It Came From the NARBC: Other Denizens

Snake pair

Based on the previous sets of photos, you might think that the North American Reptile Breeders Conference shows were all about the reptiles. They are, but they’re great places for peoplewatching, too. Twenty years ago, the old cliche of the reptile enthusiast as tattooed motorcycle rider and general hooligan might have had a tiny bit of truth to it: the guy from whom I bought my late savannah monitor Afsan had big scars down one arm from where he’d admitted he’d lost a knife fight. Even considering that you’ve never seen anyone handle tiny reptiles with such gentleness, reptile shows today are as diverse as they come, and everybody out there has a great story as to why they’re out there.

Gopher snake and keeper

By way of example, this young lady was just part of the crowd that you simply wouldn’t have seen at many Texas reptile shows in the early Nineties. Her snake was just as intriguing, as I haven’t seen a gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) since I was about seven years old. Best of all, our niece, ostensibly the reason we made the trip, was trying to get over an aversion to snakes, and this gopher snake gave both her and the Czarina the opportunity to hold a very gentle and very well-adjusted snake.

(A side-tip to those with snakes letting people hold their snakes for the first time, especially if the snake is a climber. Give them some advance warning that said snake will generally wrap its tail around fingers, arms, or any other protrusion. It’s an odd feeling if you aren’t prepared for it, and I’ve gone without holding snakes for long enough that I’d forgotten the sensation. This way, nobody has a freakout, including the snake.)

Czarina with gopher snake

And then we had the plant freaks. Namely, the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Bromeliad Society had such a great time at last February’s show that its members came out again for August. As can be told, they had lots of plants, lots of buyers, and lots of enthusiasm.

Shawn and Gail


And then there was the hardest-working participant at the show. The NARBC crew was working itself to a nub, the security crew at the convention center was even worse off, and by Sunday afternoon, all of the vendors had the expression I knew so well from plant shows. That look said “We’re having a blast, and we love everybody here, but we know that there’s a bed or cot or spare couch at the end of this day, and Nyarlathotep help the first person to get in the way of it.” This guy, though, just finally couldn’t keep working, and passed out in the first available chair.

Sleeping dog

I don’t blame him in the slightest. That’s going to be me when the Triffid Ranch does its first NARBC show next summer.

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