The colorful stars of the Mid-Atlantic Reptile show

Poison dart frogs, corn snakes and lizards are event's most popular creatures

September 16, 2010|By Peter Krause, The Baltimore Sun

Ever wonder which animals get the most love at the annual Mid-Atlantic Reptile Show?

Poison dart frogs, corn snakes and lizards are typically the most popular, according to Tom Hoen, the event's founder. These particular creatures are sought after because they're in vogue at the moment — such as the poison dart frog — or they come in a wide variety of colors, such as the corn snake or leopard gecko.

Despite the name, poison dart frogs aren't poisonous, so long as they're fed the proper diet, Hoen said.

"In the wild, they eat ants, which makes them toxic," he said. "In captivity, you feed them bugs you have mailed to your door, which do not."

Corn snakes are popular in Maryland because they are native to the region, Hoen said. The slithery creatures, which come in more than 50 species, are often referred to as "designer snakes" because they are bred to be specific colors or even albino.

The rarest designer snakes sometimes sell for more than $100,000 at reptile super-shows like the annual National Reptile Breeders Expo in Daytona Beach, Fla. Even at smaller shows, specially bred corn snakes sell so well that they are all some vendors offer, Hoen said. But let's not forget the lizards.

"Many lizards are popular too," says Hoen. "People love lizards, especially the leopard gecko and the lizard dragon."

Peter Krause

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