What a weekend! As they say in my hometown of Moorhead, MN — uff da! And as we say here at ReptiFiles:
BEST EXPO EVER!
The Fall 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo was ReptiFiles’ second time running a table at the expo, and I’m happy to say that we learned a lot from our first experience, so we were better prepared and setup went a lot smoother. We decided not to do a giveaway, as we felt that the giveaway detracted from the table’s true purpose last time. We also made some improvements: we doubled our library of free care sheets and brought a display enclosure as well as an education animal. The Maximum Reptile Essential 4 enclosure and Alice Springs Décor Kit did a great job of showing people what reptile care should look like, and Kairos the rescue blue tongue skink did a great job of helping educate people on what happens when proper care is ignored.
And of course, shout out to my wonderful support team: Chad Healey and Monica Benavides — none of this would have been possible without them!
This was quite possibly the most diverse Wasatch Reptile Expo I’ve ever attended. Aside from the usual fare of New Caledonian geckos, ball pythons, leopard geckos, and corn snakes, there was an incredible variety of beautiful and unique species — and a surprising proportion of them were captive bred! The expo also boasted many fun herp-related activities and merch, including educational presentations, themed jewelry, art, preserved specimens, face painting, giveaways, food trucks, and more. It really made for a fun, engaging event for everyone in attendance.
Now, on to the good stuff! Prices have been scrubbed from the photos in order to respect the breeders’ and vendors’ special expo pricing.
These are the reptiles that didn’t quite qualify for this fall’s Top 10, but still helped make for a memorable experience. Here are the Top 5 chosen by Utah’s local reptile community, WRIKS: (swipe to view)
The Top 10 Reptiles of the Fall 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo
10. Rosy Boas — Prismatic Reptiles
Rosy boas (Charina trivirgata) are one of the two species of boa native to the US, and can be found in the American Southwest, Baja California, and Sonora Mexico. They’re a fairly small snake, averaging 17-34” long depending on the locality, although some from California can get as long as 44”. They’re very docile and make great first-time snakes for new reptile keepers.
This may be the first time I’ve found rosy boas at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, so I was delighted to find some. Although they’re not the fanciest snakes or the rarest, in my opinion, they’re highly underrated, and I would have loved to take one home with me.
As usual, Prismatic Reptiles came to the expo with many other impressive snakes. Photos really can’t do them justice!
9. Green Ameiva — Brodie McLeod
The green ameiva (Ameiva ameiva), also known as the Amazon racerunner or simply giant ameiva, is a very colorful and active lizard native to Central and South America. They’re usually 4-5” from snout to vent, but can be as large as 7”. Both male and female adults have a distinctive green-blue coloration on the lower half of the body, interrupted by white spots. They have a sadly short lifespan — up to about 5 years in the wild — and are not common in the hobby, although they are very intelligent. This particular specimen was captive-hatched. Good luck to the keeper who brought this feisty beauty home!
8. Sunglow morph Boa — Reptile Revolution
Central American boas (Boa imperator) are native to areas west of the South American Andes, throughout Central America, and in parts of Mexico. They grow to a slender 5-7’ long, and their convenient size and characteristic boa disposition makes them the most common “true” boas in the hobby. They are also the most commonly bred for variations in color and pattern known as “morphs”. This particular individual is a 6 year old male, and an absolutely stunning example of the sunglow morph, as many sunglows lose a great deal of their color by adulthood.
7. Tanimbar Blue Tongue Skink — Great Basin Serpentarium
The Tanimbar blue tongue skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera) is an Indonesian species of blue tongue skink. They have particularly hard, glossy scales; are typically silver, gray, or yellow in color; and grow 18-24” long. Like other blue tongue skinks, they feature a blue-colored tongue that they use to warn away potential predators.
It’s unusual to see captive-bred blue tongue skinks at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, and even more unusual to see a Tanimbar. So as a big blue tongue skink fan, to see a captive-bred Tanimbar sent me fangirling. Tanimbars are known across the hobby for being particularly defensive, but the breeder noted that captive breeding seems to help substantially in making them more tolerant of humans.
It was a real treat to see Great Basin Serpentarium at the expo, as they always have interesting breeding projects going on! Some other animals of note that I found at their table:
6. High-red Dumeril’s Boa — MyTay Canyon Reptiles
Dumeril’s boas (Acrantophis dumerili) are a terrestrial constrictor snake native to southwestern Madagascar. They can grow anywhere from 4’ to 9’ long, and feature a beautiful mottled pattern that helps them blend in with dry leaf litter.
Although Dumeril’s boas are readily available captive-bred and make good pets, they aren’t a common sight at the Wasatch Reptile Expo. One individual in particular at the MyTay table demonstrated very desirable high-red coloration (which of course didn’t show up well in the pictures) — here’s hoping that it keeps that lovely color into adulthood!
MyTay also brought some lovely ball python morphs to show off:
MyTay Canyon Reptiles has been after me for some time now about when they would make the Top 10, and this fall they finally made it. Congrats!
5. Mossy Leaf-Tailed Gecko — Animal Ark Orem
The mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) is native to the forests of Madagascar and is a medium-sized gecko about 6-8” long from snout to tail. All members of the Uroplatus genus are incredibly well adapted for maximum camouflage, and U. sikorae specializes in mimicking moss and lichen, although males tend to look more like bark than the females.
This was my personal highlight of the expo, as I was the one who ended up taking her home! We’ve had an 18″x18″x36″ vivarium sitting empty for the better part of a year waiting for a U. sikorae to occupy it, and it finally has an occupant to eagerly trim the explosive isopod population. She’s settling in great!
Per usual, Animal Ark’s tables offered a good showing of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, including:
4. “Kingduran” (kingsnake x Honduran milk snake) — Mythic Pets
Hybrid reptiles are controversial for many reasons. There are purists who balk at the idea of even crossing localities of the same species. Others worry about hybrids getting into the wrong hands and being used to mass-produce “mutt” reptiles. On the more practical level of things, hybrids can be exceptionally difficult to care for because it’s difficult to determine their optimal heat, humidity, and UVB needs.
Fortunately, kingsnakes and milksnakes already have similar husbandry needs, so care isn’t as much of a concern. And while the danger of irresponsible breeding is still present, they can still be a fun choice for a responsible keeper looking for unique addition to their collection.
Mythic Pets also brought a batch of Sundancer Blonde morph Northern blue tongue skinks to the expo, which were a delight to see! Blue tongue skinks really make amazing pet lizards, so I’m always happy to see new breeders who know what they’re doing and are helping spread the good word.
3. Rhinoceros Iguana — Mark’s Ark
Rhino iguanas (Cyclura cornuta) are a terrestrial species of iguana native to the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and The Dominican Republic) and several surrounding West Indian Islands. Their name comes from the horn-like protrusions on their snout. They are typically about 2’ from snout to vent, and usually gray, tan, or olive green in color.
Like Animal Ark, Mark’s Ark always brings a good showing of animals to the Wasatch Reptile Expo. This fall, the rhino iguana was the highlight, but here are some others that caught my eye:
2. Argentine Boa — Gargoyle Queen Reptiles
The Argentine boa (Boa constrictor occidentalis) is native to the Argentina-Paraguay area in South America. These are some of the largest Boas, with females averaging around 10’ long, and males smaller. Their unique patterning and rarity in the wild makes them a real prize in a collection.
Gargoyle Queen has been expanding beyond the New Caledonian geckos that got them started, and aside from hognose snakes, it looks like Argentine boas are going to be in their future — and I can’t wait!
Other notable offerings at the Gargoyle Queen table:
1. Western Blue Tongue Skink — Australian Addiction Reptiles
The Western blue tongue skink (Tiliqua occipitalis) is another species of blue tongue skink, this time native to south central and western Australia. They max out at about 20” from snout to tail, with distinctive thick black markings behind each eye and down the back, and of course the characteristic blue tongue.
Due to strict exportation bans in Australia (as well as a Near-Threatened and Threatened conservation status), western blue tongue skinks are nearly impossible to see in the US — much less to actually find someone successfully breeding them. The baby skink shown here was bred by Australian Addiction Reptiles, and I can’t contain my excitement!!
They also breed some beautiful Bredli’s pythons:
Congratulations to Australian Addiction Reptiles for making #1 at the Fall 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo!!
Per the rules of the Top 10, only reptiles available for sale at the expo or holdbacks/future breeders can make the list. However, I won’t let that stop me from highlighting the other awesome aspects of each show! Here’s a quick shout out to some real standouts:
Although it was only their first expo, Ramen Reptiles made a BIG splash with their “sneklaces” (my term, but they are free to nab it)! These adorable S-shaped snakes with big eyes were available in a variety of colors and patterns, from realistic to whimsical. And at least 1 in every 4 women I saw was wearing them. Even my own husband got me a rosy boa one as a souvenir and I love it.
I’ve mentioned Kim’s Cold-Blooded Creatures in previous recaps, but I think they deserve another mention. Kim is a reptile educator who does engaging shows for local events, and always brings a variety of reptiles and invertebrates to each expo for people to handle. All of them are well trained to endure plenty of handling as education animals, so this table is always one of the busiest at the expo and a fun place to stop by. Love the outreach work that they’re doing to help overcome the common stigmas associated with these wonderful animals.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Bertopia Geckos, who always has an extensive and high-quality selection of crested gecko diets and gecko care supplies at her table. However, this expo she carried one of Pangea’s newer products: biodegradable CGD cups! Plastic CGD cups are a pain to clean, and can be a major source of plastic waste for people with arboreal geckos, so it’s nice to see a more eco-friendly option available. <3
What was YOUR favorite part of the Fall 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo?
Tell us your personal highlights or brag about what you brought home in the comments!