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Rothschild Northern Wisconsin Reptile Expo combats reptile stigma

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (WSAW) - Over a thousand people attended the Rothschild Northern Wisconsin Reptile Expo on Sunday. There were dozens of tables with vendors selling animals and supplies. The event coordinator said the main purpose of the family-friendly event was to educate the general public.

“We definitely see a lot of people that would have never even considered getting a reptile as a pet and they come through and they just learn. That’s probably the most important part about doing this. Getting the general public to learn that these animals aren’t out to get you.” said Dylan Konitzer, Event Coordinator.

People came from as far as Minnesota, Illinois and the U.P. to attend the event. Aside from it bringing together people with similar hobbies, Konitzer enjoys providing a good experience for kids.

“To see all the little kids come through and their eyes light up,” said Konitzer.

Many held snakes and other reptiles with no fear. Konitzer hopes that if kids are exposed to and educated to them at a young age the negative social stigmas toward reptiles will decline.

“People think they’re gross, they’re slimy, that they bite and we prove that it’s not true,” said Gary Orner, a vendor.

Orner breeds Leopard Geckos and sells them. He used to attend around 80 expos a year to share his passion with others. Orner said while they are relatively low maintenance, they can live around 20 years. Orner recommends them as pets for people who have allergies.

The next expo in Rothschild will be on Feb. 6. For the Facebook page with expo information click here.

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