Monthly Archives: August 2012

Have a Great Weekend

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It Came From the NARBC: Other Denizens

Snake pair

Based on the previous sets of photos, you might think that the North American Reptile Breeders Conference shows were all about the reptiles. They are, but they’re great places for peoplewatching, too. Twenty years ago, the old cliche of the reptile enthusiast as tattooed motorcycle rider and general hooligan might have had a tiny bit of truth to it: the guy from whom I bought my late savannah monitor Afsan had big scars down one arm from where he’d admitted he’d lost a knife fight. Even considering that you’ve never seen anyone handle tiny reptiles with such gentleness, reptile shows today are as diverse as they come, and everybody out there has a great story as to why they’re out there.

Gopher snake and keeper

By way of example, this young lady was just part of the crowd that you simply wouldn’t have seen at many Texas reptile shows in the early Nineties. Her snake was just as intriguing, as I haven’t seen a gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) since I was about seven years old. Best of all, our niece, ostensibly the reason we made the trip, was trying to get over an aversion to snakes, and this gopher snake gave both her and the Czarina the opportunity to hold a very gentle and very well-adjusted snake.

(A side-tip to those with snakes letting people hold their snakes for the first time, especially if the snake is a climber. Give them some advance warning that said snake will generally wrap its tail around fingers, arms, or any other protrusion. It’s an odd feeling if you aren’t prepared for it, and I’ve gone without holding snakes for long enough that I’d forgotten the sensation. This way, nobody has a freakout, including the snake.)

Czarina with gopher snake

And then we had the plant freaks. Namely, the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Bromeliad Society had such a great time at last February’s show that its members came out again for August. As can be told, they had lots of plants, lots of buyers, and lots of enthusiasm.

Shawn and Gail

Bromeliads

And then there was the hardest-working participant at the show. The NARBC crew was working itself to a nub, the security crew at the convention center was even worse off, and by Sunday afternoon, all of the vendors had the expression I knew so well from plant shows. That look said “We’re having a blast, and we love everybody here, but we know that there’s a bed or cot or spare couch at the end of this day, and Nyarlathotep help the first person to get in the way of it.” This guy, though, just finally couldn’t keep working, and passed out in the first available chair.

Sleeping dog

I don’t blame him in the slightest. That’s going to be me when the Triffid Ranch does its first NARBC show next summer.

It Came From The NARBC: Invertebrates 1

Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:

Of course, it’s not all reptiles and amphibians. Several dealers had quite a selection of invertebrates as well.

Millipede

Now, this character is an arthropod not often seen in the US, at reptile shows or elsewhere. It’s a vinegaroon, also known as “whiptail scorpions” because of the flexible telson at the end of the abdomen. That telson is about as long as a cat’s whisker and about as dangerous, and one theory holds that it’s used purely for display. The “whiptail scorpion” name comes from the two strong claws held to the front, and “vinegaroon” comes both from its ability to spray acetic acid as a defense when molested, and the strong vinegary smell when crushed. They’re active predators of smaller animals, but while scary-looking, they’re completely harmless to humans. I haven’t seen one since I was five years old, so this one was a long-missed delight.

Vinegaroon

It Came From The NARBC: Turtles 1

Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:

Pancake tortoises

The summer NARBC show didn’t have much in the way of turtles and tortoises other than the very common spur-thighed and red-footed tortoises (considering their size as adults, thankfully all of these were hatchlings), but a few dealers had some surprises. The biggest was this clutch of pancake tortoises (Malacochersus tornieri), which almost came home with me.

Albino red-eared sliders

While not as rare as they used to be, albinos of any type still gain recognition and notice at reptile shows. With this pair of amelanistic red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), who would have figured that their distinctive red ear spots are visible in albino forms as well?

Albino red-eared sliders

It Came From The NARBC: Caramel savannah monitors

Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:

Caramel savannah monitor

This little guy here is a surprise all on his own, because he’s a captive-born savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus). That’s a big deal in the reptile trade, because the vast majority of savannahs available as pets in the US are imported from Nigeria and Kenya. Even more so, he’s what’s called a “color morph,” raised specifically for a particular color or color pattern. Color morphs have been a standard in the snake trade for twenty years, but generally only leopard geckos and bearded dragons are raised for their various color morphs. I have no idea what color morphs are in the future for monitors, but I look forward to seeing what happens.

Caramel savannah monitor

It Came From The NARBC: Lizards 2

Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:

Frilled dragon

Blue-tailed monitor

Blue-tongued skink

It Came From The NARBC: Lizards 1

Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:

Unknown lizard

Stub geckos

Timor monitors

This last one was a particularly sentimental moment. This is a big female black-throat monitor (Varanus albigularis var.), a medium-sized monitor lizard native to southern Africa. The reason why this one melted me a bit is that V. albigularis is a close cousin to the savannah monitor, Varanus exanthematicus, and she was both the size and general temperament of my late savannah monitor Afsan. She would have been a handful at that size, but out of all of the animals I saw at the NARBC show, she was the one I would have tried to bring home.

Black-throat monitor