Reptile Show brings hands-on experience to the Holiday Inn

Large crowds turn out to learn about exotic pets

The Holiday Inn Eastgate was full of snakes, lizards, spiders, turtles and other exotic pets Sunday, Jan. 9 and families came from all over the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond to buy a new friend or just get a glimpse of a few unique creatures.

Derrick Burnett of D&K Reptile Sales in Blue Ash said the turnout for the event was excellent.

“We more than doubled our anticipated gate revenue,” Burnett said.

For a short time some visitors were required to wait in the hotel lobby as the crowd in the conference room approached fire code limits.

Burnett said the vendors brought more than 200 varieties of snakes and a several different types of lizards and frogs. Vendors also brought live food, tanks, and other supplies to sell.

While all the items were for sale, with the exception of a baby kangaroo and a South American Coati, the vendors were also displaying their animals in order to educate the visitors to the show.

Bonnie Barker had several Corn snakes and Bearded Dragon lizards for sale. She took every opportunity to talk to the large number of children and interested adults about the unique pets. The non-venomous snakes come in a variety of colors and are naturally curious.

“The only time they would ever consider biting someone is if they felt threatened,” Barker said.

She was quick to allow visitors to her booth to hold a reptile as she talked about her cold blooded friends, and took extra care in allowing visitors with a previous fear of snakes the opportunity to see one up close.

Burnett said education is an important part of the show, the most important of which is the chance to break down stereotypes about the so-called dangers associated with exotic pets.

In addition to the hands-on educational experience many vendors provided free brochures on the exotic creatures they were selling.

Burnett said his group has a contract with Holiday Inn to hold the event one Sunday a month for 2011. Admission is $4.