TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Hundreds of people of all ages flocked to the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds Sunday as they hosted the first exotic pet expo of the year.

Show promoter Rob Billingsley said they had all kinds of animals on hand– from snakes, to parrots, to hedgehogs, for people to interact with. He said interest in the animals has been on the rise in the past few years.

“With these exotic animals, people just are intrigued,” he said. “When a customer comes and buys one, and their family and friends see it, they get interested and they bring them to the next show, and usually the friend will buy something, and that’s just how it grows.”

The increase is evident in the size of the shows– Billingsley said during the first one about four years ago, they had 10 vendors and 50 customers. On Sunday, they had over 35 vendors, and there were dozens of people on hand within the first 30 minutes.

Billingsley said he believed a few other factors in the rapid rise in popularity– people who have allergies to common pets like cats and dogs, as well as the ability to avoid “pet fees” at apartments and condominiums with a caged animal.

Still, Billingsley urged anyone interested to make sure they have the resources to provide for the animals.

“We really stress education,” he said. “We want these animals to go in the right hands but we want them also to be treated how they need to be treated and set up the right way. So most of all the vendors are very happy to give out that type of information, either through care sheets or information on how to contact them through Facebook.”

Billingsley said the shows will occur on a bimonthly basis– so the next will be the first Sunday of April.