The New York Metro Reptile Expo | Information, Show Dates, and Video

The next reptile show dates:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What is it?

The New York Metro Reptile Expo is the largest reptile show in the northeast region. Taking place at the Westchester County Center in the 'main stadium', the vendors consist of breeders, brokers, reptile rescues, botanists, artists, toy sellers, and many more. The show, as well as its attendance, has grown substantially over the years, and it now has expanded to include another room in order to accommodate more vendors.

When is it?

This reptile show occurs every 2 and a half months, or about 5 times a year. The show usually occurs on a Sunday, but sometimes it may be held Saturday and Sunday. The Hours are always 10 AM to 4 PM.

Cost: Admission $10 Adults & $5 Children 7-12 yrs, children under 7 free.

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What to do there

  • Buy reptiles, terrarium plants, supplies, books, toys, frozen feeders, and more
  • Talk to experienced reptile keepers and rescues
  • Talk to exotic pet vets

What to eat

The Westchester County Center has one food stand, which is Nathans, located in the expo. The center is located near several grocery stores and other fast food outlets.

For parents, what to expect

I've noticed many parents bringing young children to the reptile show, so I wanted to offer some useful information. Be advised that the reptile show is not a zoo. It is very crowded (regardless of how early you get there) with people interested in buying animals and it may not be the best environment to teach young children about reptiles. As is shown in the video, animals will be housed in temporary, small portable containers which are certainly not appropriate as permanent enclosures for these animals.

Important information on Salmonella distributed at the show.
Important information on Salmonella distributed at the show. | Source

If introducing young children to reptiles here, it would be a good idea to explain why the animals are in these small containers. Also, vendors who are focusing on paying customers may not have a good opportunity to answer questions or show animals to children.

Another important thing is to be aware of the fact that many reptiles carry salmonella. For healthy adults, this is not a serious illness, but very young children and people with compromised immune systems may want to avoid all contact with reptiles and be weary of surfaces where they could have been, especially if you are eating at the show. Hand sanitizer is a good idea if contacting reptiles (mainly lizards like iguanas and turtles).

*All children are require to be accompanied by an admission-paying adult of at least 21 years of age.

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For reptile buyers, what to expect

The state of New York has suffered some bans of certain reptile species. Venomous reptiles (including cool things like gila monsters), some large monitor lizards, crocodilians, and large constrictor snakes (Burmese python, anaconda, reticulated python, ect.) are illegal to posses in the state and will not be displayed. The show has mostly common species of reptiles, although various individual vendors often carry more unique species. The majority of the show consists of:

  • Ball pythons (many different morphs)
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Geckos
  • Corn/king/milk snakes
  • Boas
  • Bugs such as roaches and tarantulas
  • Some chameleons (panther, veiled, and jacksons)

Some species that have caught my eye (as I tend to gravitate away from the 'commonalities') that have had sporadic or single appearances at the show include: rhino rat snake, sun beam snake, turquoise green iguana, Halloween crabs (which I've bought twice), mud skippers, woma python, black headed python, frilled dragon, axolotls, exotic stick bugs, caiman lizard.

What deals are there?

There are many opportunities to save money at the reptile show, but remember that the entrance fee will cost $10 per person (for adults). If you attend just to pick up some general supplies, your total may even out as if you've bought it online and paid shipping. In this case, Amazon.com offers similar deals as the reptile show (and it's even better if you have a Prime membership and get free 2-day shipping). Buying in person has the advantage of being able to see the product, however. The show also has some unique items on display.

Tip: frozen feeders, specifically rats, sell out fast! So get there within the first 2 hours for dibs on these.

More difficult species

  • Chameleons
  • Monitor lizards
  • Iguanas
  • Green Tree python

Should I unexpectedly buy a reptile?

Impulse buys of reptiles are widely discouraged, however, I see the strong appeal of doing so at expos. The reptile show at most lasts for only 2 days, and you may want to buy your pet now instead of waiting another 2.5 months for the next show or ordering online and paying the expensive shipping. For the educated reptile keeper, an 'impulse buy' can be done responsibly, as long as you have some familiarity with the animal, knowing that it is not a a difficult species.

I once considered a beautiful snake at the show, which was nothing like I've seen before. It was called a sunbeam snake, and it had stunning rainbow florescence on its sides. However, I had never read anything about this animal as a pet before, and common sense will tell you that a beautiful animal that is not substantially expensive will have a 'catch', so I passed on it.

Sunbeam snakes are indeed difficult to care for, often removed from the wild, and handling and viewing them causes severe stress (a paradox, since people would be tempted to buy this animal to see it). Be practical about impulse buys, and depending on your experience, it is not inherently an unethical decision.

It is common for reptiles to die young

This is just an unfortunate, undeniable fact, and it isn't OK. Reptiles, including even common 'starter' species, have specialized requirements that us mammals do not naturally have a propensity to accommodate. For experienced reptile keepers, it might not seem like it's so difficult, but it can be bewildering to a person buying a reptile for the first time. This is why it is urgent to educate people on the lighting, space, and nutritional needs of reptiles.

Please support reptile rescues

There are many reptiles in the exotic pet trade that are inexpensive, sold when young, and unfortunately are often no longer wanted once the owner realizes that their once small pet has grown up to be large, expensive, long-lived (if properly cared for), and demanding. Green iguanas are victims of this cycle as well as red-eared sliders and other common species. Please give the reptile rescues your support and if planning on buying an animal like an iguana, after sufficient research, please ADOPT these animals (you will also get the opportunity to talk to highly experienced reptile keepers before you carry out the adoption).

In my opinion, the reptile rescues at the show appear to be feeding the best diets and giving the best care advice for the animals.

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