Vendors feature exotic reptiles at Taylor Trade Center

Photo by Scott Brent Doug DeVaul, owner of Grove City Reptiles, showcases his black and white Tegu at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

Photo by Scott Brent
Doug DeVaul, owner of Grove City Reptiles, showcases his black and white Tegu at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

 

By SCOTT BRENT
For the Sunday Times

TAYLOR – Looking for a new pet to take home was never easier for families as they browsed hundreds of snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises at the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14. Forty vendors from the metropolitan Detroit area and Ohio showcased the reptiles as a result of intensive breeding.

Jessica Rucker, co-owner of Legit Dragon, a home-based operation in Dearborn, bred most of her lizards in the early spring.

Photo by Scott Brent Kristi Skinkiss, owner of KS Kritters, holds two Coturnix quails (Pharaoh variety) at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

Photo by Scott Brent
Kristi Skinkiss, owner of KS Kritters, holds two Coturnix quails (Pharaoh variety) at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

“Our babies are hatched in the middle of the summer,” Rucker said. “They have an eating period in the summer of about three months, but when winter kicks in, they move a lot slower and there isn’t as much for them to eat.”

Creating the first albino dragon is one of Rucker’s greatest aspirations.

“I would love to have one be visual and one non-visual,” she said.

Genetic traits that are apparent and carried over are known as visual traits, while non-visual traits are still transferred, but cannot be seen.

Her favorite lizards to play with are her rose-bearded dragons.

“They love to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ with me every night,” she said.

Photo by Scott Brent A male panther chameleon from Mythical Exotics at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

Photo by Scott Brent
A male panther chameleon from Mythical Exotics at the Michigan Reptile & Pet Expo in the Taylor Trade Center Oct. 14.

Doug DeVaul from Grove City Reptiles in Columbus, Ohio, has been around anacondas and chameleons since he was 6. His basement acts as his breeding facility, but he claims that “it’s rare not to come across at least one cold-blooded guest in every part of the house, with the exception of the bathroom.”

DeVaul especially treasures his Mellers chameleons and hopes to produce more purple and yellow ones as they are the rarest to find.

Aside from being a pet center, Grove City Reptiles hosts office parties, zoo functions and birthday celebrations. In his spare time, DeVaul likes to go herping — searching for amphibians or reptiles — with his family in the Florida Everglades.

Thomas Barrett II from Cold-Blooded Addiction in Silverwood unveiled a calm blackthroat monitor. Barrett assures that frequent interaction reduces their hostility.

“Before they hit 4 or 5 years of age, I take them out for a walk in my backyward,” he said. “They tend to be more spry in daylight.”

Charlene Decamp, manager of the Taylor Trade Center Marketplace, expressed satisfaction with the event’s proceedings.

“Local pet vendors do not get enough representation,” Decamp said. “An event like this not only creates breathing room for them to do business; animal lovers get an educational experience and possibly a new family member. And as for the reptiles, some of them get to thrive in another person’s care instead of captivity.”