Going to reptile and amphibian shows is one of the best parts of being a herp enthusiast. You get to see all the animals, and you can hang out with other people who share your interest.
You may have noticed that it’s hard to find places to admire exotic species, let alone other people who actually want to do so with you!
So when you find a great show with great people, it’s important that you don’t blow it for yourself by accidentally having bad manners at an expo or convention.
Here’s how to be cool at a reptile show and follow the accepted etiquette for checking out exotic pets on display.
Yes, it’s okay to ask to hold the animals
If you’re thinking about purchasing an animal at a show, you should absolutely be able to hold and inspect it before making a decision on taking it home.
And even if you’re not buying that day, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask to handle species that tolerate handling.
But before you touch, wash your hands
Reptile vendors in general care about the health of their animals. And if you’ve been touching multiple animals at the show, you can spread parasites and diseases between individuals.
So to prevent spreading disease around the herps on display, be polite and wash your hands between inspections.
You should also always ask the vendor before touching. Manners. Have some.
Gain respect by respecting vendors’ time
Vendors at reptile shows are pretty busy. They are taking care of their animals, taking care of sales, and trying to answer questions from a dozen different people.
If you see that a vendor you want to talk to is particularly busy, wait for a more opportune time to ask your question.
They’ll appreciate that you’re being considerate rather than adding to their stress.
This video from Kamp Kenan shows you how to do reptile show manners right.
Vendors, make it easy for people
Etiquette isn’t all about the visitors to the show, though. Vendors have a bit of responsibility for keeping things functioning smoothly, too.
After all, the way vendors respond to people influences how the show is perceived and whether people want to come back.
One thing you can do as a vendor is anticipate your own complaints.
If you always get asked basic questions by newbies who didn’t bother to do research, cut them off (politely) before they steal your time.
You can do this easily by making a big, easy-to-see poster with basic info about your display and sticking labels on live specimen displays.
Then, instead of having to answer the same “What species of snake is this?” question a hundred times, visitors to your table already have the answer in front of them.
Believe me, the time put in upfront to label your display saves tons of wasted question answering.
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