A report by the late Jürgen Kromer, former webmaster of www.boa-constrictor.de

After my visit to the Terraristika-Show in Hamm, I don’t want to withhold my opinion about this show. The conditions there were scandalous!

I don’t wish to ramble on in never ending monologues, but - for the sake of the animals - I cannot and will not keep my experience there to myself. Animals should not be treated that way. The least of all negative aspects were the fact that out of all the redtail boas (Boa constrictor constrictor) that were offered as pure-bred specimens, none of them really was. But such mistakes can be the result of a lack of knowledge. Much more alarming did I find the fact that two out of three Boa constrictor occidentalis that I saw there were obviously suffering from infectious mouth rot. And when the seller answers my inquiries with “All my animals here are healthy!“, then the competence of the dealer must be doubted. God’s creatures certainly do not belong in the hands of such people. A good friend of mine, who acquired a large amount of colubrids at this show, has thus far experienced a mortality rate of 25% in those animals. That pretty much speaks for itself.

According to the terms of the show, the enclosures must be adequate and have the view blocked from three sides. "Whatever that may mean for the dealers there?"

It certainly cannot mean that the lizards, snakes and amphibians are stuffed into tiny "potato-salad-cups". I took a few of those containers home for examination. They have a basic ground space of 9cm (3.5in) x 9cm (3.5in), with 6cm (2.4in) in height. No animal can be adequately presented in such a container. None whatsoever. I even witnessed two young monitor lizards that were offered in these "salad-cups". They literally had to be rolled up in order to fit into these containers. Both monitor lizards were in a typical state of shock, and were lying on their backsides. It is shocking, but these specimens in particular were continuously grabbed by the masses, and thoroughly shaken while the dealer smiled friendly. And this was not by any means done in a gentle manner. Again, I took the liberty to ask why this was done that way. "I just wanted to see if they were still alive!", was the answer I received. 

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And those who think that these "potato-salad-cups" were not stacked are also mistaken. At some of the tables of the oh-so-animal-loving reptile dealers, the cups were stacked four and even five cups high. Every rational person can instantly realize what kind of conditions this leads to. (Not the dealers there!) Due to the enormous crowds there, one literally had to get in line at the tables. Of course, everybody wants to see what kind of animals are in the bottom cups. The crowd was pushing from behind. The animals were therefore stacked from top to bottom and from left to right, which had to be done in a quick manner. They went from one hand to the next, and were always on the move. At one table, two of the four "rough green snakes" were already dead!!! What else is left to say there?

The "adequately" presented animals that actually had the view blocked on three sides of the container had an especially tough time. Since almost every interested shopper wanted to see the animals from all sides, the shaking was especially cruel in these cases.

I find such behaviour with insects to be just as objectionable, even though the size of the containers may still be sufficient for them.

I could continue for many more pages, and anyone who has seen it in person will have to agree with me. There were many more grievances. This was my first time at the Terraristika in Hamm, and I was horrified to hear that the conditions there had significantly improved compared to the way they were before!

Nevertheless, to save the honour of the "respectable breeders and dealers" that were present there, I wish to add the following at this point: They did exist! Unfortunately, they were definitely the minority.

"Hamm - Germany’s Capital of Environmental Protection" (or something similar to that) was stated until recently on the website of the City of Hamm. Since then, web designers have removed this statement, which we find to be a wise choice, considering that the “Terraristika” continues to be hosted by the city four times (!) a year.

To organize and authorize such an event even in December renders every reasonable and animal-loving human being speechless!

Please be aware that by attending this show you contribute to its continuance and even boost it!