick boys who were killed by an African rock python.
As one of the most viscous and largest snakes in the world, the African rock python is illegal to own in Alberta except in special circumstances under the province’s Wildlife Act.
St. Paul snake breeder Kylor Thompson of St. Paul said snake attacks are very rare and what happened to those boys was an accident.
“Sometimes snakes go bad but not very often,” said Thompson, whose family has been in the snake business for nearly two years.
“Most times it is the owner. It’s neglect. Same as dogs. They are honestly like a big puppy dog. You treat them with respect and you’re fine.”
Thompson allowed the snake-curious crowd to hold his five-year old 10-foot dumeril boa snake.
Jess Cornett-Ching said she is always in the market for more snakes but on Sunday she picked up a bearded dragon to replace one that died because of a parasite. Cornett-Ching also owns three snakes and three geckos in her Okotoks home.
“Snakes are quite fascinating to watch how they move,” said Cornett-Ching.
“Lizards are fun too and really cute to look at. A lot of people do not like cats and dogs. I’m one of them.”
Reasons for owning a reptile were as diverse as the species on showcase at the annual expo. Some cited allergies while others said low maintenance was the attraction.
West said the expo allows interested buyers to talk to the breeders on the most up-to-date information on keeping reptiles. The show will be back in Red Deer for a fifth year on the same August weekend.
Kevin and Kellie Gunderson picked up seven snakes and a veiled chameleon to add to their reptile collection.
The couple own about 100 reptiles including boas, ball pythons, leopard geckos, turtles bearded dragons and iguanas at their Prince George, B.C. home. Kellie Gunderson, who is in her early 20s, has collected reptiles since she was five years old.
“I’ve just always been attracted to them,” said Gunderson.
The couple also breed snakes so they hope to be back at the show as vendors next year.