THE thought of cuddling with a crocodile or wearing a snake like a scarf might terrify a lot of people.
But not reptile fans like Calum de Mezieres or conservationist Bob Irwin.
Both travelled to North Ipswich Reserve last Saturday to attend the fifth annual Scales and Tails Reptile Festival.
Reptile breeders and keepers from across the country showcased their scaly friends and answered any questions from fellow reptile enthusiasts.
The festival displayed of a range of native animals, including lace and water monitors, snapping turtles and a huge number of different snakes and lizards.
Calum, 12, said a highlight for him was getting the chance to pat a crocodile.
"I really like their prehistoric appearance and how they move silently through the water when they hunt their prey," he said.
"I've had the chance to see a lot of cool stuff today... I definitely hope to come back next year."
Mr Irwin, who was one of the guest speakers at the festival said the event was a chance for people, especially children, to get up close and personal with reptiles.
"Some of these animals are the most magnificent specimens I have ever seen," he said.
"If we're serious about conservation and protecting these animals we've got to make sure it's the kids who understand how important they are."
During the festival Mr Irwin was honoured with a conservation award named after him and presented for the first time by Scales and Tails Australia.
The award will be held annually and presented at the festival each year.
The festival is organised by the Ipswich-based owners of Scales and Tails Australia - a leading reptile magazine with a following in Australia and overseas.
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