Slithering creepies and crawlies at Repticon 2018


Posted Tue, Mar 27, 2018

Kenny Sheafer working the crowd with his docile Albino (Kahl) Boa Constrictor at Repticon on March 10 in Aurora. [Photo: Duane Hirschfeld]

AURORA — Repticon toured Aurora on March 10-11 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, bringing along all types of critters most folks would probably shy away from, like snakes, frogs, caimans and more snakes. Educators and top breeders from across the country showcased hundreds of reptile species and other exotic pets.

There were small mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs and Australian sugar gliders, as well as other species like praying mantises, tarantulas and scorpions. All critters were not only available for public view but to hold, pet, purchase and take home.

Repticon is an event that tours the nation throughout the year. Founded in 2003 by Billy Healy, the mission is to “share reptiles with the world.” Repticon came to Denver for the first time in April 2012.

“Everything is out for you to look at, and it’s all for sell,” Repticon Event Manager, Rayna Waddell said. “We also do educational talks every hour.”

Event Manager Rayna Waddell at Repticon on March 10 in Aurora. Waddell started as a vendor selling mostly bald python snakes. [Photo: Kavann Tok]

Waddell said spectators can learn about reptiles and decide if they’re the right choice as a pet. She gave the example of how leopard geckos are considered low-maintenance which may make them a good start as a reptilian pet.

Steve Cook of the Colorado Herpetological Society was there to instruct people how to care for their animals. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1972 to provide education in the fields of herpetology and herpetoculture and promote conservation efforts of reptiles and amphibians. In the zoology field, herpetology is the study of amphibians. Herpetoculture is the collection of live reptiles and amphibians cared for in captivity as a hobby or for breeding purposes.

“We do rescues and adoptions,” Cook said. “If people don’t want their animals anymore, we take them in. At the society, we educate and teach people how to take care of them.”

Savannah Ruiz and Jesse Ellis study an Albino (Kahl) Boa Constrictor, which belongs to Kenny Sheafer, at Repticon on March 10 in Aurora. [Photo: Kavann Tok]

Vendor Missi Everard said that recessive genes in the leopard geckos make them easy and fun to breed. The low maintenance adult geckos feed only once or three times a week.

“Leopard geckos are nocturnal,” Everard said. “They do need a heat source. Use a heating pad on the bottom of the tank, so they can digest their food well. Mine eat superworms, mealworms and dubia roaches.”

Kenny Sheafer attended the show with his own snake, a Kahl albino Columbian boa constrictor. Sheafer grew up around reptiles his entire life since he was born in Florida. He became familiar with Repticon’s beginnings when he moved to Colorado about three years ago.

“I’m just a huge fan of reptiles,” he said. “I like being in the environment, you know. I love being around other enthusiasts, seeing other breeders and what’s going on.”

Missi Everard has been breeding leopard geckos for six years and sells them at Repticon on March 10 in Aurora. Everard says there are many cool genetics to work with in geckos. [Photo: Kavann Tok]

Sheafer said his snake’s previous owner wasn’t taking care of the reptile. It was covered in mites from head-to-tail and had a pretty big wound that festered down its side, eaten away by mites. Sheafer had him quarantined for about two months and treated him every three days to pick mites off of him. At about eight feet long and six years old, Sheafer calls him a gentle giant.

“That’s one of the reasons why I love red tails,” he said. “They’re super docile and really curious, but for the most part, they’re considered to be a non-aggressive snake.”

Sheafer would like to see more education at the shows. After his own experience, he said lack of education is what leads to improper care for these animals. People buy them as novelty pets, but a few months later, they want to get rid of them.

“It’s sad to see,” Sheafer said. “Same thing with him. Someone, at some point, thought they knew what they were doing but weren’t taking care of him. Had it gone much longer, he would’ve probably died, which is sad. So I would like a better emphasis on awareness and education.”

Whether you’re a reptile enthusiast looking to trade or purchase pets and supplies or just want to take the family out for an enlightening weekend event, Repticon is filled with excitement for all ages.

For more information, visit: Repticon


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About Kavann Tok

Kavann Tok is a freelance Denver-area journalist. Website:

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3 Responses to “Slithering creepies and crawlies at Repticon 2018”

  1. Khaleel H. Says:

    Great job, Kavann!
    Really good article. I’m glad you
    got it and your photos published.


  2. Linda H. Says:

    Good job! You made it interesting by including folks own stories about their pets and interests.


  3. Lonewolf Says:

    Great article, educational and informative.


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