Exotic pet expo returns to Cullman

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Ron Billingsley (left) and his son Dallas (right) showing off one of their remaining reptiles

CULLMAN, Ala. – Exotic animal vendors from all over the country gathered at the Cullman Civic Center Saturday morning to showcase their animals and animal accessories.

More than 30 vendors from places like Michigan, Louisiana, and Indiana, just to name a few, brought a wide assortment of creatures for people interested in less-common pets, from classic exotic pets like reptiles, birds, and rodents to tarantulas, kangaroos, and even a spider monkey; though the monkey was not actually for sale.

For those not interested in seeking out a new exotic pet, plenty of vendors sold toys, treats, and accessories for both common and exotic pets.

Vendor Ron Billingsley, with help from his son Dallas, took over organizing exotic pet showcases around Alabama after a previous organizer’s show ended.

“I was one of the guy’s vendors, and I hated to see it go under,” Billingsley said. “I do my own shows up in Indiana, so I called and asked if he (the previous organizer) would mind if I tried to get something going for Alabama and he said, ‘Knock yourself out.’ We started up about the fall of last year, and every show gets a little bit bigger and bigger.”

For those who were unable to attend the expo, Billingsley said that the pets sold were often bought by pet stores to be resold, as it’s cheaper to buy directly from the vendors than to order the animals online and pay for shipping. However, for those who also want to purchase the animals directly rather than from a store, the expo is planned to return this September.