Hi guys, my name is Tyler Golden. I’ve always been super passionate about animals in general and have had everything from snakes and lizards to tarantulas and hamsters over the years. Recently I’ve been wanting to get into the breeding and business side of the hobby. I live in a very rural town where pet shops don’t do well because of the limited population and high overhead for business locations. So I would want it to be more of a home and online based business. I’m not sure how that is looked at by the reptile community but it’s the only realistic option I have. But I was wanting to get advice from people who have either done this and established themselves or have some input on the matter. Also I am interested in what you guys think a good place to start would be. I’m not really interested in ball pythons because the market is flooded with them and the different types. But also would like to keep the start up reasonable financially in case it doesn’t work out with my area and market. So, thoughts, input and advice?
As far as a good place to start, breed what you like. The ball market seems flooded but there is still plenty of room and they are beginner friendly. A lot of people give breeding a try and give up because it costs a lot to get started and you wont make that money back quickly unless you start with a big investment in adult animals that are ready to go. A lot of colubrids do really well too, like corn snakes, hognose, and king snakes. There is a ton of room for niche snakes and lizards as well but information on care and breeding will be spottier as you stray from the mainstream.
Make sure you can cover the necessities. Since pet shops are limited, you will probably want to breed your own rats/mice for feeders. Shipping will be important so know where your nearest FedEx shipping center is and how to use one of the reptile shipping services. You will need to build or buy a lot of stuff. Racks for rats/mice, racks for adults, racks for hatchlings, racks for grow out, and an incubator to name a few. They don’t have to be huge racks but its still an expense you will have to consider.
Above all, know how to care for the animals. My first step was to buy a few ball pythons as a pets and raise them for a year while learning everything about what they needed to thrive.
Make sure you know your local laws. Some states require a permit to own, breed, or sell certain animals.
Best advice is to breed what you love working with! That way you’ll always be excited about selling others on them or keeping around what doesn’t sell.
Morphmarket, MRC, social media, and a nearby FedEx ship center can usually connect you with interested buyers, even of the obscure.
Once you decide on what you want to breed there may be strategies for getting started within that species. For example, buying only nice females the first year, and powerhouse males later.
What are some of your favorite species to work with?