WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Thousands filled the Westchester County Center for the 20th Annual New York Metro Reptile Expo on Sunday to look at and, in some cases, buy snakes, geckos and other animals.
“They’re fascinated by reptiles,” said Animal Encounters founder Bruce Lowder, whose company sponsored the expo. “They’re so different than a dog or a cat that they can make an interesting pet and relatively low-maintenance.”
Filling the main floor, stage and meeting rooms, 5,000 people visited more than 250 vendor tables featuring live reptiles, books, supplies and cages. Lowder’s favorite part about the event is its attraction to everyone.
“We certainly get a lot of families coming to look around, but really that’s one neat thing about this hobby: it appeals to all ages, backgrounds,” he said. “It’s a fascinating hobby. It’s not terribly expensive. It’s neat.”
Lowder holds a show at the County Center five times a year, plus shows on Long Island and in New England. During the week, he takes his mammals and reptiles to schools and libraries for shows.
Chris Drews, an employee of JimiSnakes, said he enjoys coming to the expo because he is able to “mingle with other folks” who have the same interests. Drews said he gets a kick out of kids’ faces as they see the snakes – most of which were available for purchase throughout the expo.
Many people walked away with a snake, gecko, or tank for their current animal as they headed back to their cars.
Lowder said he was looking forward to the next show on Sunday, Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the County Center.