Repticon Reptile and Exotic Animal Conventions happen all over the U.S., and the organization called Savannah home in the early 2000s. Now, Repticon is returning to Savannah for 2014, and event coordinator Skip Peel gives us the dirt behind the show.

Why did you decide to bring it back to Savannah in 2014?

Peel: Repticon has grown and become established to a degree that we are continually looking for new markets in addition to our more established shows. Savannah was a logical choice to return to with a great population of pet lovers, eager to have an exotic animal event return to their area.

Why are you excited to return to Savannah?

Peel: Savannah is a lovely historic city containing a great community, both of seasoned reptile enthusiasts, but also those families who are interested in the animals, or perhaps looking for a new pet.

So much of our events, Savannah included, involves educating the public about these creatures, both in terms of responsible pet ownership and a scientific understanding of their natural history and ecology.

How did the original show come about?

Peel: Repticon's niche is reptile and exotic animal shows, which over the last 15 years has become an increasingly popular subset of the pet industry in the United States. As Repticon expanded outside of Florida, an event in Savannah became a logical choice.

How has it changed/evolved over the years?

Peel: Some of the best developments as the shows grow larger have been in terms of more knowledgeable vendors and breeders ...

Also, as the science of the hobby has developed in terms of good information and equipment, there are bigger and better methods and supplies for caring for these beautiful and unique species.

An exotic animal owner has easier access to much greater knowledge and understanding in how to care for these animals than they did 20 or more years ago.

Who's your target audience?

Peel: While everyone is welcome at a Repticon show and all types attend, our main target audiences are two-fold.

First are the longtime hobbyists, known as herpers (after the scientific term herpetology), who are extremely passionate about reptiles and amphibians, and likely have owned them for years.

Our other main target audience is families, who may come to the show as a family outing only to view the animals or encounter them in our hourly live animal events. Still, many families find that certain species of reptiles, mostly those mainstream in the hobby, do make great pets, such as ball pythons, corn snakes, leopard geckos and bearded dragons, and are much easier to care for than a cat or dog.

What's new for 2014?

Peel: The event has just moved to a brand new venue for Repticon Savannah, The Georgia Army National Guard Armory.

We look forward to holding the event at this venue and expect great things from our presence there.

Your website mentions prizes. Can you give us a few hints?

Peel: Exoterra, a reptile product company, sponsors a raffle give-away. Everyone who purchases an entry will receive a raffle form with a chance to win prizes from Exoterra, which are given away hourly throughout the day. Prizes include cages and various habitat supplies and decor for your animal's living environments.

What do you attribute to the success and longevity of Repticon?

Peel: Repticon strives to make its events exciting, entertaining and educational, all in a family-friendly environment. Yet at the core of the shows are the animals themselves, which represent an amazing array of beautiful creatures, that once encountered, many people will come to love them. Upon meeting these animals in person, there is little trouble understanding why, as they become more readily available, reptiles and amphibians are continuing to become quite popular as pets.

What can people expect?

Peel: Expect to see thousands of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and even small mammals. Encounter these and learn all about them both from breeders and in the hourly live animal seminars. Mingle with fellow enthusiasts in a fun and family-friendly environment enriched by exotic animals.