By Angelina Hu
The Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo was held on Sunday, September 19th at the Buffalo Grand Hotel and Events Center in downtown Buffalo, lasting from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. It saw a full house with over two showrooms of vendors showing and selling a wide variety of reptiles and more, as well as equipment and supplies.
The BNRE is typically held twice a year in May and September, with a fairly consistent lineup of vendors. There is a Facebook group for the event where vendors share pictures and event-goers ask questions. The group administrator, Patrick Charles, appears to be the host of the Expo. This year, there were a wide variety of snakes, lizards, tortoises, amphibians, arachnids, and even rodents being shown and sold at the event.
Walking around the show, it was easy to find a wide variety of ball python morphs (including many piebalds), milk snakes, corn snakes, and western hognoses. One vendor even had woma pythons, and another had what I believe were green tree pythons. A variety of geckos, as well as chameleons, uromastyxs, and bearded dragons were also present, as were Russian tortoises, axolotls (both black and albino), Pacman frogs, tarantulas, emperor scorpions, hedgehogs, fancy mice, and chinchillas.
Among the vendors selling non-animals, the items that really stood out were taxidermy projects, essential oils, costumes for bearded dragons, and paintings, as well as supplies for reptiles (tanks or bedding) and food (live insects or frozen mice). For any aspiring reptile enthusiasts in search of less common species or rare morphs, this would be the place to find them, and at a more reasonable price, too; the most expensive animal I could find was a certain crested gecko morph at $1,100, and most ball python morphs were under $800.
Vendors like Handsome Hogs and The Axolotl Lady have been attending the show for years, and the event has been around since 2012. Of course, this is when we must address an ongoing issue of irresponsible sales, or owners who are uneducated and purchase animals without knowing about their adult sizes, diet, or behaviors. This is a problem that often arises wherever any type of exotic animal is sold, whether it be reptiles, birds, or strange rodents. However, walking around the BNRE, I am glad to say that the atmosphere I witnessed with customers and sales seemed educated. The vendors were informative and friendly, and they were happy to inform show-goers about their animals, especially when sales were being conducted. While irresponsible sales were most certainly made, simply due to the nature of the event, it was lovely to see the efforts vendors made to inform and do their best to prevent them.
The Expo is scheduled to be held again in May of 2022. It is a show that even those who aren’t in search of a pet should attend, if only to educate themselves about the extremely interesting world of domesticated reptiles. To any prospective owners, remember to be educated about the pet you’re about to adopt and stay responsible! The BNRE is highly recommended as a local event and will most certainly welcome you the next time it is held.