A couple weeks ago many Utahns flocked to the Wasatch Reptile Expo held at the Utah State Fairpark. The yearly expo welcomed a variety cold blooded creatures to the Beehive State, and whether shopping in earnest for a new pet or just browsing for the fun of it, the expo held something for everyone. If you were one of the lucky ones to bring home a new friend from the Wasatch Reptile Expo (or you already have a cherished scaly buddy) you have a chance to show him or her off at your local Petco tomorrow, October 12th.
Reptile Rally: Turtles & Tiaras?
The Reptile Rally is an event held at Petco and sponsored by Zilla, a company that manufactures many products for herps. It celebrates reptiles, but also includes amphibians in that group (as most "herpers" or reptile/amphibian keepers do) The event, held last year in the early summer, has a Halloween theme this year. There will be a "Most Boo-tiful" Reptile Contest with prizes for the winners, a Reptile Myth Busters Game, and a "Meet & Greet Trick or Treat" with introduction to some different species and a "tasty treat." Let's hope it's not a chocolate covered cricket!
The event runs from noon to 4 pm, with sales (50% off reptiles and Zilla 10 gallon desert starter kits (suitable for a something like a young leopard gecko)) running all Saturday and Sunday. It is free to the public. Pets may come in Halloween costume, but it certainly is not required.
Don't be scared, be aware!
The holding of the Reptile Rally in October may seem appropriate for different reasons for different people. There are those who find rubber reptiles and amphibians perfectly at home on Halloween decor shelves. Many people are afraid of lizards, toads, and snakes. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness says that fears of animals are one of the five main subtypes of specific phobias in the DSM-IV-TR. Specifically, ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, is the most commonly reported phobia. 1/3 of all people is afraid of snakes.
But Halloween is not the only holiday in October, and thankfully, not everyone finds creeping things creepy. Reptile Awareness Day is October 21st! It is a day to be adore our turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes, and other scaly family members and teach others about them. It is also an opportunity to share about the needs of wild reptiles, their delicate ecosystems, and protecting the environment in general. Far from being a scary holiday, you can celebrate this holiday by taking the kids to see reptiles at Hogle Zoo or extinct reptiles at the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point. (One sad note: Kuma, the museums living, and quite beloved, Savannah Monitor Lizard, died earlier this fall in September. He will be missed.) The Living Planet Aquarium, usually another awesome place to meet some reptiles and amphibians face to face, is currently in the process of moving to their new, amazing location. The new place will be worth the wait, but they are shooting for December to open. Another way you might celebrate RAD (who's acronym is as "rad" as they come!) is by a donation to your favorite reptile rescue or to USARK. You could watch Rango or every Doctor Who episode with Madame Vastra or other Silurians. Or you could just lavish extra attention (or bugs or greens or pinkies or whatever your reptile prefers) on the particular herp who holds your heart.
Whether you have your snake strut his stuff at the Reptile Rally, take your tortoise trick or treating, or let a group of friends find out what an adorable personality your leopard gecko has, once you get to know her... here's hoping this October is a safe and happy one for you and all the reptiles, too!