I need info on Reptile Breeding

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I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby F1refly » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:36 pm

Hey guys

Its been quite a long time since I've posted here, mainly due to not really having many reptiles

So the reason I started the thread is, basically, a friend of mine is looking to start a buisness with some sort of reptile. He has asked me a number of times if there is money to made breeding them. I do know there is but so far my experience is just keeping them, not breeding.

So tomorrow he is coming to see me about this, and I've been tasked with finding out more. Specifically, if you can make a return on your investment. I need to know where to begin, what animals to begin with, if he should start small (breeding normals) and work his way up or go for the pricier morphs/reptiles right in the beginning.

Is it worthwhile or are there just too many people?

I honestly don't even know what to ask but if you guys have any feedback or ideas or even articles, I would be grateful.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll try my best to answer
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Viper_SA » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:13 pm

My 2 cents' worth: you need to crawl before you walk. Starting out with pricier morphs will yield bigger returns faster, but will people be willing to shell out their hard earned cash on a pricey snake from a breeder with no word-of-mouth reputation? I personally think the market in south africa is too small to make a living just out of breeding reptiles with no other source of income.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby F1refly » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:33 pm

I agree, which is partly why he wants me to find this stuff out first before he goes into it willy nilly. I just have no idea what info to give him tomorrow other than to start small and that its not easy to use as your main source of income...
"Welcome to Megaton, the Bomb is perfectely safe" - Deputy Weld, Fallout 3

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Reptiles
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Jaredr » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:23 am

I just hope that he has the love, passion and time for the animals that is needed. Making money on selling reptiles isn't something that will happen over night. If he has not kept anything before, I would suggest he starts with a juvenile reptile and learn to understand the sp. first before even considering to breed it. Is he prepared to eventually have, say 30 little mouths to feed, the space to keep them and the time to keep up to their husbandary requirements.
Basically, keep a reptile first, see what it is about and then consider going into it. I know it has taken top breeders many many many years to get to the point where they at now, with PLENTY money being spent, not only being made. I wish your mate good luck and once he gets the bite of reptile fever, the addiction begins!!!!!
My opinion, these are living creatures and shouldn't only be kept for the financial benefit, but for the absolute enjoyment of being able to come home from work to be with them.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Bushviper » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:35 pm

There are numerous articles and videos about how to run a successful reptile breeding business. It is all theory and unless you have the passion you might as well forget it.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby moe » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:45 pm

My opinion breed for the passion and the love of it....

The way i see it and maybe im wrong but 90% of the biggest best known trustworthy breeders in RSA started off with the PASSION AND LOVE.

Those breeders still have that same passion for reptiles today!

First comes the love and passion for the animals last comes the money.

Bushviper explained it to me very brilliantly at a course

"Happy well looked after snakes breed"

I can lay my head down on block here if theres no passion and drive and love for them they not looked after the way they supposed to be looked after & they dont breed.

So id say before he does it let him make sure if his prepared to spend tons of money keeping those reptiles happy thats the key thing in my opinion...

Hope it helps.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Savu » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:16 pm

I also rekon breeding reptiles to make a living in S.A is very difficult,and the new legislation in place will just make it more difficult. However there is nothing wrong with giving it a go. But don't quit your dayjob just yet,haha!! Most of the guys would love to make money out of their hobby,there's nothing wrong with that.Every one goes on about dedication and passion,but that's normal in any business,whether you sell snakes or cars. Without that u'll probably fail.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby F1refly » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:08 pm

All very useful information, but let me explain this a little better. My friend breeds lovebirds as his main thing. He doesn't like reptiles, but is looking for something else to supplement his existing setup. Basically, he wants to go 50/50 with me. He supplies the money, I supply myself to do the work, like feeding, breeding, cleaning et cetera. This I'm fine with, but I personally feel that the market is fairly saturated at the moment. Everyone is trying to become the next big breeder. Which I understand. I'd like for something like this to work, but I first need some rough information on where to start. The South African market is fairly different from overseas, where all the breeders of the really nice morphs are.

What, in everyones opinion, would be the best to start out with? I understand it might take a few months to make any return, but he understands that. Should we start out with the common stuff and attempt to sell to Petshops? Should we diversify with a few pairs of different reps? Maybe worthwhile tapping into the indigenous market?
"Welcome to Megaton, the Bomb is perfectely safe" - Deputy Weld, Fallout 3

"People don't die in America because of lack of Health Insurance. People die in America because people die in America" - Stephen Colbert

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Reptiles
1.0.0 Python regius
0.1.0 Pogona vitticeps
0.0.1 Elaphe guttata guttata
0.0.1 Eublepharis macularis
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Bushviper » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:26 pm

Just because I have some time I will tell you a whole long story.

You can make money by following a few different ideas. Breeding indigenous is possible but look at the export market. You want a species that is easy to breed easy to raise and sought after overseas. My choice would be golden or yellow Cape cobras. No sub standard brown stuff or dirty coloured stock. The best and prettiest snakes you can find. A decent proven breeding pair of Auroras would also be a good investment. If they are on permit you should be able to move about 20 or 30 per year at good prices.

Your cages have to be the best on the market. The snakes have to have a battery backup system for all heating etc. The room must be dedicated for them and be temperature controlled and each cage has to also be controlled by the best thermostats you can find. A fire extinguishing system has to be installed and alarms for fire and smoke are a must. Video cameras to check for theft would also be a great investment. Store the images and video in the cloud

The food has to be best quality around. They must be fed the best foods and there must be excess food at all times. This excess can be sold off as frozen stock every three months because that is how long it will take to restock your breeders if something goes wrong. You need three months supply in the freezer at any given time. Your snakes must never want for food and also must not be over fed either.

Breeding exotics for the local market is also a science. You need to be cheaper than the prices overseas and that way nobody can flood your market. So take the dollar or euro price and add about 25% for taxes and costs and make that your price.

Then you have to buy the highest quality animal you can find, not the highest quality you can afford. This is more important when working with morphs. A dirty pastel ball python will make dirty pastel babies while a stunning clean lemon pastel will make stunning babies. A so so hypo boa constrictor will make so so sunglows while a pastel salmon boa will make amazing sunglows. Rather breed less high quality animals than loads of poor quality animals. This is even more apparent when you have competition in your business.

Each year plan to keep back about 10% of the babies. You have to keep the nicest stock back as well as any possible hets that you produced. That is the only way you can stay ahead of your own customers. Look to the future and with morphs try to always strive for nicer animals. Do not try to force a sale on a customer who is going to be competing with you. If he wants to buy an albino and a het anery because he wants to make poss snows in two generations then let him do that. Dont empower your competition while still being honest. Dont try to convince him that the anery het albino would be a better mate if he has made up his mind. Dont try to convince him the other way around either. Many of them will have done their homework and if they catch you out you can forget about getting ahead. If you flat out lie to them and they find out you will be ruined.

If you have possible hets and you are trying something new then sell the males in one province and the females in another province or pair them up with unrelated stock and sell them all as normal pairs. Never sell a het unless you are 100% sure you know if has that gene in it. For a few rands your reputation can be ruined. Same with sexes. Make sure you are selling the correct sex.

If they want advice on keeping and breeding you have to tell them enough to keep the snakes healthy and happy and breeding because they will become return customers. You do not have to tell them any tips that you have learnt that will give them the edge. If you know how to double clutch your snakes they dont need that information. They do however have to know how to cycle their snakes and breed them at least once.

Make sure your paperwork is all up to date and that you can replicate what you did year after year. Dont guess about how many meals the snake had or how many weeks after shedding you put them together. This has to be recorded somewhere. You have to know what the humidity was the day the mated and the week before or else how will know what it should be next time? Use a temp gun and check the temperatures of the snakes when they were mating or basking or ovulating or whatever and weigh the snakes regularly to check on their general health.

Quarantine all new animals for at least 6 weeks. Do not do breeding loans where you just drop in a snake you have just acquired. That can spread disease and parasites rather rapidly.

Plan on breeding all your females every year but realise that you will possibly only breed less than half of them. That is just the way things work. Have enough males so that they can impregnate all the females you offer. For some species you can use a single male on multiple females (ball pythons leopard geckos etc) while in others multiple males per female are a better idea (boa constrictors, rattlers etc) and with others the male will kill the female if he thinks it might be another male from the smell of a previous mating (Madagascan boas). Know the breeding habits of each snake species.

Try getting a species which is not readily available (if possible) like sub-species of Rosy boas, Temple vipers,White lipped pythons, certain Day geckos or Amazon basin emerald boas and try to make them your "claim to fame" and breed them by doing all the right things properly. That way even when the prices of other snakes might fluctuate you have a corner of the market that always pays the bills.

Remember you have to breed "pet shop" reptiles and exclusive reptiles all at the same time. Unless you want to sell 2 pairs of Boelens pythons a year and make no other sales you need to sell all the rat snakes and kings snakes that you can to keep ticking over. There is still a market for ball pythons and corn snakes as long as you go about it properly.

Good luck
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby F1refly » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:14 pm

Image

This is perfect information. Mind if I print it out and give it to him as a sort of guide? I want him to understand that it will only work if he is willing to make it work and have high standards. So thanks BV
"Welcome to Megaton, the Bomb is perfectely safe" - Deputy Weld, Fallout 3

"People don't die in America because of lack of Health Insurance. People die in America because people die in America" - Stephen Colbert

"Just because you don't understand how electricity works, doesn't mean it's the work of god"

Reptiles
1.0.0 Python regius
0.1.0 Pogona vitticeps
0.0.1 Elaphe guttata guttata
0.0.1 Eublepharis macularis
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby Bushviper » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:24 pm

Thanks. Yes print it and remind yourself from time to time.
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Re: I need info on Reptile Breeding

Postby passionforreptiles » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:01 am

I have an idea how someone could make money exporting to USA. Right now a lot of US breeders cannot reproduce African lizards very effectively. The flame bellied girdled lizard and armadillo lizards both command high prices. There is a good market for African, legitimate CB stock. I bet you could make a good deal of money by becoming known as the go to guy for those two species alone. To be honest, I think the whole morph thing is really stupid, and I hope the next phase is working with species that are awesome and figuring out how to reproduce and keep them.
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