Buying Mature Snakes

What are somethings to take into consideration when purchasing an older reptile for projects? I’m specifically looking at ball pythons. I see large and older animals come and go on MM, Facebook, Craigslist and a few other classified sites. I’m hesitant to pull the trigger on anything just yet. I haven’t seen anything I would like to work with or the prices are above my pay grade. But when and if I do, should I? I still don’t plan to breed any snakes until the 2021-2022 season regardless of what I end up doing. Are there any risks in bringing in proven or even unproven breeders? Am I asking for trouble? I noticed as some snakes dropped their clutches people had them up for sale almost immediately. I understand rotation and usefulness but am I buying the town bicycle or something that was never taken care of or cared for?

Are there risks? Sure like anything you buy at any age or any size some people are honest some less.

I would definitely turn to a breeder rather than CL.

Now I often get the question why do you sell your proven breeder when I list one, and it is a legitimate question, I think a lot of people assume that if you sell a proven animal there is something wrong with it especially females.

So why are proven animals especially females sold?
Well the answer is easy many breeders chose to have a collection of a certain size to be able to remain hands on with that collection, and ultimately upgrade that collection replacing normal by single gene, single genes by double, hets by visual etc.

So because breeder upgrade their collection (not always in numbers) or change goals they let proven animals go.

Now one thing to remember proven breeders may take longer to adjust to their new environment and may not go that year but other than that buying proven animals is fine.


I’ve bought 2 adult females so far, both of them have been bred before and come from decent breeders. I think that you do need to be more careful when buying adult females, as most breeders do like to keep their adult girls. Some people sell them to make room in their collections, some just don’t fit in the breeder’s plans anymore, some may just not want to lay eggs for some reason and the breeder has no need for them. Definitely ask the breeder why they are selling the snake, if they are reputable then they should be pretty open about it. I have only bred one of my adult girls so far and she laid a beautiful clutch of 11 eggs, all have hatched and are doing amazing. The other girl laid eggs last year with her previous owner and is still a bit small so I’m going to wait until next year to breed her. Just do your research and buy from reputable breeders and you should be alright.

One other thing to consider is what their diet is. It’s a lot harder to switch an adult’s food than a young snake.