Pittsburgh Reptile Show & Sale

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Animal Spotlight - Dwarf Crocodile

Posted by pghreptileshow on November 8, 2016 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (1)



Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Crocodilia

Family: Crocodylidae

Subspecies: West African Dwarf Crocodile, Congo Dwarf Crocodile

Other names: Broad-snouted Crocodile, Bony Crocodile, Black Crocodile

Average Length: 5 ft (1.5 m)

Average Weight: 40 to 70 lbs (18 to 32 kg)

Life Expectancy: 75 years


The dwarf crocodile is the smallest true crocodile in the world. This little crocodile’s home is the rivers fringed with rainforest, from Senegal, West Africa to the east and south of the Congo Basin and northern Angola.


They prefer the year-round moist and warm climate of the rainforests where they rule the waters. Their choice is the lower reaches of the rivers, where the water flows at a leisurely rate, and in deep, quiet pools sheltered by overhanging vegetation. Dwarf crocodiles are also sometimes found in pools in swamps and even amidst savannah vegetation.


It will also dig burrows into the riverbanks, used as hideouts during the day. Unlike their bigger relatives, they prefer not to bask in the sun out in the open during the daytime. Where rainfall is seasonal and the ponds dry up in the dry season, these crocodiles may dig deep burrows for themselves as shelter until the water returns.


Physical Description:


The dwarf crocodile is a heavily armored reptile. One of its most distinctive characteristics are the tough scales that cover their entire body. Most crocodiles do not have such armored scales on their underside. The bony scales not only protecting it from injury but also preventing the animal from getting burnt by the hot sun.


It is usually colored black with a yellowish underside that features many black patches. Juveniles have a light brown banding on the body and tail, with yellowish patterns on the head. In all individuals, the snout is short and blunt.


The crocodile has a number of adaptations that aid it when in the water. Their vertically flattened, muscular tail is used to propel their bodies when swimming. Webbing between their toes help them negotiate the slippery banks. Its eyes and nostrils are located on the top of its heads to enable the individual to both see and breathe while the rest of its body is submerged. This allows the creature to watch for prey and predators while almost completely hidden.


Dwarf crocodiles snap their strong jaws shut to catch their prey, secured by a powerful bite from their cone-shaped, razor-sharp teeth. Unlike a number of other animal species, this species can continuously regrow and replace their old teeth, which are pushed out by the new ones that develop below. However, they are unable to chew food and must rely on tearing their prey into pieces that can then be swallowed whole.




Like all crocodilians, this carnivorous species is an effective aquatic predator. But in line with its smaller size, the dwarf crocodile’s prey is also smaller. Fish, frogs, birds, and crabs make up the bulk of its diet. It will also take advantage of the dense vegetation to fee on an occasional small mammal.


Its diet will change with the seasons. During the raining season, it will eat the readily available fish when swollen rivers bring an influx of fish into their habitats. During the dry season, they feed mainly on crustaceans.


Like larger crocodiles, they can survive for long periods without food.




The dwarf crocodile is a nocturnal and generally solitary animal that chooses to hunt in the dark. During the day, they rest in burrows that are dug into the grounds of the river banks. If however, it is unable to find a suitable burrowing site, the crocodile will hide amongst submerged tree roots that hang into the water.


As a reptile, it is cold-blooded, meaning that it has to sunbathe to warm its body. When it gets too hot, it will seek shade or enter the water to cool down.


Breeding happens according to the seasons. North of the equator, breeding season occurs in May or June during the wet season. South of the equator, it would be October or November. This is the only time when individuals interact.


Following mating, females will make mounds of vegetation to built their nest, located at the water’s edge. They will lay clutches of around ten eggs, although up to twenty have been recorded. The wet, rotting vegetation will actually generate some heat to help the eggs hatch. After 100 days of incubation, the young, who are born only 11 inches (28 centimeters), will hatch. Immediately, they will begin to vocalise, which stimulates the female to help the hatchlings to escape from the nest. After retrieving the young, the mother will escort her offspring to the water, staying close by to watch over them for some time.


As a potential prey to so many predators like large fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles (even other crocodiles), only a few from each batch will make it to maturity at the age of five or six years.


Interesting Facts:


It is not clear whether the dwarf crocodiles should constitute one species or three. Recent research has indicated that there may be three genetically distinct groups.

The genus name, Osteolaemus, means ‘bony throat’, referring to its heavy armor.

The species name, tetraspis, means ‘four shields’, referring to the four prominent shield-like scales on the back of its neck.

It is smaller than the largest lizard in Africa, the water monitor, which can exceed 2m in length

A newborn dwarf crocodile hatchling is not significantly smaller than a Nile crocodile hatchling, which are usually 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. The dwarf crocodiles’ smaller adult size is due to a much slower rate of growth.

Reptile Vets In and Around Pittsburgh Pa

Posted by pghreptileshow on November 7, 2016 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (3)

Wanted to share my list of local vets that care for reptiles- If you know of any that did not make my list please share! 

Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital South

560 McNeilly Road Pittsburgh, PA 15226 Tel: (412) 344-6888 Fax: (412) 344-5459

Services: 24 hour routine,critical and emergency care for canine, feline, pocketpets, herps, exotics

VCA Northview Animal Hospital

223 Siebert Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 - Phone: 412-695-3541

Services: Veterinary Dentistry, Small Animal Vet, Bird Vet, Exotic Animal Vet, Veterinary Medical Specialties, Veterinary Surgery, Veterinary Vaccinations, Veterinary Euthanasia, Animal Flea Control, Reptile Vet, Veterinarians, Emergency Veterinary Clinic, Spaying/Neutering, 24-Hour Vet

VCA Fox Chapel Animal Hospital

1152 Freeport Road,Pittsburgh, PA 15238 Phone : 412-449-9567

Services: Animal Flea Control, Veterinary Dentistry, Small Animal Vet, Animal Microchipping, Exotic Animal Vet, Veterinary Vaccinations, Spaying/Neutering, Veterinary Euthanasia, Veterinarians, Veterinary Medical Specialties, Animal Grooming, Veterinary Surgery

Gloria J. Goodman, VMD

3000 Concord Road, Aston, PA Phone (610) 494-2811

Services: Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center

Wright Veterinary Medical Center

3247 Wimmer Road Bethlehem, PA 18020 Tel: (610) 865-2611

Services: Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center

Wintergreen Animal Hospital

8439 Wattsburg Road Erie, PA 16509 Tel: (814)825-6735


All Pet Animal Hospital

5007 William Flynn Highway Gibsonia, PA 15044 Tel: (724) 444-6600


Animal Medical Hospital

1909 North Atherton Street State College, PA 16803 Tel: (814) 234-0201

Are There Visible Symptoms of Salmonella in Snakes??

Posted by pghreptileshow on August 4, 2016 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (1)

So I got a Phone call this AM from a snake owner trying to trouble shoot a sick snake that they have owned for over 15 years now... Here was one of two things i thought of and then started looking it up and here's some neat infomation i thought i would share. 


Artical By Elise Xavier

Although a good number of reptiles, and pets in general, are infected with salmonella, it’s actually quite near impossible to tell if your reptile has salmonella, as the visible symptoms are minuscule if they are at all noticeable. There are over 2200 strains of salmonella, and most animals, including cats, dogs, and other mammals, as well as reptiles and amphibians, are able to be infected by many of them. That being said, in many cases, a strain of salmonella will not cause any symptoms to the host, but if passed on to another species, will make the new host quite ill. Thus, there are strands of salmonella that will do nothing to your snake, even if it is infected, yet if passed on to you, may cause you to become severely ill. This is why it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after you’ve handled your pet, even if you don’t suspect he or she has salmonella.

When an animal does manifest the symptoms of salmonella, which, as has been stated, does not happen all the time even if the animal is infected, symptoms may include weight loss, dehydration, diarrhea, and sometimes lethargy. Yet weight loss, dehydration, diarrhea and lethargy in snakes can all be caused by other things. Most of these symptoms, for example, are frequently caused by improper husbandry conditions in the snake’s enclosure, such as temperatures or humidity being too high or low. So you should never jump to the conclusion that your pet has salmonella just because you see one of the above symptoms. You should, however, be concerned about your pet if it has had a severe case of diarrhea, or shows any of the symptoms listed in extremes. Whether or not your snake has salmonella should be left for a vet to decide, but regardless of whether or not your pet has an infection, severe symptoms should not be taken lightly. Therefore, if your pet has them, you should arrange to see a vet immediately.

In order to test for salmonella, vets will take environmental swabs, samples of animal feces which contain bacterial culture, or even rectal swabs, and use these samples to test for any infection. That being said, even these tests sometimes give false negatives, as, although the bacteria does show up in feces, it does not show up in all instances. This means that even if your pet has salmonella and samples are tested by a vet, different samples will need to be collected and analyzed at different times to be certain that the negative result is not a false negative, and to be certain that the pet does not have salmonella. This results in it being very hard to test for salmonella, let alone to diagnose it by mere sight.

Craft time with the Kids with a reptile twist of course!

Posted by pghreptileshow on July 6, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Its summer time - at my house that means my kids are constantly board.... here is something i did with my kids last year that they enjoyed.

Colorful Chameleons



Have kids paint with water color one plate... Step one. 




I didn't think it was a big deal if I just eyeballed the center of the plate, but if you are a perfectionist you might want to measure. If the fastener isn't in the exact center of the plate, when you spin the plates you will get this:

Also when the kids need out of the house you should go to the Pgh Reptile Show!  Next Show July 10th !

All Pet Expo this Sat, Sunday in Monroeville

Posted by pghreptileshow on June 21, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (2)

We will be setting up a booth at the Steel City Pet Expo This Weekend June 25th and 26th, we will not be selling animals at this event but will have a few Adoptable animals and a large petting  Learning area during the whole event. 

If your going out to the Event Make sure to stop by and say hi. Grab a flyer ect.

Also Trisha from the Erie Reptile Expo will be sharing the space with us if your looking for a 2nd event in the area to go to check it out

http://www.eriereptileexpo.com/   Their next event is July 16th 2016 in Erie PA

Our next show is July 10th 2016 at the Harmar house See you there!


Crickets! WHY!?!?

Posted by pghreptileshow on June 2, 2016 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (2)


We all love our reptiles, but most of us loathe their lunch. Many reptiles that we commonly keep as pets are insectivores, and the most commonly available feeder insect is the cricket.


I often get calls from Reptile show customers asking one of two things-


“What can I do to keep these darn things alive?” and “how do I keep them from escaping?”


Even though we tend to simply think of them as food for our pets, crickets are living animals themselves and these points need to be kept in mind.


They need to eat: Crickets will eat almost anything. I feed a special mixture of oatmeal, fish food, turtle food & dog food crumbs.



They need to drink: Crickets aren’t the smartest creatures, and if you put a dish of water in their enclosure they might drown. I use a sponge in a bowl and make sure it stays moist.



You need to clean out their enclosure: Even if you are just keeping them in an old plastic takeout container that you don’t really care about, waste products and dead crickets must be removed on a daily basis. When debris begins to break down it creates ammonia gas. After enough ammonia accumulates, the remaining crickets can quickly suffocate and die off.



You don’t have to have crickets jumping all over your house:Crickets are naturally tunnel/cave dwelling creatures, therefore they are attracted to darkness. You can use this to your advantage to keep them in their container, and off of your floors. Cricket Keepers are a great thing to have. They have slots on their sides where dark plastic tubes are inserted. Being attracted to the darkness, the crickets hide inside of the easily removable tubes. All you have to do is slide out the tube, shake some crickets into your pet’s enclosure, then pop the tube back into the cricket pen. I have seen these Keepers at All our shows with Dell and Azo Our two wholesale dry goods vendors! If you don't have one i suggest it!

We hope to see every one at the Next Pittsburgh Reptile Show www.pghreptileshow.com 724-516-0441

The Best First Snake?

Posted by pghreptileshow on June 2, 2016 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (1)

So you want a pet snake?


Most first time snake shoppers will simply pick out the one that appeals to them the most, aesthetically. Looks are certainly important, but there are other factors that should not be overlooked when deciding which one may be the best for you!


Here are a few things you should think about before your first purchase!


Im going to point out some of the most commonly available snakes in the pet trade. Please remember these are My OPINIONS they are the result of personal experience only, and though debatable, should be considered as “approximately” correct. Please don’t take it personally if I’ve rated your favorite snake toward the bottom of any certain category, as ALL of the snakes we look at today can make excellent pets for the right person.



The Red Tail Boa is certainly one of the most common snakes in the pet trade, but they are also one of the most commonly gotten rid of. They are attractive enough, and make a fun show-piece, but ultimately get much larger (in excess of 10 feet) than most people are comfortable with long-term. Add to this, that they are a tropical species requiring high humidity and temperatures that are difficult to duplicate in captivity, and it’s easy to make the case that these snakes are better left to those that have at least moderate reptile experience. They certainly can still make a great first snake, however, for those resolved to give it proper care and attention.



As pretty as they are, these snakes can still be a challenge to a novice snake keeper. As mountain dwellers, they prefer cooler temperatures than many of their close relatives. Babies can be very difficult to get eating, and even adults may occasionally become problem feeders. That said, they still tolerate some handling and are a good size to work with. So long as you are confident in be able to meet its needs, a Mountain King snake can be a very rewarding pet.



Milk snakes come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They can make great pets, but it should be noted that they are commonly more shy than King snakes, and especially as babies, will typically be more prone to musk or bite when being held.



These snakes are among my personal favorite! They are relatively small, but have as much or more personality than any other snake I have ever seen. Though they are rarely defensive, they are masters at bluffing, and will sometimes hiss loudly, hood up almost cobra like, and even play dead if threatened. These behaviors are rather uncommon in captive conditions, but if it happens, don’t let them fool you!



Bulls and Gopher snakes are some of the hardiest snakes on the market, and they rarely have feeding issues. Some varieties, can however get a little on the large side, may exhibit some aggressive behavior, and will eat much more than most pet snakes.



Ball Pythons make some of the best pet snakes out there! They come in as many different patterns as you can imagine. Normal Ball Pythons can be found for around $50, but it is not uncommon to find rarer color schemes upwards of $10,000 and higher! They stay relatively small for a Python (5 feet), are durable and calm for handling by even the inexperienced person, and are fairly hardy and easy to breed.



There are multiple subspecies of common kingsnakes (California, Mexican Black, Desert, Speckled, Brooks etc. etc.) and many different morphs of each. Common Kings attain a manageable size, are hardy, and eat well. They are extremely common in the pet trade as well, and most of those available are captive bred. All things considered, this is one of the best starter snakes on the market.



Garter Snakes are one of the most common snakes in the U.S. and are often kept as pets. Though they are typically inexpensive ad hardy, Garters can have the tendency to musk more often than most pet snakes. They also tend to do better on a diet of fish, which may make feeding a bit more problematic.


Cheap, hardy, common, readily available as captive bred, good eaters and pretty to boot. A well started (already eating readily) Corn snake is hard to beat for the novice snake keeper. These snakes come in more colors than anything else on the market and can make for exciting breeding projects as well!




Welcome to the exciting world of snake ownership! Keeping snakes as pets requires an additional amount of care and consideration. If you bring a snake home, be prepared to be confronted by family members and friends that do not care as much for snakes as you do. It is important to show understanding to their preferences and try to educate them. It is NEVER a good idea to tease, chase, or surprise anyone with your pet snake. Snakes are not meant to be prank material, and treating them as such, is a good way to end up with an injured or dead pet, and costly therapy bills for the one exposed to the traumatic event. Please exercise common sense and responsibility when introducing others to your pet.


Keeping pet snakes, can be a very rewarding hobby, and an extremely educational experience. I learned many fascinating things while keeping snakes, that I never learned from reading the countless books I had my nose in as a kid. Snakes are one of the easiest pets to keep, yet can still be as stimulating as a bird, cat or fish.


If you are fellow snake keeper, we would love to hear what your first pet snake was, and what you would have done differently, given the chance. If you are thinking about buying your first pet snake, please share the experience with us!


Hope to see you at the Next Pittsburgh Reptile show www.PghReptileShow.com

What o Expect When Going To A Reptile Show

Posted by pghreptileshow on May 6, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (1)

How To Prepare For Your First Reptile Show


Reptile shows are a great way to get to know local reptile enthusiasts in your community, as well as the perfect time to pick up that new python you’ve been dreaming about. Whether it is your 1st reptile show or your 30th, the following tips are sure to come in handy.


Leave your own pets at home  At the Reptile show there will be 1000's of animals, unless you are needing your pet Sexed or for other reasons you need to have you pet looked at its is Smart to leave your pets at home.  It is important to remember that any given animal can be carrying parasites as well as any other number of contagious diseases. For this reason, your best bet would be to leave your pets at home in order to avoid the situation of introducing your healthy pet to an unhealthy one.


Bring cash While more vendors are beginning to take credit and debit as a form of payment, there are still a large majority of vendors that rely on cash only. There is a ATM about 1 block down the road at the Sheetz but having some cash on hand is always reccomended , If you are planning on making a purchase at the show.


Do not ask a vendor to set aside an animal unless you are certain you will purchase it. Most vendors at a reptile show are there in order to sell their animals as well as educate people on how to properly care for their pets. For this reason it is important to remember that you should only request that an animal be set aside for purchase if you are 100% certain that you plan on purchasing that animal. In the end this saves everyone time and allows everyone a fair shot at all of the reptiles.


Research purchases before you buy, this is your responsibility. While there are plenty of vendors out there that are willing to share as much information as possible with potential new reptile owners, it is still the responsibility of the buyer to know whether or not a snake will grow to 18 inches or 18 feet. Also be aware of the environment that you will need to provide for your future pet prior to bringing it home.


Be aware of all state and local reptile laws prior to purchasing and bringing one home This rule holds up especially well if you are attending an out-of-state expo. Vendors may not necessarily know the laws of your home town or even your home state, but it is important to remember that it isn’t their responsibility to know whether you are making an illegal purchase or not. For example, venomous snakes are not allowed to be owned in the state of Maryland, but they are permitted in Pennsylvania and are often sold at reptile shows there. Make sure you know these laws prior to making your purchase.


Expect that animals will be caged in temporary housing. Some of these containers will be quite small as they permit for safer transportation; this is not a reflection on how the breeder may keep their livestock when they are at home.


Thoroughly examine all potential purchases  Breeders pride themselves on the health of the reptiles that they are showing at an expo. Unfortunately sometime some animals get past and need special care or have gotten sick. Be sure that prior to making your purchase you do a thorough review of the animal to check for mites or other diseases that are specific to your potential pet. Also be sure to quarantine any animal that is purchased when you bring it home. Let it live in quarantine several weeks before allowing them to acclimate with the rest of your reptile population. GET CONTACT INFO FOR THE SELLER


Make sure your children are under control and know proper sanitation measures. Children often love reptile shows and it can be a lot of fun for vendors to share their knowledge of animals with these children in order to educate them on the benefits of owning such a pet. However, we also all know how destructive a child can be when left to its own devices. Be sure to keep an eye on your children at all times, as well, make sure that they know the importance of washing their hands before and after handling a reptile in order to prevent the spread of diseases such as salmonella.