When David Doherty was a kid in Clear Lake, he spent a lot of time exploring the woods and creeks, looking for turtles and snakes. And when he wasn't in the woods, he was at the library, reading about reptiles.
"My mom was actually somewhat supportive, " he says. She didn't even mind the critters he would inevitably bring home, because she was wise enough to know that a boy who is looking for turtles isn't looking for trouble.
Now Doherty is a veterinarian in The Woodlands, and though most of his practice is cats and dogs, he treats reptiles as well.
They're still part of his life, and not just because his 15-year-old son has some snakes and a leopard gecko. Doherty is one of the founding members of the East Texas Herpetological Society, which is having its 22nd annual conference Sept. 29 and 30 at the Brookhollow Crowne Plaza hotel on U.S. 290.
The second day is straight-up cool: the Breeder Expo/Sale and Educational Exhibit. You can go home with a snake! Or at least a snake brooch. (Did you know that Houston has a city ordinance prohibiting the sale of snakes that will grow bigger than 8 feet? Neither did I.) No animal on sale will be wild-caught or venomous, so phew on that.
There's a charge for the Breeder Expo, but the educational exhibit is free. "You can come and identify that snake that lives out by the pool, " Doherty says. How did he know I have a snake that lives out by the pool?
The society has about 160 members, from rank amateurs to advanced herpetologists, from kids to oldsters. The conference draws about 1, 500 visitors (details at www.eths.org).
Why have a reptile or amphibian as a pet? "It's kind of like keeping fish, " Doherty says. They're beautiful and interesting, and if you breed them, there's even a commercial market.
"They don't love you back, " he says, "but tortoises will recognize their owners. They're just looking for food, but we like to think they like us."
Reptile expo and site......
If you register (free) you can check out the classifieds..... they have a feeder section! You can get mice for SUPER cheap. Don't bother with the expensive website ones that charge way too much for shipping!
Also, every month or two there's a reptile expo in Mississauga. It's worth the drive, mice are sold for great prices! You can stock up for a few months and only have to buy food twice a year!
Mice are usually only .30 to .75 each (pinkies to larges), even less if you buy a lot.
Hope this helps!