i promised nick i'd take him to the reptile show at the convention center. and i did. we went to the reptile show last year because anna and i thought it was a travelling exhibit or zoo of exotic animals. nope. the reptile show is pure commercialism. these critters are for sale. snakes, lizards, insects, spiders and carnivorous plants including the gear it takes to keep them in alive in your house. nick loved it. he loves it. so we went yesterday to the reptile show.
what a trip. to see snakes and frogs and bearded dragons stacked in plastic containers. many of these animals were bred for the purpose of being sold as pets. but it is a little bit hard to see baby snakes loaded into what look like clear cottage cheese containers and stacked under heat lamps.
the people who collect such animals are an eclectic bunch. many alt-lifestyles were represented. most were heavily inked. the people were inked i mean. nearly all of them were set on buying some kind of snake, lizard, spider, insect or carnivorous plant. it was mind-blowing.
but to purchase admission tickets we stood in line for 45 minutes. the reptile show was that much in demand. i couldn't believe it. i didn't have the courage to ask anyone if they also have puppies, kittens, birds or rodents too. can one household mix and match species like that? is it a dumb question? i suspect if you bring home a python and you have a kitty too that python might just mistake the kitty for lunch. right?
there was a booth with just tarantulas and spiders. the tarantulas were all huge and hairy. we looked at one larger cottage cheese container and it was all webbed up. nick asked if tarantulas can make webs. thinking they are solitary ground creatures i said no. a young man, thin, heavily inked, with ears drooping with that style of gaping hole earlobe primitivism that is so popular said, yes they can. depends on the species. see rain forest tarantulas make nests of webs to stay dry while desert tarantulas make a single line of web that they use to return to their burrows. then he looked at the stack of very small spiders and said, wow! he asked the proprietor if these were [insert latin name for species].
that kid loved his spiders and had an encyclopedic knowledge of them. later i saw him carrying about 6 or 7 smaller cottage cheese containers each one housing one of those smaller spiders. the price of one small spider was around $65.00 on up.
nick on the other hand wanted a venus flytrap. nope i said. there were other kinds of carnivorous plants too. one was a series of bulbs that were tall and narrow with a narrow opening at top. a flying insect is attracted to the scent of the plant, lands on the edge of the opening, slip down the stem and into a pool of enzymes just waiting to digest the poor critter. these kind of plants had their adherents too. i watched a lady purchase two of the long pitcher plants and get into an excited discussion with the seller about her carnivorous plant garden.
last stop was a petting zoo organized by a reptile rescue organization. they had an albino alligator. a crocodile with its tail bitten off, a large tortoise, and an asian water monitor. nick fell in love with the monitor and lovingly petted and held it for a good 25 minutes or so. quite a sight to see.
alas we couldn't bring the monitor home. nor any of the creatures for sale. we were there to look and touch. i was fascinated by the insects. nick also fell in love with a group of death feigning beetles. little black scarabs about an inch wide that if you touched them or scared them they would flop on their backs and pretend they were dead. i asked the seller if she sold many of them or her millipedes that she brought from her shop in orange county. she said, sometimes. i let nick play with the beetles for quite a while. we even returned to have another look at them. i did not see one person buy any of the bugs.
bummer because i thought the death feigning beetles were cool. i'd have taken one or two home myself if our household wasn't already brimming with kitties, a dog, and two gold fish. for right now that is more than enough.