BLOG by David Chan

 

June 16, 2015

Snakes Husbandry

 

My apologies for taking so long to write a blog as we are in the middle of breeding season and time seems to fly this time of year for us. It is an exciting time of year, just like Christmas when we were little kids. Waiting for each egg to hatch to see what we may have produced for the market place and our own collection.

One of the topics that has been brought up quite often is whether or not a fish tank is a good idea for a snake cage. Personally I would never recommend someone using a fish tank as it is hard to regulate the humidity in the cage and secondly is the fact they are made of glass.

These guys may not seem that strong, but I have witnessed a snake strike at the glass as someone was walking by and the glass shattered cutting up the snake as well.

What I recommend using is either ABS cages or melamine cages with plexi glass fronts. Plexi glass will not shatter the way glass can and will not injure your snake, if it should strike the plexi glass.

Also all cages should be heated with a heat pad that is on a thermostat, I have seen too many people not use a temperature control and burn the under bellies of the snakes. No matter what the pet shop people tell you, all heat pads should be on a thermostat. An economical way to go would be to get a pre- wired dimmer switch to control your temperatures or you can go expensive and get a proportional thermostats which could run you $100.00 and up.

The other advise you will get from pet stores is that you should have a UV light inside your cage or a heat lamp. There is no need for such equipment when it comes to your snakes. The heat pad should give you the exact heat that you need, besides having a heat lamp in your cage will only dry up the humidity a lot faster. UV lights are definitely not needed, they cost a fortune and really does not benefit the snakes. If you wish to have a light in your cage for viewing pleasure a regular fluorescent light will do or a mini bulb at the dollar store. It gives off minimal heat and will not cause you problems with your humidity. As well your snake will not get burnt trying to wrap itself around a light bulb.

Also the fish tanks make it near impossible to keep the humidity at the levels that you need them to be as the tops seems to always be of the mesh style of lid. If you do use these mesh style lids, use some saran wrap to cover the mesh about 3/4 of the lid to generate the humidity you are seeking.

The heat pads that most professional breeders use is called Flex-watt heat tape. You can purchase them from us or from the Bean Farm down in the U.S.. I am sure there are local breeders that you can purchase them from. As well these use very low wattage to heat the tanks.

Thanks for reading and I will hope to post more blogs in the very 
near future. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will post your questions and answers for all to read and sharing of knowledge.

 

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 with.

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 programs.

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 for.

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, Python Syndicate 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.

 

 

March 12, 2015

The State of the Ball Python Market as of Today

 

The ball python and boa markets have always been related to a pyramid scheme. The big breeders or importers with the money will pay big bucks to get a new animal into the country and maintain control of the inventory to keep prices up high when they are brand new.

Normally, the prices will start coming down as more and more animals are produced from this new genetic animal. As more supply comes onto the market, the prices start to decline. I believe the actions of the big breeders in the past few years has been nothing short of pure greed. It is through this greed, that I believe has lead to the soft prices within the market as well, I believe they have ruined the possibility of selling higher priced morphs to investors who were willing to pay the big money to invest in their business, only to have the actions of the big breeders destroy our investments.
I don't believe that we will ever see prices in the $30,000.00 and up mark move anymore due to the power that these breeders have over the average sized breeder.

An example of this is the project to do with banana and coral glow ball pythons. In 2013, my company purchased several banana balls and coral glows for a pricey $35,000.00. By late 2013 into 2014, the big breeders for some unknown reason started to dump the animals onto the market to the point where the banana is selling for $1000.00 and some are selling even cheaper. The fact that prices have been dumped, I am not the concerned as I have been in the business long enough to know that no matter what, I will make my money back, it is just a matter of time.

I congratulate them on their immense profits that they have made in the dumping of the pricing. Do you think that anyone in their right minds would invest that kind of money into a new and exciting morph ever again at those prices? What we need in this business is a little integrity instead of so much greed. Greed can only lead to one thing and that is weakened market place and turn off a lot of investors. The large breeders are the gate keepers of this industry. They should be the guardians of this business aiding others to make money which then provides greater demand for investment animals. 
If the only people making the big money are the large breeders, then what is the purpose of anyone investing in these animals. I also find that it is disgusting to see when a big breeder notices prices at shows are low, so next thing they do is compete with their pricing which only hurts the little breeders who are trying to make a little money. If a big breeder lowers their pricing, there is no chance that a small breeder can compete. Another words, what these big breeders are doing is operating out of pure greed without the thought of what it does to the people they are supplying wishing to make some money out of this hobby. It is these types of practices that will eventually harm the industry to the point that it will no longer be a business and eventually they will be out of business with no one to supply.

 

 

 

February 5, 2015

Arrest made in connection with python deaths of two boys.

 

The CBC reported earlier this morning, that Jean - Claude Savoie has been arrested in the python deaths of Connor and Noah Barthe, aged 6 and 4 years old. The incident occurred in Campbellton, NB., in 2013.
The deaths set off a fire storm of anger against reptile owners and caused many demanding the banning of exotic pets. New Brunswick already had a Exotic Species Ban in place, similar to one we now have in B.C., set up in 2009.
As I have explained in an interview with Bill Good, bans do not work. It is important that we educate the public about these animals. Some will agree that they make great pets and others would totally disagree. For those that disagree, that is fine, we are all entitled to our opinions.
For those who are lobbying the Federal Government to ban all exotics, truly need to take a look at all of the facts within this case. 
First of all, there was a ban in place in N.B. at the time of this occurrence. The interesting evidence brought to us by the Global News article below, shows that it was Environment Canada that provided Jean - Claude with this animal and many more animals that are on the CAS list of banned exotics. 
The question that people need to ask is why did Environment Canada offer these animals to Jean - Claude and not offer him a permit? Why did the conservation officers, SPCA, Environment Canada and anyone else involved with the decision to allow Jean - Claude to keep these animals, not follow their own guidelines of allowing someone without a permit to keep CAS animals? Knowing that he had restricted animals, why was the facility not checked on as far as proper caging is concerned?
It is fine and dandy that Jean - Claude Savoie has been arrested, as I hope that he will feel the full force of the law for what has happened. As I had stipulated in the interview with Bill Good, the problem with society is that we demand the government to ban the problems that exist, yet there are laws in the books that could deal with the problems, but rather than punish the offeneder, the govt. chooses to play a pr game and give in to demands of bans, which as I say do not work.
I applaud the RCMP and the New Brunswick prosecutors office for arresting Jean - Claude Savoie and I hope that the charges will fit the crime. This investigation has not gone far enough. Who were the decision makers who allowed Jean - Claude Savoie to possess the snake in the first place should also be charged or at the very least, fired for their callous handling of the CAS animals.
It is through these government agencies that this ever happened in the first place. They should be investigated and interrogated as to why this happened under their own noses. Instead, they make us the responsible reptile keepers pay the price for their mismanagement and criminal act. 
Environment Canada, SPCA and the Conservation officers involved and knowingly placed these animals into Jean - Claude Savoie's care are complicit in this crime and should face the exact same charges as Jean - Claude.
I want to make this perfectly clear to all reptile haters, don't hate the reptile keepers, if you are going to show anger, direct it at the government and demand charges be laid against those that were complicit in the act of giving the possession of the animals to Jean without a permit.
As soon as the charges are laid against Jean, I will be looking to have an investigation started against the others involved with this case. They give all good owners of exotic pets a bad reputation due to their own negligence. 
For those who agree with the statements made above, I would love for you all to contact the N.B. RCMP and file a complaint against the Environment Canada, N.B. Conversations Officer, SPCA, Dept. of Natural Resources and all connected who knowingly placed this snake and other CAS animals under his care. 
They are the ones that are responsible to keep the public safe, so that is their motto, they failed and there should be an inquiry as to why they did not follow their own laws set forward by them and their job is to uphold these laws.
According to CBC, there will be a announcement coming in March with a amended ban on such animals. Why are they wasting tax payers money to create laws that they themselves break. As I have said before, their are laws in the books to deal with law breakers, no need to waste time and money creating more bureaucracy.
For those interested in the Bill Good interview in the media section of our site.

 

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