Reptile show in Harmar includes some ‘as affectionate as a cat’
They do more than slither.
The prospective pets at the Reptile Show and Sale at Futules’ Harmar House in Harmar on Sunday were surprisingly colorful, fun to handle and apparently becoming more popular.
The monthly show attracts 800 to 1,000 visitors who come to peruse and buy.
What’s not to love? Reptiles are low-maintenance and interesting.
The owner of the reptile show — Amanda South, 38, of Saltsburg — said her favorite is the Kenyan sand boa, which grows to only 18 inches.
The ones at Sunday’s show were the size and heft of a woman’s bracelet.
True to their name, they live under the sand but quickly emerge to capture prey. “They are just as affectionate as a cat,” South said.
“Even if you are afraid of snakes, how can you be afraid of that?”
The show featured 87 tables teeming with reptile life.
Sunday’s big ticket item was a $10,000 albino Brazilian rainbow boa.
Ordinary yet popular prospects included the dumpy tree frogs, which were frisky as they tried to escape their plastic containers.
But the frogs don’t touch the popularity of the ball python, mostly small specimens, and bearded dragons, which were the biggest sellers for Matt Provcic of Smithton.
“There’s a huge demand,” he said. “The more excitement, the more better.”
His mother, Dennine VanDyke, owner of Paws and Claws in West Newton, added, “People of all ages are into this. And they are into their reptiles.”
Color seems to play a role in the attraction.
The bright yellow and black poison dart frogs are immediately a hit with buyers, said Chip Reynolds of Leechburg, who raises his own poison dart frogs.
So is the fact that the frogs lose their toxic properties while in captivity.
Reynolds had only four of his poison dart frogs left from the 40 he brought to the show.
Also known for its color is the leopard gecko.
They can be speckled and come in a rainbow of hues. And with the ones sold by Rohman Taylor, 20, of Flintstone, Md., the gecko’s hatch date is recorded and listed on his table of specimens.
Taylor became a professional seller in the last two years but has been a reptile owner since he was 8 years old.
“I’ve always loved the animals,” he said.
The word “love” is often used by these aficionados, which is evident in the accoutrements also showcased at the event: Natural vegetation for reptile tanks, “critter caverns” made of small, hollowed-out half-rounds of wood, and wads of sphagnum moss packaged as “Royal Pillow.”