SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU)— Hundreds of rare and exotic reptiles slithered their way into northeastern Pennsylvania for the first time on Saturday.
Hundreds came out to express their love for their favorite pets, but not your average, ‘man’s best friend’.
“I figured if I could just show them the way that I see the reptile community that maybe we can popularize it a little bit more around here,” said Matthew Helring the co-founder of Electric City Reptile Expo.
Hilton Conference Center in downtown Scranton welcomed the Electric City Reptile Expo.
An opportunity for reptile lovers to share their passion and to remind people, these exotic animals are more afraid of us than we are of them.
“A lot of people are raised to be scared of snakes. Even local snakes like gardner snakes and rat snakes and such, when there’s nothing those snakes can do to hurt you,” says Dalton Christ, Skawl Dog Creations.
Professionals also took the chance to educate visitors on the rare breeds.
“I see them for sale all the time, I see them dying, I see them already dead when I enter homes. it’s just not cool. I never bought an alligator in 23 years, I never thought to buy one. I just started rescuing whatever I got calls out for, and these guys came along,” explained Cameron English from CDE Exotics.
Photo opportunities gave children and adults a shot at winning over new scaled friends.
“If you could hear my heartbeat right now you could understand why I’m scared that the snake could sense my fear. But experts are here to reassure people like me, that snakes like Bertha are harmless in this setting,” added Emily Allegrucci Eyewitness News Reporter.
“It’s kind of like a dog show, you know. People go to dog shows to get acquainted to certain breeds and stuff and it’s important we have reptile shows so people, kids can come to reptile shows and realize what’s dangerous and what’s not there too,” continued Philip Card from Card Family Exotic Pets.
And while some faced their fears, others slithered by to see their pet of preference.
“This young man right here, his favorite thing in the entire world is turtles. And, do you want to tell them what you want to be when you grow up? ‘i want to be a turtle saver,” says Michelle Bixby from State College.
“My favorite part was walking around and seeing the turtles and seeing this. And I also bought it!,” said Xander Woelkers from State College.
Organizers say while nothing is definite, they hope to have the Reptile Expo return to Scranton at some point in the future.