More than 1,000 reptiles return to Rothschild at the Scaled Up Reptile Expo

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 9:32 PM CDT
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ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (WSAW) - “Rothschild is one of the best shows that I do in Wisconsin,” said Gary Orner, Owner, Orner Exotics.

At the Central Wisconsin Convention Center, the Scaled Up Reptile Expo is back for the second time this year. Giving people a chance to experience a reptile of their own.

“You see a lot of families and kids come through,” said Dylan Konitzer, Coordinator, Scaled Up Expo. “A lot of people get to see reptiles up close and personal for the first time ever. There’s also a lot of dedicated hobbyists that come through looking to network and connect with other breeders and keepers.”

Reptile breeders, keepers, and educators from across the midwest packed the Convention Center, all proud to show off their animals.

“We’re thinking about naming her Hellen, she is a reticulated python,” said Orner. “She’s about seven feet right now, she’s gonna get anywhere from 17-22 feet. The cool thing about her is she’s not head shy or nothing, and she does not have eyes.”

Between event organizers and reptile handlers, they share a common goal of crushing pre-conceived notions about reptiles.

“A lot of people, whether the kids or adults, when they come in and out their hands on a reptile for the first time, just the shock that people have that they’re not slimy and nasty feeling and not out to get you,” said Konitzer.

“You’re gonna see animals that aren’t scary that got the stereotype,” said Orner. “So you’re going to be able to come out here, touch animals, see that they’re not slimy, and see that they’re not vicious animals. And they’re actually cleaner than a lot of animals that we know, like dogs and cats.”

No matter how you view reptiles, the event has become a thrill for those who keep the show running.

“Actually, the children, the kids get me excited,” said Orner. “I love when they come up to me and ask me questions, want to pet the snakes. That’s the biggest thrill for me.”

There will be two more Expo dates in Rothschild this year. To learn more, click here.