Where can you buy an exotic pet? - AmericaNowNews.com

Pets

Where can you buy an exotic pet?

Ever thought of keeping a snake, iguana or gecko as a pet? A growing number of people do. A survey by the American Pet Products Association revealed that more than 13 million reptiles are now owned in the U.S.

But where exactly do you go if you're in the market for a python or bearded dragon? We tagged along with Jules Sylvester, our favorite exotic animal expert, on a recent shopping trip at one of the largest reptile shows in the country.

"I get asked the question all the time: What do you recommend for a first reptile pet? Probably would be a corn snake, if you're into snakes. They don't get over about 4 feet. They can bite, but all snakes have teeth so they can bite. But most of the time they're very, very gentle. It's not dangerous. They are constrictors. They eat live or dead mice. So, if you don't want to hurt the live mice, then you can buy frozen ones, defrost them, wiggle, they'll take them. But a corn snake is a good first time pet," says Sylvester.

Whatever kind of reptile you're looking for, Sylvester says you're likely to find it at a show. Every year in Pomona, California, thousands of reptile enthusiasts come to buy the kind of animals that many people are terrified of.

Sylvester says it's always better to buy a reptile from a responsible breeder rather than buying one that's been captured in the wild.

"Any time you have homegrown animals, they are a healthier animal. They don't come into the country with diseases and any parasites that you might have with wild-caught animals. They're hand-raised. They live twice as long. The average life span of a chameleon in the wild is 2 years. In captivity, 4, 5, and up to 10 years is possible. That's the advantage of homegrown," says Sylvester.

And even if you're not interested in buying anything, Sylvester says a reptile show is a great place to bring your family.

"If you don't know about reptiles, come here. This is a place to get a $10 education and it'll last you a lifetime," says Sylvester.

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