The Thought Lot swapped out its usual artwork and live music to host Shippensburg’s 2nd Annual Reptile and Small Animal Expo. The expo was held in the morning and afternoon on Saturday, March 28, and attracted reptile lovers and curious minds of all ages.
The event featured approximately 20 reptile and reptile supply vendors, a face paint station and live educational demonstrations by Nic Bugg of Black Rock Reptiles.
Bugg did several demonstrations in intervals throughout the expo. Bugg let audience members pet his reptiles. For many adults and children alike, it was their first time touching and learning about reptiles.
Adam Kuhn, the event’s organizer and owner for Timber Hill Reptiles, said he was very adamant about having a live demonstration at the expo. This is Kuhn’s second year organizing the event: However, he has set up as a vendor at similar expos all over the state. “There’s a misconception that all snakes are slimy,” Kuhn said. “It was important to me to have an interactive component.”
Many visitors went home with a new pet. Two new reptile owners, Darrien Jenkins and Michael Diehl, both of Shippensburg, adopted a Lavender Corn Snake and a Pastel Ball Python. Jenkins had attended the event last year with her family but did not make a purchase until Saturday.
While some varieties were affordable, others can cost upward of $600. Vernon Kitchen Jr., owner of Genetics Lab Reptiles, had a $650 Banana Lemon Blast snake for sale. “It’s all about the different mutations,” he explained. “The rarer they are, the more they cost.”
Blake Truax, of Williamsport, Maryland, also purchased a reptile on Saturday. Truax took a heavy interest in reptiles and amphibians several years ago and has been a proud owner ever since. Saturday he purchased a Tegu lizard, which he named Tank the Tegu. Tank was actively shedding skin during the expo, a characteristic common among his breed.
The expo also doubled as a fundraiser. A portion of the entry fees were given to Shippensburg’s King’s Kettle Food Bank. Attendees were also encouraged to bring non-perishable canned goods to donate.