Inside the World of Reptiles

Enya visits the NorCal Reptile Expo in Pleasanton, California. 

Have you ever felt the scales of a snake or picked up a turtle? Did you know that crested geckos don’t blink? Visitors to the annual NorCal Reptile Expo got a chance to learn about—and even purchase—snakes, lizards, frogs, and more. The event was held on January 13 and 14 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California.

Specialized breeders sold a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, as well as animal food, cages, and supplies. Many vendors were eager to share interesting facts about the chameleons, frogs, tortoises, and more on display. The sight of vendors putting lizards or turtles on their hands drew admiration from the crowd. 

“My favorite part of this exhibition was interacting with people, meeting new people, and getting to talk to people,” said Michael Gardner, who was selling ball pythons, which are a type of snake native to Africa. “It brings me joy to get young kids to like reptiles.”


Enya checks out a butterfly display at the expo. 


The vendors explained how to care for the animals they sold and why they liked them. This helped customers make informed decisions about the pets they wanted to purchase. 

Vendor Heather Neldner, a herpetologist, takes care of crested geckos, which are native to rainforests. “My personal challenge for keeping them is to keep them at the right humidity,” she said. “They want a little higher-than-room-temperature humidity, especially in California. They like to be in about 70% humidity, which can involve spraying or a humidifier.” 

Many kids were thrilled to get new pets and supplies. They flocked to the tents where they could hold animals and learn more about them. “Being able to see and feel the scales of a bearded dragon up-close made this exhibition memorable to me,” said visitor Riona Lee. “I was intrigued seeing all the overlapping scales. I had never seen anything like that before.”


Photos courtesy of the author