Repticon is a reptile and exotic animal convention that attracts and educates reptile breeders, handlers and enthusiasts from all over the United States. The convention traveled to South Florida last weekend, where area residents had the opportunity to explore animals up close, meet the breeders who sell them and learn from reptile experts.
Shane Herbold, who has bred reptiles for 10 years, manages a booth called Shane’s Serpents.
“My favorite reptile to breed would have to be snakes,” Herbold said.
Manny Duran from Tiki's Geckos has bred reptiles since he was 18 years old.
“I breed different types of reptiles such as panther chameleons, crested geckos [and] gargoyle geckos. I’m trying to breed other species of reptiles,” Duran said.
He said former wildlife biologist Steve Irwin was a big inspiration for his love of these animals.
“Ever since I was a kid I always wanted a pet reptile. When I turned 18 my first reptile was a crested gecko.”
Since then, Duran has added blue tongue stinks and alligator lizards to his collection.
Amy Moses from Calico Dragons said she breeds five species of bearded dragons and has been doing so for 13 years. She said her favorite species is the Progada Barbara Bearded Lizard because it’s one of the largest and can grow up to 24 inches in length.
“During the many years I have been breeding bearded dragons, I see many bearded dragon breeders give up after a couple of years because it takes lots of patience and time for the female bearded dragon to breed for the first time,” Moses said. “Depending on the female she can have between 17 and 25 eggs and lots of people drop out from breeding because it can be exhausting ,time consuming and costly to take care of the babies.”
Repticon visitor Trevor Gross said he doesn’t breed animals but likes to collect snakes. According to Gross, he owns a Firefly Ball Python, two Albino Ball Pythons and a Bumblebee Ball Python.
Repticon travels to 15 other states annually and is the largest producer of exotic pet shows in the United States, according to the convention’s website. For more information and to find locations for upcoming Florida shows, visit repticon.com.