Skinks, snakes and scorpions: Check out the coolest critters we encountered at the Reptile Nation Expo

Pics from a cold-blooded convention this past weekend at the Cow Palace.

All images by Amar Dillon

A pair of pythons stay cozy and close. (Photo by Amar Dillon)

If it slithers, stings or has a scaly tail, it was probably on display this weekend at the Reptile Nation Expo, a two-day convention for all things cold-blooded.

One lucky expo-goer gets to hold the resident chameleon. (Photo by Amar Dillon)

Animal enthusiasts and critter lovers of all kinds packed into the South Hall of the Cow Palace in Daly City to gawk, shop and occasionally touch some of the many animals on display.

In the market for an exotic amphibian? This was certainly the place to be for the weekend. Vendors displayed a huge array of creatures — snakes, scorpions, skinks and more — and taught passersby how to be their best, reptile-friendly selves.

We saw snakes so powerful that their venom could kill 1,000 people with a single bite (google inland taipan…yikes), became pals with a snapping turtle named Peanut and saw a dragon with our own two eyes. Actually, now that we think about it… it could have been a skink lizard. We’ll get back to you on that. In the meantime, if you didn’t make it out to see any of the geckos, turtles or snakes (oh my!) in person — no worries: the Six Fifty had photographer Amar Dillon on hand to capture the creature convention. Take a look….

This sulcata tortoise is (only!) 25 years old, which means it’s not done growing. Sulcata tortoises can live more than 70 years; at the end of their lives, they can be as heavy as 100 pounds. (Photo by Amar Dillon)
Clockwise from top: A closer look at an albino python; expo-goers rub the loose skin of the albino python; holding up a young Mexican black king snake; and a friendly pied ball python greets its audience. (Photos by Amar Dillon)

This year’s expo included over 60 vendors specializing in everything from dragons to dart frogs to rescue tortoises. Reptilian Nation holds other expos — they’re also in Denver, Las Vegas and parts of southern California — but they’re only in the Bay once a year. Reptilian Nation estimates that there were over 1,000 reptiles on display.

A lizard deals with its newfound popularity and young fan base. (Photo by Amar Dillon)
Clockwise from top: A skink lizard does some hiding out; a roar from Peanut the snapping turtle, also known as an alligator’s worst nightmare (the two species are known enemies); a very friendly pied ball python smiles for the camera; a gecko hangs tight; a monitor lizard basks in a warming light. (Photos by Amar Dillon)

There were also some less friendly critters on display, like the numerous venomous snakes in attendance. Reptile experts present at the exposition this weekend took some time to explain how snake bites work and how to prevent being bitten by a pet snake. Sounds to us like advice worth taking.

Clockwise from top: True, wide-eyed awe inspired by the pied ball python; a lizard friend tags along on a tour of the convention; pleased to show off the latest purchase — two black scorpions. (Photos by Amar Dillon)
This colorful chameleon was a popular sight at the Reptile Expo. (Photo by Amar Dillon)

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