Lizards, snakes and frogs galore

Local reptile expo promotes healthy pet sales

More stories from Lauren Spierings

COVID on campus
April 1, 2021

Photo by Lauren Spierings

A lizard scuttles across the glass case away from its breeder.

Sometimes, pet stores don’t always source the most ethical of breeders, Emily Roberts, an organizer of the Eau Claire Reptile Expo, said. That’s why events like the reptile expo are so nice, since hopeful pet owners can meet the breeders and ask questions

“Here at the shows there’s more of a variety that’s offered,” Roberts said. “Because pet stores are usually pretty limited on what species they carry, and put stores off and have higher prices and questionable sources for the reptiles.”

Taking place at the Conference Center in the Best Western at 3340 Mondovi Rd., the expo was put on by Roberts alongside her husband Ed, her sister Grace Hakari and Grace’s fiance, Andy Hom-Ball. Nov. 17 marked the fourth year since the reptile expo started.  

Roberts said they have been running general shows for about 10 years for more than just reptiles. About 11 events are put on each year, with three occurring in Eau Claire.

“Some of them are for birds, some are for reptiles, some are for all exotic animals,” Roberts said. “So in Eau Claire we do three a year, two of which are for all exotic animals at the fairgrounds, the Eau Claire expo center. And then, once a year in November, we do just reptiles only here.”

Roberts also runs a YouTube channel called Snake Discovery, where she posts videos about pet care and other related topics. She also does events at schools and parties where she teaches about reptiles and how to care for them. 

Stands at the show featured snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders and other bugs. Some stands sold pet equipment or reptile-themed trinkets. One stand even sold preserved insects in glass picture frames.

One such stand was Little Critter’s Pet Shop, which was selling reptile trinkets and a few frog species. Trixy Lindeman, a worker at the stand, explained why these frogs, which happened to be pixie frogs and Pacman frogs, were such good pets.

“They’re really easy to take care of and they look so cool,”Lindeman said.

Spierings can be reached at [email protected].