All Alaska Reptile and Exotics Expo returns to Menard Center

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Bearded dragons, tortoises, and snakes, oh my!

The All Alaska Reptile and Exotics Expo has returned to the Menard Center. The event promotes the reptile and exotic animals community throughout Alaska by highlighting the niche world of reptile pet ownership.

Colin Lindsey, his wife, brother, and sister-in-law own the Reptile Barn, which hosts the yearly expo. Eight years ago, their love of reptiles drove them to become breeders. That passion inevitably grew into doing shows and educational events. Lindsey states that although these animals may not be the traditional fuzzy, cute, and cuddly animals, they can be just as personable and social as conventional domestic animals.

“They can certainly come out and interact with you without any fear, without biting you, and people become very curious right away,” Lindsey says.

As an enthusiast, Lindsey noticed that Alaska didn’t have any large gatherings for those within the reptile community, so the All Alaskan Reptile and Exotics Expo was born. In its third year now, Lindsey proudly announces that it’s bigger than ever.

“We really wanted a place where newcomers to the hobby, who are just kind of curious, pet keepers, expert hobbyists, and even business people, can all come in one place and exchange ideas,” said Lindsey.

Jonathan Huntington, the director of Jonathans Reptiles, is one of 20 vendors attending the expo. She and her volunteers provide rescue and rehabilitation services. Her primary focus is centered on education. She says every service that they offer started because there was a need for it. Huntington says she sees a lot of surrenders because people don’t have the proper education on handling these types of animals.

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“What happens is people get an animal, whether impulsively or not, but without the proper research and providing them with correct husbandry, then the health of the reptile is what is affected most,” Huntington said.

Huntington says people can avoid unnecessary surrenders with the proper awareness of the reptile’s needs, so expos like this are essential to the reptile community.

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