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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member jglass38's Avatar
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    Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    As Ball Pythons (and reptiles in general) explode in popularity, more and more people want to try their hand at breeding. Some do it because they love the animals and some believe it is going to make them rich. I figured I would take some time to point out some things from my experience that people may not think about before diving in to breeding. In the end, these are living, breathing creatures whose lives you are responsible for. Also, there is a tremendous amount of cost associated with keeping and breeding these animals. Some things to consider:

    1. Animals - One of the things that I live by when it comes to this hobby/business is, don't spend more than you can afford to lose. These are animals and your success in breeding them and making back what you have put into them is NOT guaranteed. They could die, they might not breed or you may not be able to sell offspring for what you planned to. Take this into account and be smart about your investment.

    Just like in any other business, the reptile industry has its share of scumbags. There are plenty of people out there who don't care about anything more than making a buck. They will sell you sick animals or misrepresent the animals that they are selling. Use caution, do your homework and buy your animals from reputable people. It doesn't take more than a few minutes of research to find out who the good guys are in this business. Sometimes it takes a little more time to weed out the bad guys. You'll need to make the ultimate decision about whether saving a few hundred bucks to buy from someone questionable is worth it to you.

    This is not to say that there aren't a ton of great small breeders out there who don't have a recognizable name yet. I have personally met and become friends with many of these folks and they are where the RDRs, NERDs and VPIs were one day. Quality people that have yet to become a household name. People who are committed to producing amazing animals and treating people the way they expect to be treated.

    2. Vet costs - Animals get sick, its a fact of life. If you don't have to ability to spend $200-$500 at the vet at any given time, then you shouldn't own or breed snakes.

    3. Feeding costs - Be prepared to buy a lot of feeders or breed your own. Make sure that you have a local place to buy an appropriate sized prey item and that you will be able to afford the feed bill each and every week. If you plan to breed your own rodents, make sure that you have the space, time and money that it takes to take care of them. Just because these animals are feeders doesn't mean they deserve any less respect than the animal that they will eventually be fed to.

    4. Caging and supplies
    - Make sure that you can afford to buy appropriate caging or that you have the skills/means necessary to build your own. I don't have the building skills so I have had to spend thousands of dollars in the last year on caging. Don't forget about all the necessary supplies that you will use. Disposable deli cups, cage liners, paper towels, disinfectants. This all adds up so be prepared.


    5. Time - This is an intangible but a very important one. Having the necessary time to make sure your animals are kept clean and fed and records are updated is paramount to your success as a reptile keeper and ultimately a breeder. I spend many hours per week cleaning and checking my snakes and feeders. Some weeks I don't want to deal with it but it absolutely has to be done. There is no room to say, I'll do it next week.


    Hope this helps!

    Jamie

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran SPJ's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...


    2. Vet costs - Animals get sick, its a fact of life. If you don't have to ability to spend $200-$500 at the vet at any given time, then you shouldn't own or breed snakes.


    This part is often overlooked. I spent almost $600 between vet visits and lab work recently and that was on ONE snake.
    There are many extra expenses you may not think of and when you have a bunch of babies, it can get get very costly. Don't fool yourself thinking breeding is a quick money making thing.

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  5. #3
    BPnet Veteran SPJ's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...


    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to jglass38 again.
    Man, I hate seeing that little box. LOL.

  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran TheOtherLeadingBrand's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    Such a fabulous post.

    I have learned some HARD lessons.

    We got snakes with mites. We had to treat ten animals, bug bomb our snake room, clean everything over and over... spend a small fortune on mite treatments, and take our aggressive one to a vet and pay to get her treated since she would bite us if we tried to demite her ourselves.

    We got snakes with RIs that we couldn't yet see. We stupidly put one of them in with a few others. One snake died... even after several hundred dollars in vet bills.

    I learned who to get snake froms (Thanks 8-ball, and other great breeders!!) and who NOT to get snakes from (idiots) and how to house and quarantine and care for our animals.

    Now, we're ready to get started breeding!

    Above all we love our snakes. They are pets. Every single one is loved and handled and admired for his/her quirks and unique look and personality. I want my snakes to go to loving homes- not people who will grow bored of them and give them up. Maybe it's because I come from the world of dogs, where any good breeder makes sure any new home is committed, for life- to be or find the best home possible for the dog. We have found pet homes for snakes we cannot breed, so that we can keep giving all of our snakes the love and attention we think they deserve. A snake bought as a pet/companion could live twenty years, and it deserves not to be disposed of when a new girlfriend or boyfriend fears it, or a baby arrives, or whatever other excuses there are.

    We have our first pet male- he'll be eight years old in June!

    Anyway, I think all of the points made in this thread are worth really understanding. If you can't afford them, hold off. Adopt one from a reliable herp rescuer or buy one pet from a reputable breeder, and learn from other peoples' mistakes and losses! (like mine!)

  7. #5
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    What a wonderful post.

    I don't think I can ever read that post enough and still wonder if I'm ready. So many things in that post need to be spread around on all of the forums and maybe on KS or CL too, maybe it would help a little.

    I definitely agree with the vet bills and the time part. I've been fortunate not to have had any husbandry problems with either of my balls but I've got a fund saved up just in case I should have to.

    Thank you again for sharing this post with us,
    JoAnne

  8. #6
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    The rodent issue is a big one, not everyone realizes how much work they are, and the healthier the rodents the healthier the snakes.
    I used to breed Syrian hamsters so the snakes for me are easier and I might actually at least break even with them.
    Also corn snake hatchling season is a busy time every year in the lab, its a crazy time, its rewarding to see them hatch out and the different colors especially when I was going to school and in the lab 14-20+ hours a week but its crazy. And cleaning constantly, then you go to put the box back and spill the water and have to clean it again. With any snake,even if you can handle the adults the rest of year, hatchling season will test your sanity. I love hatchling season, but then again I don't have much sanity to test in the first place. I can't wait to have my own babies.

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  10. #7
    Registered User jzoot3d's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    Quote Originally Posted by SPJ View Post



    This part is often overlooked. I spent almost $600 between vet visits and lab work recently and that was on ONE snake.
    There are many extra expenses you may not think of and when you have a bunch of babies, it can get get very costly. Don't fool yourself thinking breeding is a quick money making thing.
    Do you mind listing some of those extra expenses?

  11. #8
    BPnet Veteran anatess's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    Quote Originally Posted by jzoot3d View Post
    Do you mind listing some of those extra expenses?
    I'm not a breeder, just a pet owner and this week I spent money on:

    1.) A new heat pad when one just stopped heating up for some reason.
    2.) A new scale, same thing, the old one stopped working.

    I still have the old Reptitherm thermostats that I really need to replace with a more reliable one. Just saving up some money to afford the herpstat. It would be super bad if those break on me.

    Last year my house got hit by lightning and I had to buy new stuff for the vivariums.

    A few months ago the supply store that sold rat food moved to a different location so they couldn't order the rat food for a while (they don't stock rat food, it's all special order). I had to buy rat food from Petco for 4 times the regular amount.

    So yeah, I can see how a breeder that's doing this as a business will have to have money on hand to cover these types of expenses.
    ----------------------------------
    BP owner since Oct 2008, so yeah, I'm no expert.
    0.1.0 pastel bp
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    1.0.0 bumblebee bp
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    0.0.1 normal bp
    1.0.0 normal western hognose


    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

  12. #9
    Steel Magnolia rabernet's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    A most excellent post, Jamie!

  13. #10
    BPnet Lifer muddoc's Avatar
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    Re: Breeding Ball Pythons - Some things to consider...

    Quote Originally Posted by jglass38
    5. Time - This is an intangible but a very important one. Having the necessary time to make sure your animals are kept clean and fed and records are updated is paramount to your success as a reptile keeper and ultimately a breeder. I spend many hours per week cleaning and checking my snakes and feeders. Some weeks I don't want to deal with it but it absolutely has to be done. There is no room to say, I'll do it next week. Jamie
    Jamie,
    What an excellent post. I think #5 above may be one of the more overlooked aspects of keeping and breeding these animals. I have what I consider to be a modest collection, and I put at minimum 12 hours a week into my collection, and I might add, that I do not take care of the rats. Monica probably spends about 6-8 hours a week in the rodent room.

    So often I read about people who think they are going to make a fortune off of theses animals, but I believe that most of your stated considerations have not been thought of. First and foremost, I believe, to be successful is a true love of the animals. To this day I enjoy going out on cleaaning day and interacting with my collection, even though it is 7-8 hours of picking up poop.

    Very well thought out and stated post,
    Tim Bailey
    (A.K.A. MBM or Art Pimp)
    www.baileyreptiles.com
    The Blog

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