They were shut out almost a year ago when a tent didn't show, but Carl J. Hutter is promising to bring hundreds of captive breed turtles, snakes, lizards and amphibians to Cal State Northridge today and Sunday.
"Give it a try, you might like it," Hutter says to people who are squeamish about reptiles.
Hutter is the organizer of the Greater Los Angeles County Herpetological Expo Galapagos Island Benefit this weekend at CSUN. The event is a fund-raiser for the Charles Darwin Foundation, a group that works to protect the Galapagos Islands and the enormous turtles there.
The benefit had originally been scheduled for last October in a campus parking lot.
However, the night before the event, Hutter learned that the company hired to put up a large tent to protect the animals from the heat and sun had backed out of the agreement. The animals could not stand 12 hours unprotected, so Hutter canceled the show.
The last-minute cancellation may make a few reptile enthusiasts shy about showing up this weekend, but Hutter has made sure that the problem does not recur--this time the show will be indoors, at the Student Union.
About 30 vendors and exhibitors will participate, and animals will be for sale.
Hutter has been fascinated with reptiles since he was a boy. "It's an addicting hobby," he said. "Once you get into it, the more you want out of it."
To him, reptiles have personalities like more conventional house pets.
"They come to you. They know you. The tortoise will come to you. A chameleon will come to you. Snakes, probably not so much, but people have had a snake for 20 years and it knows who the owner is."
The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7.50 general, $3 for children. A two-day pass costs $10.