Jim Dyke

Jim Dyke

Return of the reptiles

Getting to know them means learning that they’re really quite cuddly despite being cold-blooded and that some of them are quite capable of making a long-term commitment.

Getting to know them means learning that they’re really quite cuddly despite being cold-blooded and that some of them are quite capable of making a long-term commitment.

A new trade show devoted to reptilian and amphibian pets is coming to Red Deer this weekend, replacing a former version whose owner has decided not to run a show this year.

The Western Canadian Reptile Expo will bring 45 exhibitors from throughout the province to display the animals and animal care products they have for sale and talk to people about the many factors involved with taking them on as pets, said show marketer Jason Clevett, president of the Alberta Reptile and Amphibian Society.

“We’re really promoting this as a fun and affordable day out, even if you’re not looking to come and buy your first reptile or another reptile,” said Clevett.

“There’s neat stuff just to look at, without going in there with the expectation that they’re going to buy something.”

Vendors attending the show will be keen on sharing information about the various animals they raise and their various needs, so people can explore their pet potential with their eyes wide open, said Clevett.

For example, a cute little lizard can grow into a two-metre monster, while some species live three or four times as long as a dog, he said.

“Iguanas can get seven feet long and vicious. A corn snake, you’re looking a 20-year commitment. A python, you’re looking at a 40-year commitment.”

Besides taking some of the mystery out of buying reptile pets, the show has set up interactive displays to help people get to understand the animals a little better, said Clevett.

“I take pride in seeing kids and adults that are hesitant and, by the end of a show or an event, they’re petting, touching, holding (them),” he said.

Calgary Business owners Jim Dyke from J&J Reptiles and Greg West from Cornel’s World Terrariums created the new show after vendors who had attended its predecessor were disappointed to learn it had been cancelled, said Clevett.

While there are shows in Calgary late in September and in Edmonton early in October, having a more centrally-located show was popular with vendors because of the reduced travelling time for exhibitors and potential customers, he said.

The Red Deer show is being held in the Parkland Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 per person or $15 per family, along with a $3 parking fee on the site.

Visit www.wcre.ca to learn more about the show.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com