ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY Repticon features frozen rats and creamsicle snakes | Video, Pictures

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 9, 2013 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

If you are a big rat at the Repticon reptile show, you are frozen solid, sealed in a plastic baggie, and sold in a five-pack for $26. Rat pinkies, tiny and hairless, sell in baggies of 100 for $75.

This is how snakes bred and raised in captivity just like puppies prefer their rodents: rat and mice popsicles.

Feeder Source, a Georgia-based rat-raising enterprise, was already sold out of “mammoth” rats today, the last day of the reptile show at the Central Florida Fairgrounds that drew more than 2,000 people who think snakes, lizards, and turtles make great pets.

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Here’s the argument for pet snakes: They don’t bark, they don’t shed, and if you go away for a week, you won’t come back to a find them dead.

The fact you can forget to feed a snake makes them the perfect pets for children: You can’t kill them with neglect.

“If you went a week without watering a pet hamster, you have a dead hamster,” said Steve Beamer, 38, with Primeval Beauty, a snake business out of Nashville, Tenn.

The biggest threat to snakes as pets are moms. This is a known fact in the domestic reptile business.

“Our hardest sales are with the mothers,” Beamer said. “We’ll spend much more time [with a mother] on a $40 sale than a $1,500 sale.”

And that is why 7-year-old Daniel Stenger has a $350 multi-colored chameleon named Ned instead of a snake.

“He wanted a snake and we knew that wasn’t going to happen,” said his father, Dan Stenger of Orlando.

Daniel’s mother, Cindy Stenger, made that clear.

“No snakes. I don’t like snakes,” she said.

The most popular snakes at the reptile show are “morphed” ball pythons bred for multiple colors and designs. You can cross-breed two different ball pythons and it produces a third style of python. And then you can name it something delicious.

At Repticon, there were pythons called creamsicle, butter, butter cinnamon and Honduran milk.

For Christmas, there were clear plastic balls that can be filled with a small snake and hung on the tree with the rest of the ornaments. The practical joker in the family might go for a large fake tarantula inside a plastic cookie box, wrap it up and put it under the tree and then turn on the video camera to record all the screaming from mothers and sisters on Christmas morning.

Instant hit on YouTube.

“My kids would do that to me. They really, truly would,” said Katrina Stanton, of Asheville, N.C., who was selling the realistic fake spiders.

Fake spiders, frozen rats, creamsicle snakes — this is all within the realm of boys being boys. But some females like snakes, too. And when that happens, snakes multiply.

Rhonda Garofano, engaged to Doug Jorgensen, overcame her fear of snakes after Jorgensen bought two ball pythons for his kids, who named them Sunflower and Speedy. Jorgensen now has 26 pythons. The snakes live inside a heated, air-conditioned shed in the backyard of his Hernando Countyhome.

Jorgensen plans to start breeding his snakes next year, maybe inventing a new-style ball python nobody has named after a confection. This is a new venture that will allow him to join the other 200 vendors at next year’s Repticon.

Jorgensen has also started raising his own rats, which he feeds live to his snakes.

“It’s a new venture. Newer than the snakes,” Garofano said.

Jorgensen said he always monitors the feeding of his rats to his snakes because rats that aren’t frozen sometimes fight back.

“I watch them closely to see that the rats are not biting them,” he said. “Don’t bite my snakes.”

jkunerth@tribune.com or 407-420-5392

Tell us about your Sunday

It’s the day of worship, the day of rest, the day of chores, the day of recreation. Sunday is that special day of the week when there is time for family, time for self, time for service to others. On Any Given Sunday is a regular feature that looks for the people of Central Florida at leisure and at work, in church pews and in sports bars, together and alone, on one particular day of the week. Let us know what you’re up to On Any Given Sunday by contacting Jeff Kunerth at jkunerth@tribune.com or 407-420-5392.

Article source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/os-reptile-collectors-meeting-orlando-20131208,0,3950685.story?track=rss

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