by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Jason Letarte and Celina Letarte look like they're glad this big lizard is tucked safely behind glass in this display at the OMSI Reptile and Amphibian Show. Lovers of all things that slither and crawl were attracted to the 26th annual Reptile and Amphibian Show over the Labor Day weekend.

About 5,000 people came to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) auditorium to see the 100 exotic animals, including a large variety of captive-bred snakes, lizards, turtles, and frogs.

The display helps OMSI fulfill its mission – because “This is an exhibit of live life science,” remarked Manager of Events Andrea Middleton.

“Year around, we have a ball python and some turtles that live in our Life Science Lab. At this exhibition, we expand our presentation in this area of life sciences,” Middleton said.

Returning visitors were attracted to the exhibit’s new displays of egg shells, snake skins, rattlesnake rattles, venom glands, and other intricate reptile parts, in addition to the live creatures themselves.

“We couldn’t host this show without the help of the herpetology community,” Middleton added. “These reptile owners join with us to educate the public about these misunderstood creatures. It’s a way that we can show the public that they’re not so scary.”

In the “Reptile Petting Zoo”, where kids and adults could actually touch and handle live reptiles, faces of young and old changed from expressions of fear, to interest – and sometimes fascination.

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