Wasatch Reptile Expo 2018 — Fall’s Top 10!

I know I say this after every expo, but…BEST. EXPO. EVER!

I can’t say that this fall’s Wasatch Reptile Expo was better than Tinley NARBC or any of those other big ones since I’ve never been to them (anyone want to sponsor me? 😉 ), but in the 3+ years that I’ve been religiously attending the Wasatch Reptile Expo, this one was definitely the best yet. Even though the event coincided with several other expos last weekend, there was still a huge variety of species represented, and strategic crowd control measures made the overall experience much less claustrophobic than usual.

This fall’s expo also boasted a wealth of fun herp-related merch such as vendor tee shirts, necklace pendants made from shed skin, reptile- and amphibian-themed earrings, reptile jigsaw puzzles, and various reptiles and invertebrates preserved in acrylic. It was hard not to blow all of my money on those alone! (although I did indulge in a Nightshift Exotics tee that is now my new favorite thing)

Prices have been scrubbed from the photos in order to respect the breeders’ and vendors’ special expo pricing.

ReptiFiles at the Fall 2018 Wasatch Reptile Expo
Does it get any better than eastern indigo cuddles? No, no it does not.


Before we get to the Top 10, here are the animals that *almost* made the cut. ReptiFiles polled the local reptile community to find out what which animals merited special mention for this expo, and this is what they wanted to highlight. 

These two were the favorites by a landslide:

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - bamboo ratsnake, Prismatic Reptiles
Bamboo ratsnake (Oreocryptophis porphyraceus) @ Prismatic Reptiles
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - standing's day gecko, Pets N Such
Standing's day gecko (Phelsuma standingi) @ Pets N Such

And here’s the others (tap the arrows on either side or swipe to scroll):

Alright, now let’s get to the good stuff!

10. False water cobra @ Animal Ark Orem

False water cobras (Hydrodynastes gigas) are a semi-aquatic, rear-fanged venomous snake native to South America. They get their name from their tendency to flatten their neck when threatened, much the same as a cobra. As adults they get 4-7′ long, but unlike most snakes, where the females are larger than males, male false water cobras can grow significantly larger than females. And although venomous, their venom is not considered dangerous to humans beyond some localized tissue damage and considerable pain and swelling. Fortunately, this species is not particularly prone to biting, and the individual that I got to handle a bit at the booth was an absolute doll! Part of me really regrets not taking this sweetie home. Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - false water cobra, Animal Ark While it was a tough decision between Prismatic Reptiles’ bamboo ratsnake and this false water cobra, eventually Animal Ark won the #10 spot. They really outdid themselves this year with an enormous diversity of rare and interesting reptiles, including:
  • African house snake
  • Albino Argentine tegu
  • Australian knobtail gecko
  • Australian tree skink
  • Black and white Argentine tegu
  • Chinese cave gecko
  • Indian sand boa
  • Leachie gecko
  • Madagascar hognose (fun fact: all 3 hognose genera were present at this fall’s expo!)
  • Malaysian cat gecko
  • Northern spiny tailed gecko
  • Rough-scaled sand boa
  • Sandfish skink
  • Sunglow morph boa
  • Texas alligator lizard
  • Yellow ackie monitor
…to sum it up, Animal Ark Orem’s table was definitely a destination not to be missed!

9. Yellow anaconda @ TSK Supply

When most people think of an anaconda, they think of the 16′ long, tree-trunk-thick, 150lb giant South American snake. The yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) is the green’s smaller and more manageable cousin, averaging only 10-14′ long. It was a pleasant surprise to see some available at the expo. In fact I was so stunned to see some present that despite recognizing the coloration, pattern, and head shape, I had to ask to confirm. The man I spoke with at TSK’s table said that the two I saw were the last of the several they had brought to the expo. Let’s hope the snakes went to responsible new owners! Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - yellow anaconda, TSK Supply

8. Super pale chahoua gecko @ Nightshift Exotics

Chahoua geckos (Mniarogekko chahoua) are an arboreal gecko species similar to more familiar crested and gargoyle geckos. These geckos look something like a chubby, loose-skinned gargoyle gecko, and are characterized by a mottled pattern which helps them blend in on bark and lichen. This chahoua gets the #8 spot because I’ve never seen such a pale chahoua before! Every one I’ve seen has been richly pigmented, but this one looked like a Monet painting in pastels. Absolutely gorgeous! This is one of Nightshift’s breeders, so I can’t wait to see what they produce. Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - chahoua gecko, Nightshift Exotics Other highlights from Nightshift’s table:
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Nightshift Exotics

Check out the rusty eyeliner on this gargoyle gecko!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Nightshift Exotics

Super colorful striped juvenile gargoyle gecko.

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Nightshift Exotics

Correlophus sarasinorum breeder. Babies will be available (hopefully) soon!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Nightshift Exotics

Magnets, stickers, buttons, and more!

7. Melanistic Leonis phase kingsnake @ Prismatic Reptiles

Nuevo Leon kingsnakes (Lampropeltis mexicana thayeri) are a colubrid snake species native to the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico. There are two phases of Nuevo Leon kingsnake: MSP and Leonis; one has a tricolor banded pattern that looks like a milksnake, while the latter is an alternating pattern with red saddles. This past year they produced a completely black melanistic morph Leonis, which is a striking alternative to the trendy Mexican black kingsnake. Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - melanistic leonis kingsnake, Prismatic Reptiles It should be noted that all of Prismatic Reptiles’ snakes are CBB (captive born and bred) — an impressive boast for such a wide variety!
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Prismatic Reptiles - T+ and T- nelsons milksnake

T+ (left) and T- (right) Nelson’s milksnakes. Very cool to see them side-by-side!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Prismatic Reptiles - green ratsnake

Green ratsnake. I know it doesn’t look green in the picture, but trust me – it was green!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Prismatic Reptiles - green baron's racer

Baron’s green racer

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Prismatic Reptiles - pin banded leonis

Pinstripe banded Leonis kingsnake

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Prismatic Reptiles - patternless project leonis

Patternless project Leonis kingsnake

6. Rainbow boas @ Alpine Reptiles

Brazilian rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria cenchria) are a South American snake prized in the reptile hobby for their vivid orange and red coloration and the fantastic rainbow iridescence that becomes visible in sunlight. They’re not a terribly common sight at the Wasatch Reptile Expo, so I was delighted to see a breeder present this time around. Alpine Reptiles has been keeping rainbow boas since 1999, and is currently working on producing the world’s first 4 gene combination morph: axanthic het rizo het sharp ghost. We wish them the best of luck in this project! Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles Other highlights from Alpine Reptiles:
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Alpine Reptiles - anery rainbow boa

Anery morph Brazilian rainbow boa. If only they stayed so monochrome as they got older!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Alpine Reptiles - rainbow boa

This rainbow boa tolerated getting handled by strangers all day very well!

5. Hypo champagne GHI morph ball python @ Pets N Such

Ball pythons (Python regius) are a small to medium-sized constrictor snake native to Africa, and they are ridiculously popular. That means that they also tend to be ridiculously common at reptile expos, a fact which many reptile hobbyists have complained about. And while I can’t say I don’t like seeing these adorable little guys every expo, I have to limit myself to highlighting just one — and this most recent expo made the decision easy for me. Isn’t it spectacular? Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles - hypo champagne GHI ball python, Pets N Such

4. Giant leaf-tailed gecko @ Pets N Such

Giant leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus fimbriatus) grow to 11-13″ long and have distinctive light-colored eyes with red veining. As members of the fimbriatus group, their camouflage is designed to blend with bark, lichen, and moss, and they have a large dermal fringe that makes them look like they have a beard. Leaf-tailed geckos are arguably my favorite lizard genus EVER. Magical camouflage abilities and sniper-esque hunting ability in a just-awkward-enough-to-be-cute package. They’re slowly gaining popularity in the reptile hobby, although this is mostly restricted to the mossy leaf-tailed gecko and the satanic leaf-tailed gecko. And at this fall’s Wasatch Reptile Expo, there were TWO giant leaf-tailed geckos! Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles - uroplatus fimbriatus, Pets N Such

3. Super Fire morph boas @ R&T Reptiles and Supplies

The Central American boa (Boa imperator) is the most common “true” boa in the hobby. Unlike their cousins, B. constrictor constrictor, they stay fairly small between 5-7′ long and have lots of stunning morphs to choose from. Among the most notable of these morphs is the Super Fire morph, also known as Princess Diamond, and I was floored to see not one, but TWO of them at the Fall 2018 Wasatch Reptile Expo! Funny/embarrassing story: When I visited R&T Reptiles’ table, I completely ignored the Super Fire boas because I thought they were Super Fire morph ball pythons (the two morphs look extremely similar) and the sunglow morph looked more interesting. It wasn’t until the breeder told me to take another look that I realized my mistake! Lessons learned: 1) Make no assumptions and 2) ignore nothing. Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles - super fire boa, R&T Reptiles and Supplies Other highlights from their table:
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - R&T Reptiles and Supplies - sharp sunglow

Sharp sunglow het blood 66% het anery

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - R&T Reptiles and Supplies - jungle vpi

Jungle VPI

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - R&T Reptiles and Supplies - super hypo harlequin het kahl

Super hypo het harlequin het sunglow kahl

2. Solomon Island skinks @ Mark’s Ark

Solomon Island skinks, also known as monkey-tailed skinks or prehensile-tailed skink (Corucia zebrata) are the largest known species of skink. They are native to the Solomon Islands northeast of Australia. Populations of Solomon Island skinks are vulnerable in the wild, and while they have been successfully bred in captivity, they only produce a single baby at a time. These skinks are some of the only reptiles to demonstrate maternal behavior. Due to slow rates of breeding and exportation bans, Solomon Island skinks are rare in the pet trade. Still, they’re a fascinating species and I plan to have one someday once I have the space to keep it properly. For anyone in Utah who wants to see an adult Solomon Island skink, visit the Hogle Zoo. (I should mention that Animal Ark’s table also featured a Solomon Island skink, but it was hiding when I stopped by.) Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles - solomon island skink, Mark's Ark

1. Honey Ghost morph short-tailed pythons @ CAJ Herps

Borneo short-tailed pythons (Python breitensteini) are thick-bodied, medium-sized snakes native to Southeast Asia. They are commonly (mistakenly) lumped together with blood pythons, which a different species. Short-tailed pythons are generally considered to have more docile temperaments than blood pythons, but the fact is that with proper husbandry and smart handling practices, both can make very pleasant pets.

Chris Jensen has been working with blood pythons and short-tailed pythons for the past 8 years. Although his primary project is Borneo short-tails, he also works with Sumatran short-tails and blood pythons. The Fall 2018 Wasatch Reptile Expo was his first time vending, so special congratulations to Chris for taking the #1 spot!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - rainbow boa morphs, Alpine Reptiles - blue honey ghost blood python, CAJ Herps

Other highlights from CAJ Herps’ table:

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - CAJ Herps - blood color

Blood python (Python brongersmai). Daaaaaaang — you don’t get this kind of color from a run-of-the-mill breeder!

CAJ Herps - curious blood python

This picture didn’t turn out quite as clear as I hoped, but it was such a funny moment that I had to include it here. Blood pythons can be sweet, too!

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - CAJ Herps - whitewall ocelot

Whitewall ocelot morph Borneo short-tailed python

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - CAJ Herps - sumatran black blood 2

Lovely dark Sumatran short-tailed python

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - CAJ Herps - moustache snek 2

Moustache snake!

Congratulations CAJ Herps for taking #1 on your first time vending, despite some stiff competition! I hope to see you become a regular!

Honorable Mentions

These are the miscellaneous aspects of the expo that didn’t quite make the cut for the Top 10, but we think still made a valuable contribution to the Fall 2018 Wasatch Reptile Expo:

Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Texas alligator lizard, Animal Ark
Juvenile Texas alligator lizard @ Animal Ark Orem
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - Madagascar hognose snake, Animal Ark Orem
Madagascar hognose snake @ Animal Ark Orem
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - eublepharis hardwickii, Ramsey's Reptiles
East Indian leopard gecko (not African fat-tailed gecko!) @ Ramsey's Reptiles
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - boa constrictor amarali, Treasure Valley Reptiles
Bolivian silverback boa (B. c. amarali) @ Treasure Valley Reptiles
Wasatch Reptile Expo Fall 2018 - pet rocks
Pet rocks — the most low-maintenance pet ever!

That’s it for this fall! Were you able to attend the Fall 2018 Wasatch Reptile Expo? 

Tell us about your favorites in the comments below!


  1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Jay! It’s always better to wait until you’re ready for a pet than to jump in before you can afford its care. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the update. Im still interested in getting my Ball Python. I just dont have the extra funds to do it right, so for now I will wait. But thanks again for sending me the Expo.