Caught up in the busyness of course work and the to and fro of college life, many of us forget the unique intricacies that come to be part of the UNO community; whether that means a camel visit during the first “Hump Day” of the year, visits from authors and directors every semester, and in the case of upcoming Sept. 30, a place to buy a pet snake.
The Nebraska Reptile Breeder’s Expo will return for its semiannual affair at the Scott Conference Center that Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. The entrance fee will be $5 per adult and $3 per child ages six-12. Any attendee younger than six will be admitted free.
What does that fee do, though? It allows entry to see hundreds of vendors, selling thousands of creatures and supplies all day. Anyone from the average pet bearded dragon and ball pythons, to small chameleons will be on display and available for purchase.
Founder and coordinator Glenn Eisel says the mission of the event is “dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians, the encouragement of responsible captive propagation, and the promotion of public education and understanding of reptiles and amphibians.”
And this event isn’t just a niche interest, as Eisel says his organization usually sees about 1000-1200 folks in attendance at the expo.
While reptiles and amphibians are not often allowed in UNO on-campus housing, one of these pets could definitely be a stepping stone (or replacement) of the traditional fish, cat, or dog for some college students looking for a companion.
In fact, Eisel says he originally became interested in reptiles and amphibians because he was allergic to the run of the mill fluff ball pets growing up.
That being said, snakes, tortoises, frogs, and the like aren’t designed to be purchased on impulse, much like any other pet.
“Reptiles require special environments to thrive in,” Eisel says. “The animal they [the customers] are interested in must have its caging set up and running before they purchase.”
While the idea of a pet snake—or even spider—might be appealing to some, others get goose bumps in their company. Gallup reports that the majority of Americans have a fear of snakes—clocking in near 51% of the surveyed population.
Eisel says this is usually a “trained response,” and most people “fear what they do not understand.”
Either way, the reptile expo is open to fans and exposure therapy enthusiasts and is designed to educate and integrate an appreciation for creatures who don’t normally see a lot of love.
For more information, visit nebherp.org—or better yet, join the Nebraska Herpetological Society, which meets monthly at UNO’s Allwine Hall.