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The Long Island Reptile Expo features snakes, lizards and more


On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Newsday photographer J. Conrad Williams Jr. conducted a photo shoot of Vin Russo and his boa constrictor in our Melville studio. His photos will be part of a feature story about the LI Reptile Expo in Newsday's ExploreLI section on Friday, March 11. (Credit: Johnny Milano)

If you are searching for a pet that’s neither feline nor canine, perhaps you might consider something . . . reptilian. On Sunday, the Long Island Reptile Expo, held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, will showcase more than 50 vendors selling everything from blue-tongued skinks to boa constrictors.

Here are four Long Island vendors and the creatures they will feature:


This Huntington breeder specializes in poison dart frogs — but don’t panic, these amphibians aren’t actually dangerous.

“Their name is ominous, but they are not poisonous in captivity,” says owner Lynn Rech. “They are only poisonous in their natural habitat because their skin contains poison from the insects that they eat in the wild.”

These frogs, which run three-eighths of an inch to 2 1⁄2 inches, eat fruit flies and live in 68- to 80-degree vivariums with plants and a soil base. They require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness as well as regular misting.


COST $30-$450


The West Islip store is bringing a variety of reptiles, including the popular blue-tongued skink — a desert lizard that lives in Australia and Indonesia. It can grow to 24 inches and is fed raw ground turkey, boiled chicken and sweet fruits.

“They are very docile,” says manager Ryan Romaine. “You can take them out and they will sit on you for hours. They can bite, but it’s very rare.”

Skinks reside in a slightly humid 3-foot enclosure set at 80 degrees with a 90-degree basking spot. Misting is needed once a week.

LIFE EXPECTANCY Up to 20 years

COST $160-$190


Vin Russo of Ronkonkoma has been breeding boa constrictors for 30 years and has written two books on the subject. He sells seven species of boas, which are 4 to 5 feet long.

“Boas are small, manageable and calm. They make some of the best pets in terms of reptiles,” says Russo. “They don’t mind being handled. People sit and watch TV with them or walk around.”

These snakes, which come from Central and South America, are fed frozen mice and rats every week or two, plus water, and reside in a tight, 75- to 85-degree enclosure with a 90- to 95-degree basking spot and a base of aspen wood chips, cypress mulch or newspaper.

As far as their danger level, Russo says, “No one has ever been seriously injured or killed by a boa in history. Far more people get killed or hurt by dogs.”

LIFE EXPECTANCY Up to 25 years

COST $50-$10,000


In addition to selling its own line of reptile and aquarium products, this Centereach reptile emporium offers a wide array of animals, including crested geckos.

Hailing from New Caledonia, crested geckos like a tropical, humid environment (about 70 degrees) and enjoy climbing, therefore a taller, narrow terrarium is best for this nocturnal creature, which grows to 8 inches long.

“They are pretty friendly and can be handled,” says manager Dylan Smith. “There are not dangerous but capable of biting. However, they have no significant jaw strength and won’t break your skin.”

Crested geckos are easy to maintain and feed on fruit paste and water.


COST $25-$100

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