“Reptilomanija+”, an educational exhibition, is a project organised by students of USVM “Equus”, as an exhibition of live reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.
“Reptilomanija+” was created in 2012 by the students as a response to a growing interest in these creatures as pets, and their wish was to bring this world of exotic animals to a broader audience. Also the main point was, and still is, to provide an education platform about caring, keeping and feeding these animals and many more interesting and specific facts about these widely popular pets. It is also an opportunity for the students of veterinary medicine to learn more about treating these creatures.
At the beginning it was very difficult to start, as the students had to challenge the stigma and stereotypes of these animals and all the administrational work required to start an exhibition. However, with a lot of hard work, and under coordination by Vanja Vrkić dr.med.vet., the very first “Reptilomanija+” was held on 7th May in 2013 and lasted only for 3 days. There were only 20 different species exhibited, with 500 visitors which as greatly celebrated as a proud moment.
With a lot of space to grow and a positive mindset the 2nd “Reptilomanija+” was launched on 7th May 2014, but this time it lasted for 4 days. It was larger than the first exhibition and a great success. With added determination the students continued with the 3rd “Reptiloamija+” in 2015. There were many organised school trips that visited and with the educated volunteers they received tremendous knowledge about reptiles. There were 30 different species, and the exhibition was followed by educational lectures concerning the well-being of reptiles, held at the Faculty of Veterinary medicine in University of Zagreb. The number of visitor jumped to an amazing 1200 people. The hard and dedicated work by the student and volunteers was recognised by the Special Rektorov prise on 18th June 2015.
In 2016, the 4th “Reptilomanija+” had many more new elements to showcase, for example there was a special chance, for those brave enough, to be photographed holding ether a snake or a lizard at the exhibition. Around 40 different species were exhibited, and many more school and kindergarten groups visited and received an educational tour gaining many more interesting facts.
The 5th “Reptilomanija+” was opened by the dean of Veterinary Medicine prf.dr.sc. Nenad Turk on23th May 2017, when there were 60 different species of exotic animals exhibited and the number of visitors rose to an amazing 12000. Together with the Croatian Veterinary board, lectures that followed the exhibition held a curtain point for the veterinarians who attended them.
The 6th “Reptilomanija+” broke all records with 15000 visitors and 60 different species. The most popular being the patuljasti kajman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) and koi šarani (Cyprinus carpio), who were exhibited for the first time ever at “Reptilomanija+”. The space was decorated with the help of real plants and wood to provide a real alike jungle, so that the existing student room where the exhibit was held was transformed.
And more recently, the 7th “Reptiloamanija+”, was special for many different reasons, one of them being the Veterinary medicine at University of Zagreb celebration of its 100 anniversary. The exhibition was visited by 20000 people with tremendous collaborations, such as the “Plavi projekt“, with students of University of Sarajevo joined us, and as well the farm of butterflies ”Apolon“ and the farm of insects “Insektarij”.
“Reptilomanija+” grows every year even bigger, stronger and better. The project was recognised by many TV, Radio and different media outlets. The entrance to the exhibition was always free for everyone, who were interested in learning about this interesting word of reptiles. Thanks to our dedicated students, volunteers, every year we have new ideas.
Thanks to the amazing support by the dean, and the staff of the Veterinary faculty of University of Zagreb, the students manage with all of their assignments to find free time and love to work on this amazing project together. We must also thank our breeders who work with us from the start, or those who join in on the way, who are willing to provide the animals to exhibit, and our sponsors who recognise the hard work achieved.
But, finally the most important thanks goes to the students and volunteers who started it all, with their dedication and hard work that has made the brand “ Reptilomanija+”.