So you wanna be a sand boa breeder…
Here is article guaranteed to get your minds thinking. I want to first start off by saying this isn’t meant to take shots at anyone or offend. The purpose is to hopefully get people thinking and figuring out where they fall in regards to breeding sand boas.As our little corner of the reptile world grows and welcomes new members I see an alarming trend with new keepers. Shiny bright new faces pop up in our world, full of questions and newfound love for sand boas. It doesn’t take long before these new faces are buying sand boas. The buying and question asking speeds up very quickly and in no time that first purchase turns into large collections of sands. We all joke about the addiction of buying , but it can be real easy to buy a collection quickly. Thoughts turn to breeding super quick. The old adage of “you have to crawl before you walk” has turned into “running full speed from the start”. In most of these cases your talking about people amassing sand boa collections in a year (or less) but still with no real experience keeping the snakes for any length of time. Many of you have heard me go on and on about gaining experience through working with your snakes – I preach this for a reason people.
My main focus on this article is to speak about the breeding aspects. Here are some thoughts to consider :
A) Have you looked into and studied the market for selling offspring?
Anyone can throw a male/female together and if everything lines up, produce babies. But, what are you producing? Are you just producing babies for a saturated market? Are you producing babies that people want? Quality vs quantity.
B) Are you prepared financially to house and feed those babies?
Lets say you have decided to become a breeder. You breed 5 females and they all become gravid. All 5 deliver healthy litters with 10 babies each. You now have 50 more little ones to set up in individual housing and feed, in addition to your original sands. Have you thought ahead and purchased that rack(or racks) stocked up the freezer with pinkies? Have you found a reliable consistent mouse breeder or set up your own colony? All these things take time and money. Money you haven’t made yet by breeding sands. Oh….and don’t forget the additional time you will spend working with and keeping all those babies.
C) Market price, undercutting prices…
So lets assume at this point you have fat healthy feeding babies. Now you join the community as a seller. Do you know market prices for your babies? Do you have the patience to sit on those babies for as long as it takes to sell them? Are you in it for the money only and don’t care if you cut the price of the market so long as you “get yours” ??? I have seen new people that produced a litter, offered them for sale and went into panic mode within a week and started dumping prices.
Another thing I have seen and I`ll use it as an example is what I call killing a price. I put normal kenyans for sale at $50.00 ea. I have seen other offer the same normal for $25.00ea. Now we all know price breaks, discount for multiple purchases do happen with some breeders. At what point does it become not cost effective to produce normals as a breeder? In most cases, people won’t pay $50-$60 shipping on a purchase of a $25.00 normal sand boa.
Ahh, here ‘s a tough one. In my mind, every kenyan is a cute faced pretty little boy or girl. But as a breeder, I have to produce sands that people wanna buy or I`m gonna have 4659802 sands in my collection. If I produce 10 litters of het anery babies I`m gonna sit on them forever. If you have 3 anery females and a normal male do you really need to breed all 3 of those girls just so you can call yourself a breeder?
E) Money Factor
Are you in it for the money only? If you undercut everyone, offer less than healthy babies, poor feeding babies, and don’t give a damn about the market, how far do you think your gonna go? I can tell you this much,…if you are only in it for the buckets of money you think you are going to make – YOU WILL FAIL .
F) Building a Reputation
Once you start to breed and sell babies , you are creating your reputation based on your integrity. Remember, we are in the internet age. If you screw some poor sucker in some backyard deal or online sale, or little regional show, people will find out. Your reputation is something you should take very seriously. You and only you have control over that.
I hope this article will help people understand that there’s so much more to throwing 2 snakes together and start making babies. Also I hope nobody will take this article as me being a breeder who wants to keep new breeders out of the market. Truth is, I am still a buyer in the market and many of you will have me as a future customer. I like pretty new sand boas just like the next guy. I think there’s plenty of room for everyone in our market, we just need to be smart about how we handle that. If anyone needs clarification on that, take a look at the ball market.
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