University of Montana COVID-19 Oral History Project

Kasha Kinyon Interview, June 24, 2020


Kasha Kinyon


John Stefanek



Download Audio Interview (41.3 MB)

Download Transcript of Kasha Kinyon interview (309 KB)


Kasha Kinyon, owner of MTgecko and Ball Python in Helena, Montana, briefly discusses living in Helena and her earlier experiences with geckos that inspired her to start an exotic pet business, as well as breed and sell a variety of exotic pets including geckos, ball pythons, and dart frogs. Kinyon describes the attraction of owning an exotic pet and discusses how social media and the Internet are primarily responsible for the expansion of the international pet trade and increased connections between exotic owners and breeders. She describes working full-time as a mother and pharmacy technician in addition to her role as a part-time business owner. She says that other than staying at home to take are of her son, the COVID-19 pandemic has not drastically affected her daily life or careers. She discusses her appreciation for the Helena community’s support of local businesses, and she also talks about the biases against exotic pets and their owners, including the controversy around exotic pet law and ownership.


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Document Type

Oral History


COVID-19 pandemic; Global pandemic; Public history; Western Montana; Coronavirus pandemic; Public health and safety; Missoula County; Montana public health; Social distancing; Masks; Exotic animal sales; Exotic animal care; Animal education; Pet owner education; Exotic pets; Helena, Montana; Exotic pet law; Phased reopening; Small businesses, Montana; Social networking; Tiger King

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

University of Montana COVID-19 Oral History Project, OH 475, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 475-006

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 MP3 (00:45:05 min.): digital + 1 transcript (14 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:45:05 minutes

Local Filename

OH_475_006.mp3; OH_475_006.pdf

Kasha Kinyon Interview, June 24, 2020