March 29, 2015
Selective Breeding of Ball Pythons & Boas
When we attend the many reptile shows in Western Canada, one of the
most frequent questions asked is why are certain animals of the same
morph being sold at so many different prices. For example, one table
might be selling a Lesser Platinum ball python for say $250.00
versus another table is selling them for say $150.00. Then there are
some that would sell them for $35.00.
The breeder that is selling the animal for $35.00 is generally a
hobbyist who produces some animals and is desperate to dump their
animals just to get them out of their collections. Not sure you want
to deal with someone dumping animals onto the market. When it comes
to investment animals for your breeding projects, you would want a
breeder that is going to be there when you encounter problems or
have questions. The odds are, for these types of prices, you are
generally out on your own.
Then there are many breeders out there that are all about producing
as many animals as possible just strictly for profit and in many
cases, the morphs produced just do not show their greatest assets.
When you look at the morph and you are not sure what the genetics
are, and the best qualities of each animal does not come through,
then what is the use of creating such a morph in the first place?
I had one client come to our table and he offered to show me a Sugar
Bee. When I looked at the animal, it just looked like a Spider ball
python, the sugar qualities just did not show through. When asked if
I could tell him what morph it was, I told him that it was a Spider
ball. When he told me it was a Sugar Bee, I just could not tell. The
price was great, but the identifying markers and the characteristics
of the Sugar just did not come through. Disappointed, he went to
several other breeders and they all said the same thing as I had
told him. Great price though!
There is a process as breeders in which our company chooses to work
with F3 animals. This means that they are 3rd generation animals
which generally produce the best looking and quality of animal when
it comes to designer morphs.
Investing in an F3 animal is generally 3 times the normal value of
an average animal. They are difficult for the average breeder to get
their hands on such animals as most high end breeders generally keep
them for their own breeding programs or work among other high end
breeders to work out the projects.
This is where, when you get into breeding ball pythons and you are a
serious breeder, it is important to establish a good working
relationship with the larger breeders and work on projects in which
they may be interested in. This is when you can start negotiating
with the breeder to possibly get higher quality animals to work
As I have mentored many new breeders into the business of breeding
ball pythons, one of the things I have always said to the newbies is
that it is important to find a breeder that you get along with and
to purchase your investment animals from a few good breeders. Once a
relationship has been established, I am sure you will be able to get
your hands on some of those F3 animals for your own breeding
The next time you go to a reptile show, keep this in mind when you
see an assortment of prices on the same morph being sold. At least
when you purchase at a show, the premium you pay for F3 animals is a
bit more, but the animals you end up producing generally will sell
on their own. Take a look at the morph you are planning on buying,
see the differences in color, patterns and over all visual of the
animals. The key to this selective breeding is you get what you pay
I know that when we first started out in the business, 2001, one of
the first investments we made was into a clown morph. At the time
the clowns could be purchased for around $7000.00 U.S., we ended up
getting an F3 clown which cost us $21,000.00. Many breeder friends
laughed at us due to the fact that they felt we were ripped off or
over paid for the animal. No matter what explanation I gave them,
they just scoffed at us. Then came a time when we produced the
animals, the vibrancy and clean patterns on the snake made it all
worth the while. All of a sudden the breeders that were scoffing at
us, now wanted to get their hands on our clowns.
Year in and year out, we have produced many clowns every year and
have never been stuck with any clowns, most are sold even before
they are hatched. In fact till this day, we still have a waiting
list for our clowns.
For us, the reason we got into this business is that we wanted to
produce beautiful living art and to do so, it was a commitment on
our part to make sure the bloodlines we got into were the best
quality possible. When you show the best quality animals at a show,
they generally sell on their own.
Besides, us at Exotic Serpents working
exclusively with F3 generation animals. We've also mentored several
local breeders that hold the same investment, breeding & service
philosophy as us. They are: Pacific Pythons www.pacificpythons.com,
www.thepythonsyndicate.com, Gemini Pythons www.geminipythons.com.
In the coming years, there will be a few more breeders that we've
mentored to come.
These are the breeders whereby service, education and a true
commitment to quality animals is imperative and they will reach out
to aid you in your investments should you decide to get into this
fabulous industry. These people have been mentored and taught that
the most important thing about this industry is to provide the best
service and to produce the highest quality animal that they can get
their hands on. When you first get set up, and if you encounter
problems they will come over and check out your equipment to make
sure everything is working properly. They will educate you about the
do's and don'ts of the business and aid you in getting your business
off the ground. There is no greater feeling to know that when you
get into an investment and you have experienced breeders right
behind you every step of the way, should you need that support.
We at Exotic Serpents and the breeders listed above will give you
that kind of support and encouragement. When you establish a
relationship with these breeders, you will hear about their special
projects that they are working on and that gives you the investor
the first crack at some of these cutting edge projects.
As I have always preached, the only way to attain success is to make
sure our clients have success. Thanks for reading this.