FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Hundreds of reptiles were up for sale this weekend as the Florence Center hosted Repticon, a convention focused on reptiles and other exotic animals.
“Her name is Waffle, she’s a yellow belly hypo,” Cadence Rozek said of her newly purchased pet snake.
Rozek and her brother, Nathan Lamb, were two of the hundreds of reptile enthusiasts at the convention. Their newest snake will be part of a growing collection of unusual pets.
“We’ve got a snapping turtle and two baby sliders,” Lamb said.
Rozek said they also have a leopard gecko and some crabs.
The siblings said reptiles can make great pets, though they are often overlooked when it comes to companionship.
“Most people think they’re nasty and ugly, but I think they are easy to hold and actually social,” Lamb said.
Bill Albright, the owner of AHP Exotics called them “cool and different.”
“It’s a different type of animal, so it’s a conversation piece,” he said. “They are affectionate and friendly and enjoy the interaction.”
Albright brought dozens of creatures to sell at the event, as well as his 15-pound pet iguana, Pedro.
He said most people at the convention just want to look at the animals, but with some priced at more than $300, the right buyer can turn a profit in one sale.
“There is a decent demand,” he said. “The reptile industry is really popular and has gained a lot of popularity over the last 10 years.”
Albright was one of more than a dozen vendors selling geckos, axolotls, terrariums and everything in between. For aspiring collectors like Rozek and Lamb, who live in Lamar, having the convention so close to home was a dream come true.
“It was awesome,” Lamb said. “I thought they were only in Columbia or other states, but this is cool because we can come here and not have to waste much gas.”