LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Reptile Show hosts events once a month in Brook Park. There's one coming up May 22.
Hundreds of people come out to see, trade and buy giant snakes, lizards and other reptiles. And it was those crowds that motivated one Lakewood man to start a new business. Mike Easter. He's no stranger to the field either. You might have seen him on a few Animal Planet reality shows.
Scales and Tails of Ohio opened a few weeks ago. It's on Detroit Road in Lakewood, just down the street from St. Edward High School. But the goal of the business, Easter says, isn't just to sell reptiles. It's also to educate people about them.
"This is my passion, I've got to make it work somehow," says Easter.
Mike Easter spent the last several years in Miami and Costa Rica researching alligators and crocodiles. You might have seen him on Gator Boys or Monster Croc Invasion on Animal Planet. Now, you'll see him in Lakewood.
"There's really no reptile specialty places that people can go and experience exotic reptiles from around the world," says Easter.
Scales and Tails of Ohio has reptiles for sale. Some of them. Not the ones that require special state permits like the alligator snapping turtle or the nine-foot python.
"This is a bad pet. This is a small one, this will get double in size," Easter says while holding the giant snake.
Easter wants kids and adults to have a better understanding about these commonly-feared creatures.
"When I have the opportunity to interact with someone and say, snakes are not that bad. Here, touch this one, hold this one, bring out a lizard. All of a sudden they realize, they aren't that bad."
Easter does VIP events at the store. They're private after-hours tours so you can see all the animals up close.
"They don't have to love them after that, but just more of an understanding, and appreciation that they're not out to get you. If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone."
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