The nightmare that ended my passion for reptiles.... until yesterday... (LONG POST) - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:07 PM   #1
bear
The nightmare that ended my passion for reptiles.... until yesterday... (LONG POST)

I've been a member of fauna for many years, it's almost unbelievable that I've been addicted to reptile keeping this long when I think about it... But here is my story of why I swore off reptile ownership all together and haven't had anything but my two loyal doggies for the last 5 years or so.

Years ago I had a large and expensive ball python and boa collection. This was in the days of $23,000 Lesser platinum ball pythons (which is exactly what I paid for one of my males.) and $2,000 sunglow boa babies Needless to say I had sunk a large amount of money in this obsession and was thoroughly enjoying it... Long story short, I got busy. I started a new business and was swamped with being a very young man not even able to purchase alcohol yet but trying to make my own way. I was going through a lot of changes in life and was overwhelmed with the collection I had accrued so I partnered with someone who worked for a major breeder and was very talented with reptile keeping. The deal was he got a 50% stake in a top of the line breeding business with putting out no cash, all he had to do was take care of and breed my animals which was the same thing he did for a large breeder so this should have been no big deal for him. I dropped off all the equipment and animals and felt relief knowing they would be taken care of and I could focus on my personal issues and business.

Long story short I kept in phone contact with my partner for 6 months or so and he would tell me everyone was doing well and on schedule. I should have made time to drop in but I was just being stupid and keeping the situation out of sight and out of mind.

Towards the end of this six months I had a mutual friend tell me "go get your snakes now" I was thrown off and confused. He didn't really want to say anything but that so I got around to getting over there to find my entire collection dead and or dying from basically starvation and filth. I took what was left and rehabbed what I could but all of my expensive ball pythons were dead and gone. It was horrifying and I was embarrassed. Again I just cut my losses, could I have sued him? sure, but he was broke and just had a baby, I knew I would spend a fortune in time and money doing it and would likely never get a dime. Why didn't I post about it? I was mortified and this person doesn't deal in online sales or even local as far as I know, they just worked for a major breeder and kept some things as pets.


This was phase one of the end for me.

In starts phase 2

At this point I had rehabbed and sold what was left of my ball pythons. I still had some boas that I never let that guy raise as boas were my passion and honestly I never liked keeping ball pythons, I just got sucked in to the hype which was to my eventual detriment... I started getting back to my roots and accepted what had happened. I still had love for boas and wanted to reignite my enthusiasm. So in my typical fashion I went and bought some of my dream projects. I purchased some beautiful T+ BWC visuals, some Motley het T+, hypo mot het albino female, some nice sunglows, arabesque het albinos, jungles etc... mostly t+ pattern projects and sunglow pattern projects. All very nice and of excellent quality. I was very happy. with a smaller collection of boas and felt I was in a much better point in life.


-The nail in the coffin-

In the process of building my boa collection I got in contact with someone I had purchased from in the past and been happy with. I knew this person (over the phone) and had many conversations and purchased multiple animals years ago. They had an adult breeding pair of a male sharp sunlgow and a female sharp albino. They were going to sell them for something like $3,500 for the pair (which at the time was a deal.) I agreed and purchased the boas. They arrived with severe URI and mouth rot, one of them couldn't close it's mouth because one side was so swollen and they were bleeding out of their mouths. The male was skinny with spine showing but the female (who had the worse of the mouth issues seemed muscular. I didn't even contact the seller and went straight to the vet. They told me straight up that these boas would likely not make it regardless of treatment. I left the male with the vet to be cared for over a few days, he was on a feeding tube and receiving antibiotics. The female I took home and after they had removed some mouth tissue I had injections to giver her and solution to clean the wounds etc... I attempted to rehab these boas for 6 months or so and they both died anyways. I told the seller when I returned home from the vet and I told him I would not ship them back to him. He partially refunded me I think $1500 which was a scam as these were almost certainly dead snakes, but even if he offered a full refund I would never send these back to this guy.

After this I just couldn't do it anymore, I felt that everyone in this industry was a scum bag and I started hating keeping reptiles. I buried the dead ones and put everything I had for sale (obviously my collection was quarantined from the sick ones.) I got out and had zero reptiles of any kind and felt relieved. I couldn't go to shows, I couldn't look at snakes online, It made me angry to even see old pictures of my snakes and I'm pretty sure I deleted all of them.
I had been burned so many times on such a massive scale I was just absolutely done and my wife and I swore to never own anything but dogs again.



So why the hell am I back?


wellllllllll I said it was an addiction right? I ran across a video on youtube of a tour of Tom Burke's collection, it showed the blood albino and blood sunglow boas. These weren't around to my knowledge back when I was around and people were speculating what they would look like. It was so cool to see all of the new combos that I missed out on all at once. Everything from J stone's lucy boas, blood sunglows, leopard sunglows... and I can't believe how much prices have changed. Anyways I started talking to my wife and showing her some things and she was still in the no reptiles mindset, but she loved to see the spark in my eyes again and just over new years told me to pick out a couple boas and go for it. So just yesterday I paid for my first two boas in years, they will be arriving this weekend and my kids are so excited as my son wasn't old enough to remember my snakes and he loves animals. I actually feel excited again and my wife is excited that I'm excited.


Things I've learned

- I will never buy anything but boas, If I don't WANT to care for them with my own hands I don't like them enough to own them
- I will never buy a boa unless I can honestly say "I don't know if I'll ever see one that nice again"
- I will never buy a boa that is a "steal" and am more likely to purchase from a seller with firm high prices
- I will never have more than 5 pairs of breeders (not including offspring)
- I will never buy an animal if the seller won't send me a picture from that exact day of the snakes head. If you want to charge me $1,000 for a snake and it's a problem to take a close picture of it's head with your phone, then I'd rather pass...


I'm sharing this horrifying tale because first off I need to get this off my chest, I clammed up and didn't discuss it with anyone, I just disappeared. Also, maybe some newer people can learn from the lessons I learned.

The good thing that's come of this is that I am absolutely obsessed with boa care, I know how to care for them well but I re-read the most elementary info and custom built enclosures for my new friends. My boas will be the cleanest, most pampered and monitored snakes on the block and keeping it to 5 amazing pairs will ensure that I will never be overwhelmed or too busy to handle them.



Thanks for reading if you made it this far and please do tell, is the industry these days as messed up as I once thought? Now that there isn't huge money being thrown around, did most of the scum disappear?
 
Old 01-04-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
WebSlave
Hope the wounds heal with the fading memory of your bad experiences and you regain, and keep, your enthusiasm.
 
Old 01-04-2016, 12:20 PM   #3
bear
oh the enthusiasm is back with full force, I am very lucky to have purchased from two very understanding sellers that are shipping with extra heat and insulation and sending pictures etc... I feel comfortable but I can't say I'm not slightly terrified at the same time. I failed to mention I purchased a male coral jungle sunglow and a female albino arabesque. They are both of breeding size and have both been cycled but I likely won't have time to do a proper quarantine and pairing this year so I'm planning to just feed them and grow them until next winter before giving anything a try.
 
Old 01-04-2016, 02:26 PM   #4
Effykins
Goodness. You have been through quite a lot. I'm sorry that you've had so many negative experiences, but I'm glad to hear that you've found your passion for reptiles again.

As far as I can tell regarding the industry, there is always a chance that a person could run into some sketchy sellers (as seen through the BOI), but I've heard lots of good experiences, too. There is nothing wrong in making sure everything is okay before you purchase something, especially after the experiences you've had.
 
Old 01-04-2016, 03:38 PM   #5
bear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Effykins View Post
Goodness. You have been through quite a lot. I'm sorry that you've had so many negative experiences, but I'm glad to hear that you've found your passion for reptiles again.

As far as I can tell regarding the industry, there is always a chance that a person could run into some sketchy sellers (as seen through the BOI), but I've heard lots of good experiences, too. There is nothing wrong in making sure everything is okay before you purchase something, especially after the experiences you've had.
Thanks for reading, I know it was long! lol but I agree that there are good and bad people, the one thing I'm trying to do is learn patience and restraint. In hindsight looking back I think if I were looking for it I could have found a reason to back out and that's another lesson I've learned if someone's communication is unreliable or hesitant or the price is too good I just walk right then and there... I've become really mindful of peoples language and reading between the lines. I honestly partially blame myself for not being more of a thorough buyer and pestering for more pics and asking about history and questions. I point blank ask every time now if there has ever been any medical history with the animal. Many of these people try to justify their actions in their head one way or the other, but asking point blank if the snake is or has been sick they would have to own up to being a liar or not. The guy who sent me the two very sick dying snakes actually said " yea but they were priced accordingly" even though this wasn't the case, in his eyes if a you find a pretty darn good deal you should assume the snakes are bleeding from the mouth and dying?...
 
Old 01-04-2016, 03:51 PM   #6
Effykins
Quote:
Originally Posted by bear View Post
Thanks for reading, I know it was long! lol but I agree that there are good and bad people, the one thing I'm trying to do is learn patience and restraint. In hindsight looking back I think if I were looking for it I could have found a reason to back out and that's another lesson I've learned if someone's communication is unreliable or hesitant or the price is too good I just walk right then and there... I've become really mindful of peoples language and reading between the lines. I honestly partially blame myself for not being more of a thorough buyer and pestering for more pics and asking about history and questions. I point blank ask every time now if there has ever been any medical history with the animal. Many of these people try to justify their actions in their head one way or the other, but asking point blank if the snake is or has been sick they would have to own up to being a liar or not. The guy who sent me the two very sick dying snakes actually said " yea but they were priced accordingly" even though this wasn't the case, in his eyes if a you find a pretty darn good deal you should assume the snakes are bleeding from the mouth and dying?...
I understand exactly where you're coming from. One of the snakes I purchased earlier this year was really sick when I purchased her, and she was unable to recover. It's almost natural to want to trust the person selling and caring for animals, especially when you take great care with your own. I never thought of going into a deal thinking that the person on the other side was deceitful or not forthcoming in any way.

Nothing wrong with being thorough if you continue to purchase reptiles. I feel much more comfortable purchasing from someone who is willing to answer questions and provide the necessary feedback. After all, it protects both the buyer and the seller in the long run.

I'm so happy for you, though. I'm glad you'll be able to welcome some lovely snakes back into your life on your own terms.
 
Old 01-04-2016, 05:07 PM   #7
snowgyre
Man, you had a real string of bad luck there! I guess if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger (aka wiser?). There are many good guys out there to offset the bad though, the trick is getting to know who's who.

I think it's wise to keep your collection small. If you haven't already, I recommend creating a plan of action for growing up holdbacks, retiring or selling snakes that no longer meet your breeding goals (if breeding is a priority over simply having pets), etc.

Welcome back, fellow addict!
 
Old 01-04-2016, 07:13 PM   #8
AbsoluteApril
Welcome back! I am also sorry to hear of all those bad dealings and issues you had to go through. I could see that causing burn out and wanting to give up. Glad to have you back. It sounds like you are in a good place with a well thought out plan for the boas. I hope you will share photos of them when you can.

Boa = Best Of All
 
Old 01-05-2016, 02:01 PM   #9
bear
Thanks guys, and funny story... The jungle sunglow male is off. I probed further after paying and he mentioned it had a large lump on it's nose... asked for more pics again of the head from a different angle and there's no way I was buying that one. Also mentioned that it wasn't eating sporadically because it was cooled for breeding (which I never noticed with boas)... Long story short my gut was saying all these new developments stunk of old bad luck and I wanted out, I asked for a refund and he obliged with no resistance. He seemed like a very nice guy and maybe the snake did just have a severe nose rub that he failed to mention and maybe it was just a little too cool, but personally I wouldn't be selling an animal that was behaving like that with no mention.


So I'm once again on the hunt for a male I'm definitely thinking I want a jungle sunglow though and they are few and far between these days!
 
Old 01-05-2016, 02:08 PM   #10
Effykins
Sorry that the sunglow didn't work out for you, but in your situation, I'd say it's better safe than sorry. I'm glad to hear that the seller was very understanding, though!
 

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