I love learning from experienced keepers with differing thoughts and ideas. I have two (related) questions that would be helpful in gaining some perspective.
What was the biggest mistake you made in the early days of building your ball python collection?
Knowing what you know now, if you had to start from scratch, how would you do it?
One peice of advice I would like to offer is that you should start off slow and know what your max capacity and budget is for a snake or multiple snakes . As a young teenager around 15 or 16 I got more snakes than I could handle. So now that I know this I would say know what you can handle and offord. Dont be in a rush to go crazy with the snakes or it may just collapse on you and won’t be enjoyable as it should .
What he said. When I first started I had over 150 within a year and a half. It was no fun trying to learn everything I know now with that many lives depending on me.
Make sure you have enough food and tubs/tanks. If you run out of either it is stressful. I try to keep extra of both on hand.
-Do not chase what other people are doing just because it is trendy. Decide what you like and work with it. It does not matter what everyone else thinks, if you do not find joy every time you open a tub then this changes from a hobby into a chore and you start to slack in your care.
-Do not think that you have to breed. I see so many people get into this hobby with plans to breed right from the start. It is possible to keep snakes just for the sake of keeping snakes. Some of my favorite animals in my collection are the ones I will never breed
As a breeder building my collections my main mistakes were the lack of focus and wanting to get into too many things, since I have re-structured once (in the process of the second restructuration) and I learn to focus on 1 to 3 main projects allowing me to actually achieve my goals.
My biggest mistake starting out was buying morphs I liked without keeping my future breeding pairings in mind.
If I had to start over again I’d ONLY buy the exact genes I needed and only get visual reccesives which are yellowbelly, pied, clown, highways, OD, Desert ghost and a few others.
I wish I’d picked up more recessive genes…lol and some double hets. And that’s knowing what I know now. But I’m extremely happy with our genetic lineup and the combos. For us spending a lot of time researching, asking questions. Finding those breeders who had what we felt were some of the best examples we could afford at the time. Maybe should’ve picked up a couple more mature females, while some of those other ones matured.