by April Justine
I have seen posts over and over again that read “ISO adult pair of ______” or “I need a male for my female so I can breed”. And while some people do end up breeding amazing animals, breeding is not for everyone or meant for every animal. This may sound hypocritical since Terrell and I do breed but a lot of thought has gone into what we are going to produce and why. We use each other to keep ourselves in check so one is not breeding something without an intended purpose. With that said, here are the top 5 reasons NOT to get into breeding.
5) Not every animal is equal. When breeding, the purpose should be to make babies that are even better than the adults or a step in that direction. This can be through looks or the genetic variability within the species. If you put together two drab snakes you will likely get drab babies. Take two normal blood pythons, for example. Put them side by side and see one is browned out and the other is a deep red. Both are normals, but the deep red blood has had years and years of selective breeding to make better and redder offspring. Now I am not saying one has more intrinsic worth than the other, but I am saying those two snakes are not equal normals. We do not have to breed every single animal we own. Terrell and I both have animals that are just pets and that is 100% okay.
4) Your snake could die during the process. The reality is that complications do occur. It is less likely that a male will have complications, but when a female is laying eggs many things can go wrong. Females can get become egg bound. If those eggs do not get out of her, she could die. When a female is actively laying things completely out of our control can happen resulting in the snake’s death. Even the most experienced keeper cannot prevent all mishaps. When you love your pet as much as you do, do you really want to risk possibly losing her?
3) Not everything goes perfectly. Eggs go bad. The incubator malfunctions and fries all the clutches. Babies die in the egg. Things happen and it can be devastating. I hatched out some corn snakes and had escapes- No worries. They show up after a while… Well one did show up when I was putting my laundry in the dryer. I washed the snake and killed it and I was devastated. I had a friend’s corn snake accidentally lay eggs and only 3 hatched. They were problem eaters from the start and only one made it. She said it was the worst emotional roller coaster she and her kids have had to go through. And when you get a problem feeder it is the most frustrating thing ever. It’s almost like you want it to live more than it wants to live. Breeding is not always rainbows and sunshine!
2) You are likely to get stuck with babies that don’t sell. There are a ton of normal ball pythons out there so why do we need to introduce more? There are a ton of normal brown blood pythons that are being sold so why should we produce more? I am not saying that these animals are ugly or have less worth but you have to consider supply and demand. We don’t want the demand to be lower than the supply. When that happens, you will get stuck with a ton of babies to care for; especially if your network within the hobby is on the smaller side. If you are going to breed, make sure you have enough money, space, and time to care for the whole clutch just in case there are no willing buyers.
1) You will not make money. I repeat; you will not make money. Breeding is expensive. You have to buy the food for the adults to grow them up so they are healthy enough to produce. Not to mention the bedding and the electric bill that goes with keeping reptiles. You have to get some sort of incubator. Then once the babies arrive you have 5-30 mouths to feed every 5-7 days- more mouths if you breed multiple clutches. That’s a pretty penny is you do the math for feeders. If you are lucky you will break even and the hobby will pay for itself. People looking to be the next big thing and make so much money are in for a shock. To make enough money to live off you would have to have a HUGE collection and produce a lot of snakes. I personally do not want that large of a collection.
We are lucky enough to be able to keep a bit of nature in our homes so enjoy the animals for what they are- beautiful creatures! Alright, I’ll get off my soap box now.