The media likes to focus on spiders, snakes, lizards and many other reptiles and amphibians – but they are still popular pets and even children regard them with interest and fascination. They are a good alternative to our usual furry friends - especially for allergy sufferers. That’s why JBL has been supporting the Terrarienkreis Kiel for many years at the annual reptile exhibition in the Tierpark Gettorf in North Germany. Many thousands of visitors came to this exhibition and the entire team was on-site for 11 days without losing their good humour or sense of fun once. That way the visitors overcame their fears, the hobbyists swapped stories about keeping the various species and whole school classes were brought in contact with these exotic pets. From the youngsters to the adults - everyone had shining eyes after their visit at the exhibition. That’s why we fully support the club and the exhibition and would like to take you on a small expedition through the 11 exhibition days. This is where members give the animals names and talk about their emotional impressions of an event, which was really organised with love.
Day 1 – terrariums on view as far as the eye can see
Easter, the Terrarienkreis Kiel and the Tierpark Gettorf, for years these are things which have belonged together. The exhibition of the private animals of the Terrarienkreis Kiel von 1998 e.V. usually starts on Good Friday. Except it doesn’t, at least not for us, the members of the club, because an exhibition like this really needs some preparation. No, we’re not talking about the organizational part but about setting up the terrariums, aquariums and the “night room”. So this year too our members met up early on Thursday morning. We moved tables, covered them with cloths and placed our display cases inside the animal park.
Setting up terrariums and aquariums, cleaning them, equipping them with substrate and, of course, decorating them. At this point I would like to thank our sponsor JBL, who has generously supported us once again this year. The display terrariums are by no means what they are used to at home. But even for this short time we need to make the animals as comfortable as can be expected.
Did we make it? Yes, we did. Thanks to the voluntary help of our members everything was ready on time again this year. As well as the old terrariums we had purchased some new ones this year. They were immediately made ready for the exhibition. New lamp sockets were installed, they were completely rewired, in short, everything that was needed to make the terrariums usable for the exhibition.
Day 2 - Entrance of the Gladiators- Welcome Animals
Traditionally our exhibition starts on the Friday before Easter, Good Friday. Was happens then? We welcome our animals. Perhaps this sounds a bit over the top, but it does have something about the entrance of the gladiators about it. Before everything starts, the individual values (temperature and humidity) are monitored. Only then can we be sure that the conditions are alright so that the animals will feel comfortable right from the start. And only then are the terrariums ready for what is to come. The terrariums are occupied and the decoration and lighting are tweaked.
Our committee faced the press (Kieler Nachrichten, Regionalteil Eckernförde), but apart from that the day was on the quiet side. Our animals slowly became accustomed to their temporary home. The only exceptions were, amongst others, the tarantulas. Laura (Brachypelma auratum), our experienced lady tarantulas was a bit shy at first. This must have been stage fright. Whereas our exhibition newcomer Diana (Brachypelma smithi) raced around fearlessly all day long. From now on she will have the nickname “The Racespider”. According to rumours her markings are racing stripes to make her even quicker. The owners, club members of course, have confirmed that this behaviour is completely normal for her.
Anyone who visits and wants to learn more about this hobby, are cordially invited to get in touch with us. We are pleased about every interested new member.
The first day ended without incident. We are now looking forward to the coming days, lots of interested visitors, questions which we are happy to answer, and of course first, second and repeated encounters between our visitors and our animals.
Day 3 - Questions, Questions
A long weekend stands before us and the sun is shining brightly. Can it get any better? Not really. But there was something... We met about 1000 visitors in the animal park and we had lots of curious questions to answer. We often experienced astonished faces when the questioners realised that these amazing animals lived in the club members’ homes. The size of the terrariums aroused great interest. It was often an enormous relief for the visitors when they discovered that the exhibition terrariums were only display temporary housings for our animals, and that they lived in much bigger terrariums at home. After our animals had “found their comfort zone” we planned to present our favourites to the animal park guests.
Like last year, the visitors paid our feeder animals a lot of attention. Of course we only used animals commonly eaten by lizards, spiders or other insect eaters at the exhibition. Grasshoppers, zophobas (lavae of the darkling beetle) and cockroaches were on the menu. Of course there are far more insect species which are suitable for feeder animals. But our animals are our main focus and not their food.
What happened next? You can find out in a few days in part 2 of Highlights of the Reptile Exhibition 2016 at Tierpark Gettorf - Part 2 . There now follows a gallery of emotional impressions of the first three days.