View Full Version : opinions needed!

12-31-2005, 12:45 AM
what python is the most wanted? and what sells the most?

Art Klass
12-31-2005, 01:07 AM
Ball pythons are hot and exciting right now. There are many different morphs and many more to come. If I were you I would continue to do the research and fall in love with a species. Learn everything you can about it and raise some up from neonates. Breed them when you are ready. Do you have any herps. I like your enthusiam, Art

12-31-2005, 02:08 AM
what python is the most wanted? and what sells the most?
It really sort of depends on your reason for asking. If you are looking for a future project, I agree with Art - research and work with a few species, then pick your favorite. Don't breed something just because everybody else is (or for the money).
If you are just curious about market trends, ball pythons are on top. The prices range from a cheap dinner for two ($30), to a new car ($10k-$25k), to a decent house ($100,000); they stay fairly small; and the variety of morphs seems to increase yearly.
Personally, I am a huge fan of retics (now illegal in my state) and womas.

Clay Davenport
12-31-2005, 08:37 PM
Taken from the perspective of the market as a whole, there is only one possible answer to your question, balls.
No other python species even approaches the balls dominance in the market.
That's not to say you should become a ball python breeder. The market is also getting heavy with breeders and it's tough for a new name to get into it unless you have the cash to go directly to visual morphs.

The large constrictors have a completely different, and smaller niche. Myself, I usually discourage anyone from even getting into breeding the giants. It is my opinion that there is already significantly more of these snakes produced annually than there are qualified keepers to own them. The key word being qualified. The abundance of giant snakes being produced coupled with the equal abundance of unqualified potential owners is proving to be a serious detriment to our hobby.
I have no problem with anyone who is capable owning one of these snakes, but the fact is that only a very small percentage of the people who buy a hatchling burmese will still own the snake when it dies of old age. Of the ones that do keep the snake long term, many of them will not be housing it properly due to lack of space or funds. There's simply no reason to add even more of these animals to a saturated market.
This opinion often angers many of the serious keepers of the giant snakes, but the reality is they are in the vast minority of reptile keepers as a whole. For every one person who is fully capable and enjoys keeping their burms or retics, there are 30 or 40 keepers who really have no business at all with the cute little burm they just brought home from Petco.

Many of the other pythons are wonderful snakes, womas, jungle carpets, but their respective market share is hampered by the lack of mutations. I have 30 or 40 ball pythons. I also have womas and think they are magnificent snakes, but I couldn't see having 30 of them.

All that said however, any species you keep should be because you enjoy them for what they are in your collection, and would enjoy them equally if they were all worth $25.
The ball python market will collapse eventually. When that happens many $100K collections will be worth about a grand overnight. If nothing else an economy crash will bring it all down. Few things could be considered more of a luxury than a $20K ball python.
If you keep what you love though, you'll be no worse off when it does end. You'll still have a collection of animals you enjoy working with while a lot of the money breeders will be sitting on a huge number of cool looking snakes bemoaning all the money they lost.

01-01-2006, 01:34 AM
I completely agree with you, I myself am a burm guy. There are far too many people out there who purchase a burm or a retic and have no idea how big they will get and how expensive it will be to feed and house properly. Now dont get me wrong, im not one of those people who have big snakes and say DONT GET BIG SNAKES, but I seriously encourage people to think before getting anything close to a retic or a burm. There are so many burms out there that are up for adoption because their owners didnt know or neglected the fact of how big they get. This is one fact that really angers me, but it not only happens to the big snakes, but how many people do you think go to petco and say " look at that cute little ball python" while ball pythons are small, they too need a tremendous amount of attention and care. Granted they dont get as big as a burm, they still deserve the same basic things.
That being said, if I were a newbie, I would stay as far away from ball pythons as I could. Unless of course, you are getting into them for the right reasons. Just to want to breed snakes for money, in my opinion is wrong. That is what contributes to all of these 'orphans' out there. The ball python market, in my opinion, is going to see a dramatic fall in the next few years.
What kind of snake do I enjoy the most? That is what you need to ask yourself. The answer to that is what you need to get.

Jamie Randolph

01-01-2006, 04:10 AM
Those of us that have been doing this for a while can remember when balls weren't particularly popular. The farming process, and CH babies, was a huge factor in this - taking them from problematic snakes that didn't thrive in the hands of most keepers to being the snake that can take you from beginner to designer morphs (depending on your budget). They've been big for several years now, and a variety of things will be happening. I think that due to their size, and the # of options available, they will stay popular...but the prices will continue to fall. The only reason it is happening slower than with some of the other species is that balls are much less prolific...6 babies vs 40 for burms vs 25 for boas.

01-01-2006, 07:29 AM
ive been fascinated with herps since i was a kid living in mesa AZ. i told my self i will start collecting when i was stable and able to take care and properly take care of them. that happend about 2 years ago, now i own some very big herps! it wasnt for the money, but for the love of big snakes. hers some pics of their life style!

thanks everyone!


ps icant get my cage photos on there, there 2 big!

Karen Hulvey
01-01-2006, 04:07 PM
qualified keepers to own them. The key word being qualified. Qualified, now that's a mouthfull. I can't tell you how many times I've NOT sold a Burmese, African rock or a retic because I felt the person wasn't qualified or simply had no idea about size.

I ask questions when people want to buy one of the big guys. Questions like: Do you know how big it will get? Where will you keep it when it gets big? I've actually had quite a few people tell me that they will donate the snake to the zoo when it gets too big. Then I ask them how big is too big and they say around 8'-10'. Then I tell them that this snake has the potential to get 8' in a year and the zoo doesn't want them and it's no longer for sale. I've been cussed out for that honesty.

I have a freind who has a huge albino Burmese that laid 60 eggs one year and they all hatched! These animals are prolific.

I only see the ball python market going up, maybe not in $$$ because the $$$ part has to go down with all the new morph breeders springing up every day and the fact that some of these animals are priced so high that I can't believe people would actually pay that kind of $$$. But I think it will continue to go up because there are already so many morphs and future morphs-to-be that it's going to be years & years before the full morph potential of the ball shows up.

I do agree with everyone else on this. Pick species you like to work with, not one you think you can make money off of. Otherwise taking care of the animals will become a chore and your animals will suffer.

01-02-2006, 10:24 AM
I've owned snakes on and off since I was about 10 years old. When I was 19, I inhereted 2 large Burmese, and while they were awesome as pets, there was a point at which they were just too much. I ended up giving them to my vet tech who was very fond of them...

It really bums me out to see all the baby big-boys out there being sold at pet stores, then seeing them mistreated, neglected or abused because the owners can no longer care for them, or just lose interest in doing so. (I know the local reptile rescue guy here in San Diego, and some of the animals he picks up are in very sad shape...)

I think Karen is RIGHT-ON asking the basic questions for anybody interested in the true-giants to get a feel whether or not they really understand what they're getting themselves into, and just as important, putting the foot down when they clearly aren't qualified...

There are so many other beautiful species that don't grow to that enormous size, that are way more practical for the every day keeper, and also make great pets.

Now that I'm at a point in my life where I can afford this hobby, (and I'm into it now more than ever!), I have my wife to win over- it's begnning to get ugly! I've got 2 baby pines- 1 black, and 1 southern patternless. LOVE 'em both, but am desperately trying to convince her that I need 1 more- her reply is, 'where will it end?"...


Karen Hulvey
01-02-2006, 12:43 PM
her reply is, 'where will it end?"...
Ra Roh Where will it end? I started off with one ball python in 1995. Now I'm up to around 70 snakes. There's always something else that I see that I "desperately need". Last year at a show I saw this cape gopher snake. The moment I laid eyes on it I knew I was going to buy it. Sad but true. Now I "need" a female to go with him! Ahahahahaha

I don't think we should put the full blame on breeders & pet stores for all these mistreated and unwanted giants. People need to be responsible for the life they purchase. I'm so sick of people who act like they don't know how big an animal is going to get. These days when the answer is right at their fingertips the excuse of "I didn't know" makes them look like idiots.

I work at a pet store a few times a week and I can't tell you how many calls we get from people who want to "get rid" of animals. When someone uses the words GET RID OF, it goes straight through me, like the animal is some form of garbage, and it's very hard for me to be civil to that person. Very rarely is it a snake and we sell tons of snakes! Mostly it's some form of mammal with cats & dogs being the #1 "get rid of" animal and we don't even sell them. My favorite excuse is: "I'm moving tomorrow and the ________ (insert animal here) has to go ASAP because my new apartment doesn't allow pets. Hello? Did you just decide to move today? I could go on and on about this. Sometimes I get so sick of people that it's pathetic.

Ultimately it's the responsibility of the person who bought the animal to maintain said animal. How is it the responsibility of the breeder or pet shop if the person releases or neglects an animal?

01-02-2006, 12:58 PM
I agree, Karen, but believe it or not - many people do not have the world at their fingertips (I thought I had been the last holdout, but I was clearly mistaken). Many people are still reliant on the idiot kid at the petstore that tells them that the burmese python will only get to be 6 ft long, or that they can keep it small by keeping it in a small tank (you do know that they won't outgrow their enclosure, don't you), or that you should only feed them one mouse a month...you should never feed them more than one animal a month.

Karen Hulvey
01-02-2006, 01:50 PM
Many people are still reliant on the idiot kid at the petstore that tells them that the burmese python will only get to be 6 ft long, or that they can keep it small by keeping it in a small tank (you do know that they won't outgrow their enclosure, don't you), or that you should only feed them one mouse a month...you should never feed them more than one animal a month.I have had kids telling my customers exactly what you have written above!

This proves what you say above is right: I was showing a lady a hatchling B&W banded California kingsnake. She asked how big it gets and I said around 4-6'. She said that was too big for her and she didn't buy it. A few days later she came in to buy a pinky mouse. I thought it was the same lady that looked at the Cali. king so I asked her what kind of snake she had. She said she bought a California king at the Petco in Cape. I know Petco's Cali kings are around $99 and ours was only $39 so I asked her why she didn't buy ours. She said because our California kings get 4-6' and the one from Petco only gets around 2' so she bought the one that would stay small. Welllll I burst her bubble really quick.

Stupidity and ignorance is still no excuse in my book. These people may not have the 'net but I bet they have TV. How many TV programs are there where Mark O'shea or Steve or whoever are standing there holding a massive Burmese, African rock, retic, green anaconda? I sure hear about these programs a lot.

I have had adults tell me that all pythons and boas get 20 feet but if you keep them in a small tank they won't get big. I had a guy tell me that the 4 y/o adult ball python we had for sale is only 4' long because it's in a 20 gallon tank! If it was in a 75 gallon tank it would be about 8' long by now.

I also had a guy yelling at me because he asked how snakes reproduce. I said that you first need a pair, a male and a female. He interrupted me and said the male wasn't needed and proceeded to start yelling about how stupid I was, etc., etc., etc. until my boss told him to leave! I don't know what set this guy off but he truly thinks snakes are asexual.

I've come to believe that most people are stupid. Every single day I'm at that shop I see stupid humans. I wonder how some of these people are able to find food for themselves! I'm thinking of writing a book of some of the idiotic things people have said and done.

Ultimately it's still the buyer's responsibility on how they care for a life they purchase.

01-02-2006, 03:17 PM
I've come to believe that most people are stupid. I feel your pain, Karen.
Ultimately it's still the buyer's responsibility on how they care for a life they purchase.
Absolutely, no ifs, ands, or buts about it

01-03-2006, 01:44 AM
Yes- I learned that a long time ago, too, that in general, there are a LOT of STUPID people on this planet.

Sounds like that lady just finally found somebody who told her what she wanted to hear- the kid who sold that CAK to her is going to make a fine used car salesman someday, or is being misled.

I work in an entirely different industry, but good-god, you should hear some of the crap that I run across...

Keep up the good work, and continue to put the 'smak' down when necessary!


01-03-2006, 09:08 AM
Some people need to wear a sign that says "I am stupid!"

-Bill Engvall

01-03-2006, 11:21 PM
i love this web site, and i love all of you! all you are great!

thanks everyone!


01-12-2006, 08:06 AM
:) I got sucked into the snake world in 2003 - I finally got over my squeamishness about feeding rodents (I had an iguana back in '95), and after research decided a ball python would be a perfect pet. I got a baby ball for my birthday that year from my husband. Almost three years later and the collection is up to 5 snakes...

I have been fortunate enough to work two different places that allowed me to bring in one of my snakes in on Fridays. To be fair to other coworkers that might have fear of snakes, I let everyone know that Fridays were "snake days", and that there would be a caged snake in my cubicle. Many people would stop by, and still do to see which one I brought this week. Most people start off standing 10 feet away from me and asking to see the snake, when they find out that I bring one in on Fridays. I hear all sorts of misconceptions... including the ones listed above... "Oh, those stay small if you keep them in a small enclosure, right? They're slimy, right? They're all venomous, right? They all eventually get huge, right?" and various (often funny) myths. Lots of people eventually touch, and then hold my snakes, when they were petrified at first! One girl calls Ermy the "puppy snake"... she wouldn't come near him when she first met him though. Now she holds him like he's a baby when I bring him in.

Off track from my point.... some people will believe what they want to believe, no matter what other people tell them or what they read. If they really want to buy a burm, but know in the back of their mind that they can't keep a 13' + snake, they will believe the "stay small in a small tank" myth. You can sometimes even tell someone will do that when they ask a question... then if they don't like your reply, they just kind of go "uh huh" and look away....... or say "oh, well, I heard you can make them stay small".

There will always be people like that around... which is why animal shelters exist for the most part.... I'm sure Siberian Husky breeders tell their buyers "these are high energy dogs, you must exercise them daily and spend time with them or they can get bored and destructive, they should be crate trained, etc etc".... some buyers will buy the dog anyway because it looks cool, go home, keep the dog locked in an apartment all day, and give the dog up when it tears up their furniture and jumps all over because they don't have the time to spend with it to train or exercise it.

Places like PetCo won't stop carrying in-demand animals (however inappropriate to the uneducated consumer) unless they are forced to by law, which is now unfortunately the case in my state. I'm glad I just own boas and small pythons and feel terrible for those legitimate hobbyists who won't be able to legitimately obtain large snakes here, but do feel good that those same snakes aren't being sold in chain stores. Catch-22! And of course the smaller crowd of hobbyists loses out.. :(

08-26-2006, 02:19 PM
Ball pythons seem to be by far the most popular...they meet the desire to have a large snake without having one that will become too large to handle safely and too expensive to feed...If you look at how many of the large constrictors are abandoned or being given away, it's obvious that they are a bit more than most people expect when they buy them. Pet suppliers should be more ethical when selling giants...for example, a 5 ft. female burmese python was auctioned off here recently...animal control was called to the rest stop where a retired couple had opened the hood of their towed vehicle and found her curled up on the motor...animal control gave her to our local pet shop, who told potential bidders that she was 5-6 years old and wouldn't get much bigger...some poor victim paid $800 for her...I complained to animal control that they should at least get the facts right, but I guess they just wanted to get rid of her, didn't matter that she was probably less than a year old and could potentially reach 20-24 feet and weigh up to 400 lbs., with a lot of her growth coming in the next year...Sometimes pet suppliers are ignorant about these snakes, but others are just out to make a buck, doesn't matter that the snake goes to someone unable to care for it long-term, or that whoever buys it is in danger of being hurt or killed by it later on...I have a new burmese myself, but I prepared for almost two years before buying her...she is to have her own room, and I raise 450 breeder does (rabbits) and 150 chickens...

01-13-2007, 12:39 AM
To be fair to the pet store employees, they do not always know the specifics of the animals and rely on the information they are given by their trainers managers or whoever.

Case in point, Pangassius Cat fish.The petco and the petsmart in my area both carry them. The tags say that they only reach about 8" in length. After I got my pair home I did some further research (wrong order of things, I know...lol) I discovers that those particular cats are one of the GIANT varieties and can easily reach 3-4' or better in captivity.

The employee that sold it to us knew they were going into a 20 gal long tank and had no idea that it would ever be inappropriate for those fish.

I just can't imagine that their her "specialists" can possibly be that much more knowledgable or better trained. I feel that the responsibility lies higher up in the stores to make sure that the information they give about animals is correct. I honestly would not mind if some of the animals that get so large were considered special orders. The Petco and Petsmart in my area do not carry them as a regular item and I am OK with that.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the burms, retics, African Rocks and such are phenomenal animals and have and equally inportant place in the hobby. But they are not beginners animals and they are not for people who are not educated about their size and needs as the adults they will be in just a few short years after purchase.

I will eventually have a burm, but right now I have 2 small children and I do not want to put a snake in the position ever, even accidentally of feeling that it has a need to defend itself. Because of that, at this point in time of my life, I choose not to have a giant constrictor.