Inside the Reptile Industry with Loren Leigh – January 2013


As we wrap up 2012 and move into 2013 we close another amazing year of reptile events throughout the US.  Reptile shows are a huge part of our industry and allow us the opportunity not only to come together as a hobbyist group and share information, see new breeding projects, trade and sell our reptiles and equipment but also  to be part of this vast reptile industry.

I have been a part of the reptile community now going into my 19th year.  I personally have attended almost every show in the US, and traveled across the country countless times to be a vendor.  It is a huge part of our industry and I am lucky that our company LLLReptile and Supply Company is part of this segment and affords me the ability to attend.

Some of the highlights of this year included the kick off of the show year with the Reptile Super Show in Pomona, CA (Los Angeles area)  This show has grown 110% in recent years and has proven to be one of the best, if not the busiest show in the US.  Ramy, the promoter of this event has a style of promoting and accommodating his vendors that has never been seen in this industry.  This show drew 10,000+ people and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the US.  The show is full of events like fundraising auctions, daily auctions, and much more.  A must attend show in my opinion.

One of the most pivotal shows this year was the NARBC Tinley Park, IL (Chicago area) March ReptileSummit.  It was a chance for breeders, reptile industry stake holders, and owners of reptiles to meet and discuss laws and pending legislation in our industry.  It was a huge step for us in the fact that it was the first real chance to look at laws and the challenges that face us, and come up with solutions and game plans to tackle these issues moving forward.  The fund raiser for PIJAC and USARK was a huge success as well, and raised valuable money and resources to continue our lobby and fight.  This year the summit will take place at the NARBC show, I encourage everyone to take part and be active in this event.

As the year moved on there was a show almost every other month that again should be on anyone in the area’s show calendar.  The White Plains, NY Show (just outside Manhattan/Bronx) is a very unique show taking place 8 times a year.  This show is a one day show, and a mad house of selling, trading, and showcasing animals in a brief period.  People travel from states around to attend this show and it brings some of the top names in the industry time and time again.  One of the highlights of this show for me is the huge amount of breeders that flock to this event from all around.  The East Coast has many hobbyist breeders and seeing species being bred and kept that are not popular and seen at most events can always be found at this event.

Moving into the fall one of my favorite shows to attend and one of the hidden gems of all reptile shows is the Seattle Reptile Expo taking place in Puyallup, WA.  This show promoted each year by the Bean Farm brings some very exciting animals to the local fairgrounds and brings 1000’s from all around the Seattle/Tacoma area.  The Pacific Northwest is a very strong reptile community and they are one of the most passionate groups of keepers around.

In the fall there is another must see show – the Sacramento Reptile Expo in Sacramento, CA.  This show ran by Jeremy who owns two local stores in the area run one of the busiest shows in the US.  The show started in a small Red Lion Hotel Convention room in the beginning and today takes up the largest hall in the Sacramento Convention Center.  This show has a flavor all its own.  Shows programs, interactive animal displays, auctions, breeders from across the nation can all be found here.

In all the US has many great events and personally I enjoy them all.  There is always a great time taking place at the show, and the chance to see an amazing array of new species, new morphs, and some great examples of the livestock available, but it is also the chance to catch a meal and have good times with good people.  The Reptile Industry is full of some of the most interesting people, dedicated to their interest inreptiles.  We all come from so many walks of life, and have different interests in what we may keep and breed, but in the end of the day we all have that unique reptile bond.

I take great pride in being part of this segment of what we do here at LLLReptile and hope that you can one day take part in a event in a town near you.

Inside the Reptile Industry with Loren Leigh

Inside the reptile industry

This past month I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Top-To-Top conference in La Jolla, CA. This was the first joint meeting to bring together stakeholders in all parts of the pet industry. The purpose of this meeting was to bring awareness to an important organization called PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) along with many current issues pressing against the pet industry today. Several issues were discussed, but the topic I want to touch on this month is animal activism in America.

Many discussions took place on this topic to help better understand and combat the estimated 38,000 introduced animal laws and regulations coming this year alone on the city, state and federal levels. One big question discussed was “Can animal rights groups and the pet industry live in the same dog house together?”. We are both in the business of animal welfare, right? We both want what’s best for animals in the end, right? So – you would think this would be easy. Sadly – this is far from the case.

I realized at this conference how strong of a group the pet industry really is. Even more so is how strong our segment (reptiles) are by the great turnout by many of my fellow colleagues that work extremely hard for our reptile industry each and every day. Hagen/Exo-Terra, Zoo Med, Gourmet Rodent, Reptiles By Mack, Timberline and NARBC to name a few. The response to this meeting exhibited by the leaders and stakeholders of our industry to offer their time, donate their money and resources, and completely understanding that the future of owning pets in this country is in real jeopardy was awesome to see.

I think for the first time I saw our industry realize that we need to bond together now and fight for all pets (not just dogs, cats or snakes, but ALL pets) because in the end, if you own a dog, cat, snake, lizard, hamster or even a fish, there are people out there that feel this is just wrong.

I think for the first time I saw our industry realize that we need to bond together now and fight for all pets (not just dogs, cats or snakes, but ALL pets) because in the end, if you own a dog, cat, snake, lizard, hamster or even a fish, there are people out there that feel this is just wrong.

I personally feel very fortunate each and every day to work with animals and surround myself with people that love animals and bring people and animals together. You might ask “how can I help in this fight to keep our reptiles and pets?”. You have the most important and most beneficial role in this fight; good public relations! Get out there and teach people about how just plain cool our pets really are. Show them the bond you have and help warn off any, and all negativity. This could be as simple as getting a friendly snake into a child’s hand or bring it to share with a local school group (we at LLLReptile do this with schools and libraries all the time). When the local news does a damaging story on a reptile (or any pet) – be proactive! Reach out and educate them. Show them the truth of how great our pets really are. These are OUR pets they are talking about. It’s time for us to get out there and defend them and fight for our rights to have them in our lives.

Loren Leigh
President LLLReptile
USARK Board member