So, Some of you may have seen on my Instagram page that I attended the NY Reptile Expo this past weekend.
I gave you a couple of sneak peek photos of what I saw there and mentioned that I came home with some new animals. I have gotten some messages and comments asking what I brought home, but I wanted to wait until today to let you in on what it was I picked up and why, along with some photos of the newest members of the Tubular Tribe!
Before all of that though, I wanted to tell you about my trip to the reptile expo.
This was my first time going to a reptile expo and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! There were so many species of reptiles and amphibians there, even arachnids! I saw so many different animals that I had never seen or heard of, and a lot of animals that you just won’t see in a pet store unless you come to one of these shows. There were so many snakes it should have been called the NY snake expo (and other reptiles) 😀
The NY Reptile Expo is held in the Westchester County Center in White Plains NY. It was about a 2 hour 45 minute drive for us to get there, but I have to say it was so worth it! We woke up around 5:30 am, and were out of the house by 7 am. We picked up my brother and his girlfriend around 7:30, and we were off!
When we arrived it was around 10:30, and it was already packed. The expo started at 9am and most people probably arrived as soon as it opened so they would get nice choices before everyone else came in.
I have to say, I was like a kid in a candy store! My eyes were all over the place looking at table after table and the excitement of seeing what was around the corner was great in itself.
I knew there were obviously reptiles for sale at the reptile expo, but I didn’t realize how many other things were sold there and at MUCH lower prices than any pet store or online store offered. Especially the supplies. Anything you could possibly need for your reptile or amphibian was there all in one spot, just a table away. I literally bought just about everything I needed for my set up and then some. For example, I bought 8 bags of bio balls for the bottom of my enclosure for $3.00 a bag. I went to PetSmart yesterday for something and found the same bio balls for sale in a smaller bag for $10! I also bought a very large piece of cork wood and a medium sized piece for $16.00. My fiancé also picked up food for his animal as well as a few odd and end things.
The set ups of the animals were also very nice and visible. A lot of the snakes were kept in display cases and the sellers were very willing to take anything out for you to hold and view.
People were very nice, I guess the only thing I wasn’t too fond of was how packed it was and some people were pushy to get in front of you to view the animals. But all in all it was a great experience and my fiancé and I cannot wait to go again!
These reptiles and amphibians were some of the most exotic beautiful specimens I have seen. Some of the most unusual as well, these guys deserved their own category pictured below:
This show was just the beginning for us, we left feeling very accomplished and were floored by all the great deals you can get at the reptile expo -especially towards the end of the show when the seller are trying to unload the rest of their product out.
My fiancé ended up buying a Savannah Monitor lizard, who was approximately 2-3 weeks of age. He is so tiny compared to what he will eventually become -which is a 3 foot dinosaur!
(Adult Savannah Monitor):
My fiancé has experience with reptiles and was looking for a Savannah monitor because they are challenging to upkeep and make sure they are healthy. He had done his research and was up for the challenge. They have a lot of requirements and it’s important they are met since most juveniles die within the first year of life due to informed lizard keepers (usually inexperienced ones), so I wouldn’t recommend getting one yourself unless you are up for the challenge/have experience. He is so adorable though! Here’s the little dinosaur which he named Dino:
My brother and his girlfriend ended up buying a beautiful male Russian Tortoise that they named Sheldon- Cutest name ever.
I was in love with him and after learning that Russian Tortoises only reach a maximum of about 10 inches in length, I put that on my list of animals I would like to own in the future.
So what did I get?
Well, I was really torn between what I wanted to buy. Before we went I had made up my mind, but I still had FOMO (fear of missing out) when I got there. I originally wanted a leopard gecko like no one’s business.
I had spent countless hours researching them and finding out the breed characteristics. I loved the color variations associated with this breed and the reptile expo reminded me of how much I wanted one. They had so many selections of babies and beautiful colors available, it was hard to “look but not touch.” I decided against these guys though because I was not sold on the amount of time I would be able to watch them or handle them, considering that they are a nocturnal species we would have different schedules. I was looking for something that I could spend hours watching and that had the same wake schedule as I did. Something that didn’t stay in a hide all day to sleep. I was also looking for a set up that I could get super creative with, something that was literally a slice of the wilderness in my home. That’s when I stumbled across vivariums.
It was perfect! It was a tropical environment that could house tropical and brightly colored animals and it was essentially a low maintenance set up. A real slice of the wild and a complete self sufficient eco system. I then spent countless hours looking up videos and how too’s on building a vivarium. I decided to use my empty 55 gallon tank that I set aside for baby butterfly fry, because I can always pick up another one. So that brought me to my next question, what would I house inside this vivarium?
I went through countless ideas and animals that were suitable for the moist humidity of vivariums. There are quite a few species such as certain types of geckos, frogs, snakes, even certain spider types. I knew I wanted to get a gecko in my near future, and after doing research on other types of geckos I ultimately decided that the only Gecko I was interested in at this point in time were leopard geckos. So what animal did I get?
These little babies of course!
I couldn’t take my mind off of dart frogs. They were beautiful in every sense and there is something about them that truly intrigues me. They are almost comical in the way they look so little and angry, and how they are super alert. They way they look and move around mesmerizes me. So I immediately dove in to my research to truly see if housing dart frogs was something I could realistically do. I found out what their specific needs were, diet, housing, temps etc. After I soaked up all the knowledge I found available, I saw way more pros than cons of keeping these little guys. The specific breed of dart frog I was drawn too was the Dendrobates leucomelas. Particularly the fine spot variety. (See Below):
Unlike the standard variety, these guys acquire black spots as they mature, where the standard leucomelas have horizontal black bands across their body. (See Below)
Standard Leucomelas: Fine Spot Leucomelas:
I do like both, and may consider having both the standard variety as well as the fine spot variety in the future. These two morphs are not the only Leucs in existence, there are many different kinds of Leucs such as orange banded, and Guyana. They are a great beginner frog. They are also regarded as “bold” spending most of their time out in the open exploring the bottom of the tank, as well as climbing up to the high perches and letting out a beautiful trilling call- which you can hear In this video. They are more hardy than their counterparts in which they can withstand a bigger variety of temps and climates. In the wild they go through a dry season in which they stop producing offspring until the rains have picked up for the season. All in all they are a fantastic and comical pet to watch and own.
These guys were more positive and laid back than their counterparts, such as the Tinctorius species which can get aggressive when housed in groups. The leucomelas are generally a friendly/social species of frog that do well in groups or colonies. The only reports of aggression usually come from females who eat each others eggs. I know it’s not advised to mix breeds of dart frogs, but I saw a really nice blue azureus in the midst of all the fine spot leucs.
The breeder who was selling them told me that they all came from the same enclosure and were raised together. I know from research that poison dart frogs can live amongst other species of dart frogs peacefully as young juveniles, but that can change as they reach sexual maturity. However, like I said I have a large 55 gallon tank and I think this should be adequate space for them to separate so the need for aggression doesn’t arise. However, If I do see things getting out of hand I am probably going to rehome the blue azureus. The leucs are by far my favorite and when I got home I felt like I should have gotten three of those instead of two, but for now this is what it is and I guess I will keep an eye out and make adjustments as needed in the future. I also do not want the blue azureus to breed with the leucomelas due to the hybrid offspring they produce, which are highly frowned upon within the dart frog community. Also, hybrid dart frogs are always sterile and thus, can’t reproduce.
Right now, I have these guys in a small bare bottom tank with leaf litter scattered on the bottom.
I have to say, I was only planning on getting the supplies for the vivarium build at the reptile expo and not the actual frogs. When I got there, I realized that If I didn’t pick these guys up now, I wouldn’t really know when I would be able to get them again. There wasn’t another reptile show in the midst at this time and I would have to order these guys online, which is fine, but I would have spent way more in shipping to have them delivered and I really didn’t want to do that. So I left with them and pretty much all of the supplies for the vivarium- with the exception of the live plants and the spring tails. One of the best finds from the Reptile Expo was the Mist King, starter misting system. I was originally going to order this from online and the shipping would have really ranked up the already high price, but when I saw it at the expo, I had to buy it!
This starter misting system can run exactly 10 nozzles at once. I was looking for a 6 nozzle system to adequately cover the entire vivarium so this was another amazing buy. The misting kit only comes with one nozzle, but luckily there were additional nozzles for sale at the reptile expo. I left with a pack of two- one of which was a double nozzle fixture. That brings my total up to three nozzles for now, which is fine. I can order more as I go.
So, for the next week or so the new guys will be in their quarantine tank until I start and finish the build. I am planning on getting that started this weekend and hope to have it done in a matter of weeks.
The new frogs are very shy right now, and I have them in the fish room away from the hustle and bustle of the house so they have time to adjust to their surroundings. I left some fruit flies in the tank for them on Sunday, and they seem to be eating, but very little. This is normal for the first few days but if it persists, I will have to figure out a way to make them feel more comfortable. They often spend a majority of their time hiding under the leaf litter and I rarely see them, I’m sure within a few weeks they will be out and about more.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with my new frogs and I’m so excited to start building the vivarium! Once everything is set up and running, the end result will be amazing and I can’t wait to share that with you. I’ll keep you guys updated with step by step details of the viv build and hopefully if you’re interested in acquiring dart frogs, you will get some use out of this too. It’s my first time with this kind of project, so I am sure it will not go completely the way I want it to, but that’s part of the fun right? 😉
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week/weekend!
Talk to you soon!