Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

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Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby Bushviper » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:55 pm

Reasons why "cheap snakes" are always a bad idea, and how to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Why would you want to buy a cheap snake?

Cheap snakes are usually sub standard, weak or sick individuals. Paying less for the snake could cost you dearly in the long run when vet bills start to pile up. Usually people who are looking out for a cheap snake do not have that money so the snake suffers in any case.

A cheap snake is often seen to be less worthy of proper care and that is usually what it is left with. Most cheap snakes will have a life of misery in any case. Usually it is also a short life.

Some people also try this sales tactic so that the buyer thinks he is rescuing the snake and then the seller just lines up the next one for a “bleeding heart” to purchase.

People buying cheap snakes often do not have the right caging which then leads to environmental stress for the animal. Not having decent heating and or thermostats and thermometers will usually shorten the snake’s life span.

These people often do not have enough food of the right quality and will feed day old chicks and sub standard rodents because they cannot afford the “good stuff’.

Often the people who seek out “cheap snakes” will mate it with whatever they can lay their hands on and either produce hybrids which they might not disclose or else they will use any ugly mate and just produce more sub-standard animals. This cycle then just continues.

If someone wants to sell you a cheap animal in a hurry then it can be for various reasons. Usually the snake is not worth full market value because it defective and they want to sell it before it dies.

Even if you do not intend to breed the animal would you rather have a stunning example or a low grade example which will cost the same to house and feed in any case?

The snake could also be one from a reasonably large clutch and the seller cannot provide for them all. So obviously they have been thrown in one big cage and fed sparingly, if at all. A true breeder has the facilities to look after the babies for many months.

If it is a “breeding pair” or a “breeding female” there can often be something wrong with the animals because why would you get rid of a snake or snakes you have lovingly raised. If they have just lost interest, then that does not happen overnight and this usually means the snake was not looked after for quite some time before the tipping point arrived. You could be lucky but often the snake is already thin. This can put “breeding” back by another year so this is not always a bargain.

It may be because they have a newer morph or they are emigrating or some other reasonable reason but this is the minority. It is possible that even responsible people move to areas where these reptiles are not allowed or they get married or have decided to not keep venomous snakes or large constrictors or some other reasonable explanation. Then you could get a bargain.

Sometimes you will find someone has a sale for a limited time (like an expo or a one day offer) then it can be because they have numerous customers for the day or possibly need funding for another project and you could get lucky so not all bargains are dodgy.

If you get a genuine discount from a breeder do not go and post it on all the websites because people who paid the full price will avoid that breeder in future as their project has just been de-valued. This usually happens if there are too many of a sex available or if that is the last snake and does not have a mate. Getting to know the breeders can also qualify you for a “mate rate”.


Why a breeder should never give away a snake. This snake is then regarded as something which has zero value. As such, nobody is going to spend money on its care and upkeep. It is far better to just euthanase this animal. In the past I have given away snake with minor defects and most of the time they end up leading a sad existence.

If you are in doubt then see where the adverts are placed. On this forum you can go look how many times the seller has posted and have his posts been meaningful and decent contributions. If the person has never interacted then rather wait for one which other keepers have mentioned that they got their animals from. You can also enquire who has dealt with this person and see what responses you get.

If the person does not have an address or wants to meet at the garage and the sale is done out of a boot then walk away. If he does not want to show you his collection that is still reasonable because this can take time and theft is a reality. If he wants to meet you at his work that is also acceptable because then you can track him down if something has gone wrong with the deal. If the person only wants to sms or BBM and does not actually answer your calls then walk away.

If the snake is a “het xxx” morph then it is reasonable to expect photographs of the parents mating and the female laying eggs as well as the eggs hatching. If they are not time stamped then it becomes more of a problem. If they are not prepared to give you a signed photograph of your specific animal with their signature on it then only pay the normal price.

Recently there have been quite a few scams on “free advert” websites. If the buyer will not at least send you a photo on your animal taken on a local newspaper with today’s date on it then it probably does not exist except in the imagination of a Nigerian or Cameroon scammer. If they want a loving home for a tame snake which has had all its inoculations and you only have to pay freight then don’t bother even emailing him again.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.
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Re: Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby Herald_23 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:24 pm

Excellent article with good merit.
Often though, you'll come across snakes in bad cage conditions that causes you to just buy the snake off of them. Be careful of high prices with these situations. Also, always check the cage setup, diet and a photo of a recent stool- healthy being a dark brown almost black
The lion does not fear the jackal
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Re: Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby kfc223 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:31 pm

Great article Arno!

I agree with you, I would never buy a "cheap" snake, I always save up to get good stock from reputable breeders. Another reason I don't support pet shops.
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Re: Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby Kev » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:31 pm

Yip, great post Arno.
I totally agree.
Almost all the "cheap snakes" I have got in the past have cost a lot to get into good health, be it time, money, patience or all of the above.
Snakes that I have purchased form reputable breeds thrive in comparison and are a pleasure to keep.
Even if you keep a snake as a pet with no intension of breeding it. I would imagine people would be happy to pay the extra money for a snake that will give you many years of pleasure as apposed to constant problems.
Unfortunately a lot of people want a quick fix and jump at the first well price animal they can find, instead of looking for a suitable specimen even if it costs a bit more.
At the end of the day if you cant afford the time and money to look after and care for a pet properly then you should not even consider having it in my opinion.
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Re: Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby Lillypod » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:51 pm

I think this counts for all animals.
3-1-4 Leopard Gecko
1-1-2 Bearded Dragon
0-1 Brown House Snake
2-3 Ball Python
1-1 Western Hognose
1-1 Kenyan Sand Boa
3-2 Corn Snake
0-0-1 Bosc Monitor
0-1 Taiwanese rat snake
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Re: Cheap snakes and buyers remorse

Postby bradmiller » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:04 am

Great article.

I also find it really advantageous to see the way the seller keeps his snakes, if the conditions are bad be prepared for trouble.
I really cant stand seeing snake enclosures that are full of cr@p, old sheds and generally dirty.
You know, you can touch a stick of dynamite, but if you touch a venomous snake it’ll turn around and bite you and kill you so fast it’s not even funny.
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