Wasatch Reptile Expo 2019 – Spring’s Top 10!

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I’ve said it so often that it’s become practically tradition at this point… Ah, what the heck — why not make it a tradition?


To be honest I actually wasn’t expecting much from this expo. The spring expo is usually smaller and less exciting than the fall expo simply due to the fact that breeders don’t have a lot of new stock available at this time. And although there was certainly a reduction in the variety/quality of the animals available, there was still a lot of new and interesting vendors, a good variety of products available, and best of all, food trucks! Most exciting, however (at least for me), was that ReptiFiles had its own table! I’ve been putting it off since I never felt “ready”, and wasn’t sure if tabling would even be worthwhile since we’re not breeders and ReptiFiles doesn’t sell anything. But marketing is marketing, and every expo needs free care sheets for new owners to pick up and someone to talk to rather than harried breeders or less-informed vendor staff, so we ordered a banner, condensed our care guides on five of the most popular species into 4-page care sheets (which was not easy, let me tell you), and organized a couple of giveaways. In the end I think we did pretty well! Speaking of the giveaways, congratulations to Barry Ames and Nicole Arns for winning a block of Reptichip reptile bedding and an Arcadia Shade Dweller UVB kit! And speaking of Reptichip, special thanks to Jeremy Wilson of AllTime Reptiles for donating a block for the giveaway. <3 Finally, special thanks to my husband Chad and my friend Monica Benavides for helping out at the table. While I was running around filming, taking pictures, and interviewing breeders between all-too-brief visits to the table, they promoted ReptiFiles, handed out care sheets, and ran errands like pros. I seriously couldn’t have done it without them.
Me and Chad
Me and Monica
Jeremy and the Reptichip crew

Now let’s get to the good stuff! 

Per usual, prices have been scrubbed from the photos in order to respect the breeders’ and vendors’ special expo pricing.

People's Choice

These are the reptiles that didn’t quite make the Top 10, but still made a big impression at the expo. These animals are breeders, educational animals, and previous Top 10 winners, so they’re disqualified from being in the running for this spring’s Top 10, but they’re still worth featuring!

10. Florida banded water snake @ Marks Ark

Florida banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris) are found throughout Florida and southeastern Georgia in the US. Darker specimens are commonly mistaken for water moccasins/cottonmouths, and lighter specimens like this one may be mistaken for copperheads. Adults can grow as long as 42″.

Water snakes are not a common sight at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, so this was a nice surprise!

Florida banded water snake - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019

9. Black and white stripe gargoyle gecko @ Gargoyle Queen Reptiles

Gargoyle geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) are medium-sized geckos native to the forests of New Caledonia. They get their name from the horn-like protrusions at the back of their skull, and are relatively low-maintenance in captivity, making them great pets for people who are new to reptiles. This one earned its spot on this expo’s Top 10 because while it’s becoming fairly commonplace to see gargs with high red, high orange, or even yellow in their pattern, an almost completely black and white appearance even when fired up was a new one for me. The picture really doesn’t do it justice! Funny story: While taking pictures at the Gargoyle Queen table someone teased me for using a smartphone instead of a “real camera”. They must have cursed me, because the best animal I photographed ended up having one of the worst pictures! Murphy’s Law: 1, Mariah: 0.
Black and white stripe gargoyle gecko - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019

8. Tango crush tangerine leopard gecko @ Gecko Daddy

Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are crepuscular, terrestrial geckos native to semi-desert and arid grassland areas of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. They’re are a common sight in the US reptile hobby, and have been captive-bred here for generations, which means that like ball pythons, there’s a wide variety of morph breeders.

But actual quality varies from breeder to breeder, and Gecko Daddy is definitely one of the better ones. I’m going to make a bold claim here and say that Gecko Daddy produces the best tangerine leopard geckos in the country, if not the world. Pictures just don’t do justice to that orange color, and I’m so glad to hear that Gecko Daddy’s line finally has its own morph name: Tango Crush Tangerine!

While the Tango Crush geckos ultimately earned the #8 spot, they also have another unique morph, the LiteBrite Bandit. I love the high contrast and unique pattern on their heads.

Tango Crush Tangerine morph leopard gecko - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019
litebrite bandit2
Litebrite Bandit leopard gecko morph - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019

7. Sterling pastel ball python @ Treasure Valley Reptiles

Ball pythons (Python regius) are medium-sized, terrestrial species of constricting snake native to regions of eastern, central, and western Africa. These are also a staple of the US reptile hobby, and have been captive bred for so long that it’s near impossible to find a wild-caught specimen. 

Of course, with long-term captivity comes morphs, and ball pythons are synonymous with morphs. The sterling pastel ball pythons at Treasure Valley Reptiles’ table were easily some of the prettiest balls at the expo. What I really liked about this morph is the cream and lavender coloration and faded pattern. I also appreciate that although they could have brought these two to the Fall expo, the breeder chose not to because they weren’t eating well at the time. Good policy!

Sterling pastel morph ball python - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019
Sterling pastel morph ball python - Wasatch Reptile Expo Spring 2019

6. Durango mountain kingsnake @ Prismatic Reptiles

The Durango mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis mexicana greeri) is a terrestrial snake native to the Durango mountains area in Mexico. They grow to about 30″, and like other kingsnakes, are one of the most popular North American species kept in the US. What I loved about this particular individual was the striking combination of gray, black, and bright red. 

Is it even a WRE recap without Prismatic Reptiles making an appearance? At this point they’ve practically become a regular, and as long as they keep producing such stunning colubrids, I’m okay with that!

Durango mountain kingsnake - Wasatch Reptile Expo 2019

5. Albino champagne het pied ball python @ Inked Up Reptiles

Since ball pythons are so common these days, I try not to feature more than once per expo, but this particular expo was a good one for morphs. Can you believe the vibrant yellow? With the yellow and white combination, it has me thinking that banana morphs are misnamed. 😉

Inked Up also had a very photogenic cinnamon orange dream that almost made the cut for Top 10. Those eyes have me mesmerized!

Albino champagne het pied morph ball python - Wasatch Reptile Expo 2019
Cinnamon orange dream morph ball python - Wasatch Reptile Expo 2019

4. Palmetto corn snake @ Prismatic Reptiles

Corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are a slender, colorful snake native to the southeastern United States, and fairly common in the reptile hobby since they tend to make good starter snakes. The Palmetto morph, however, is considered by some to be the “holy grail” of corn snake morphs. It was good to see one in person at this spring’s expo! It’s also darn near impossible to get a clear picture of a corn snake because they’re always. moving. Bless them. <3

Like ball pythons, I try not to feature one vendor twice in the same expo recap. But sometimes the offerings are just too good not to feature someone twice, and this is one of those times. Impressively done, Prismatic!

Palmetto corn snake morph - Wasatch Reptile Expo 2019

3. Panther chameleon @ Animal Ark Orem

The panther chameleon (Fucifer pardalis) is a medium to large chameleon native to Madagascar. Although naturally colorful, captive breeding projects have taken this natural beauty to even greater heights, resulting in stunning specimens like this one.  Although reptiles in general have special needs in captivity and are more sensitive than most other pets, chameleons are known to be particularly needy, and even with proper care they have very short lifespans. Surprisingly, the colorful panther chameleon is known as one of the more hardy species, and a better pet for first-time chameleon keepers.

Although sold by Animal Ark Orem, this particular male was produced by Kammerflage Kreations. I highly recommend checking out their Instagram sometime — they produce some incredible chameleons!

kammerflage panther cham

2. Arboreal alligator lizard @ Marks Ark

The arboreal alligator lizard (Abronia graminea) is a diurnal, arboreal lizard native to highland cloud forests in Mexico. Aside from alligator-like scales and osteoderm, this species is well known for bright emerald green or sometimes even turquoise coloration. 

It’s rare to see Abronia at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, and even rarer to see them captive bred. Marks Ark was selling a pair of these jewels for a reasonable price. I have other projects that I need to focus on this year, but it still killed me to leave them on the table. All Abronia are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, making it especially important to breed them in captivity and take strain off of wild populations. I would love to attempt a captive breeding project for this genus one day.

Green arboreal alligator lizard (Abronia graminea)

1. Bromeliad Alligator Lizard @ Reptiles Revolution

Two different Abronia species in one expo — and both captive bred! Does it get better than this? As far as we know, the bromeliad arboreal alligator lizard (Abronia taeniata) isn’t much different from its cousin aside from stunning black and white coloring. In the wild it’s usually found hanging out on tree trunks and in epiphytic bromeliads and mosses.

Reptiles Revolution is a regular at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, as well as other expos around the country. They usually offer a good show of snakes, but this was the first time I’ve seen a lizard at this table. Despite stepping out of their comfort zone, Reptiles Revolution sure didn’t disappoint.

Abronia taeniata maybe CB

Congratulations to Reptiles Revolution for making #1 at the Spring 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo!

Special Mentions

Per the rules of the Top 10, only reptiles available for sale at the expo can make the list. However, I won’t let that stop me from highlighting the other awesome aspects of each show!

Bioactive enclosures have been popular for a while over in Europe, but they’re just catching on here in the US. And this spring the expo was full of bioactive supplies, so here’s a shoutout to the vendors who came bioactive-ready:

  • Bertopia Geckos sold a variety of unique isopods as well as Lugarti CUC care products.
  • Animal Ark Orem also had isopods in stock, as well as springtails and an impressive display of live plants.
  • Verdant Vivariums made a big impression with an enormous selection of live plants.
  • Scales ‘N Tails brought BioDude products, including bioactive-ready soil mixes.
I also want to welcome K&B Customs to their first Wasatch Reptile Expo! K&B Customs is a local business that is well known for making high-quality reptile enclosures built to specification for a reasonable price. I’m actually going to commission them for an upgrade to my Merauke blue tongue skink’s enclosure later this year. Best wishes for their continued growth.
J&B enclosures

That’s it for this spring! Were you able to attend the Spring 2019 Wasatch Reptile Expo? 

Tell us about your favorites (or brag about what you brought home) in the comments below!


  1. So jealous! Planning on selling any of the babies?

  2. It was a great expo for sure. Your top 2 were my top ones also. Thought about getting the Bromeliad Alligator Lizard, to go with our collection of Abronia Graminea we have. We have a pair that gave birth to 8 babies in March. They sure are cool lizards.

  3. Saw you there… didn’t get to stop by…I could kick myself
    Congratulations!! On your booth… you’re doing great work ?
    See you next time