Hot Takes on Reptiles

So while searching through the forums on here, I’ve found myself disagreeing with some popular opinions, and have discussed some of my personal takes on reptiles, their care, and breeding. I thought it would be interesting to see some people’s unpopular opinions or “hot takes” on reptiles. There isn’t a topic on this that I’ve seen so I though I would make one. This is for friendly discussion and debate, and is not made to call people out on differing opinions.

For me, one of my personal hot takes is that spider ball pythons aren’t as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Especially since most videos or “proof” of this morph having a bad head wobble that affects their quality of life is taken when the snake is already stressed out, and in a compromising situation to make it seem worse than it is.

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I agree with you one the spider bps… We have two bumblebees that are two of our favorite snakes out of the collection. Great personalities with no wobble or problems eating. I think that when responsibly kept and bred spiders are amazing.

I get a lot of grief from people when I take in rescues. Not really on this forum but on social media. “Why would you bring reptile mites into your home to infect your clean collection?! That’s not right for your snakes!” and “You could bring horrible disease into your collection!” They are also very astonished when I bring these animals back to health and keep them to add to my collection or breeding program.

  1. You risk bringing reptile mites and disease into your home/collection EVERY time you bring a new animal home no matter the origin of that animal. That is what quarantine is for and why it should be practiced.

  2. If I can give an animal a better quality of life I will. Even if it is only for a while and it passes happily from old age. Reptile mites, when treated and controlled correctly, are not that bad to remove. Scale rot heals in most cases and severe cases take added care. Vet care goes a long way for an animal.

  3. Duh, I am gonna keep this reptile after it is back to health. It has already been through so much. Let it relax and have a comfy living.

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This is going to be a sticky thread to clean up :yum:

My “hot take”…

Just because someone has a YouTube channel with a wall full of racks/enclosures behind them doesn’t mean they are giving good advice.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t great keepers on there giving out good advice. There is!
There are some veterans on there giving you information that 10 years ago was only available if you purchased a book or were part of the “circle”.

But just because someone can keep you entertained for 15-20 doesn’t mean they are good at keeping reptiles, it means they are good communicating with a camera.

Stay vigilant :wink:

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Very true!

one of the trust thing you could have said

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I’ve been hoping someone would create a thread like this for a while now, it’s going to be a great read.

This was recently touched on in another recent thread, but mine is that 99% of the time someone posts a picture of their snake with the caption “I bought this as a Morph A but could it be a Morph B?” it’s exactly what the breeder sold it as. I see posts on Reddit/Facebook all the time where people buy a ball python fo $50 and end up thinking it’s some rare morph worth $2000, but never stop to question why a breeder would sell them a $2k snake for $50. There was someone the other week on reddit showing off a picture of a breeding size ball python that someone had given them and they thought it was a female desert ghost. Sir, that is a butter, no one is giving away healthy 1500+ gram desert ghost females (although if anyone is, I volunteer to take one).
That’s not to say you can’t end up with a “bonus gene” in a snake you bought or find a great deal occasionally, but more often than not, when you hear hoofbeats, think horse - not zebra.

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Mine is that I am staring my snake by not feeding it every week. There are so many people that get so mad over this, it is breaks my heart. I mean it can happen that once and a time that people don’t know, it crazy for people that breed snakes can’t know. A male BI doesn’t need to be fed once a week 2-2.5 his girth at 2 almost 3 years old.

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I agree with everything said so far! My own “hot take” would be the misconception that BPs can’t thrive in an enclosure and have to be in a rack or tub in order to feel comfortable. I personally keep mine in racks, but only because I don’t have enough room (or money) to have that many enclosures. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against keeping them in racks (obviously because I keep mine in them lol), but my very first ball python was kept in an enclosure and she did fantastic, almost never skipped a meal (unless she was in shed), explored it at night, used both her hot and cold hides, etc. I also kept any new ball pythons that I bought in an enclosure to be able to monitor their behavior better and they also did well, usually eating for me only a few days after settling in. Now, obviously if your snake(s) do feel more comfortable in a smaller setup or a tub, then do whatever makes them comfortable, I’m just saying that it isn’t impossible to have them be happy in an enclosure.

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Agreed with everything here! And while some youtubers are really good at taking care of their animals, I would always advise to do your own research instead of just listening to a few good guys on a video platform. And yeah, it may end up being a mess, but I figured it would make a good discussion! Hopefully everything will stay civil

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I agree with everyone here as well.
My spider ball pythons are all wonderful animals and have minimal to no wobble. I only notice wobble when they’re being handled (for the more stress-prone ones) or when they’re being fed.

My hot take? I notice a rather concerning issue with pet keepers in particular, when it comes to the more “controversial” topics.
They don’t do proper research. They listen to one or two pet YouTubers, decide that’s who they agree with, and are quick to jump on anyone who thinks differently.
Sad part is, they don’t even use logical arguments a lot of the time, they typically just resort to ad hominem attacks if you don’t immediately agree with them.

I could go on and on about the insults, accusations, and assumptions these pet keepers have made towards me, all because they think their way of doing things is the only right way. I’ve never had these issues with other breeders, even when I’ve asked their opinions on my decisions.
Some things I’ve been attacked over:

  • Keeping and breeding spider morph ball pythons
  • Keeping my snakes in racks with a minimalistic setup
  • Feeding live to my ball pythons (Do note that I don’t feed anything bigger than a weaned/small rat, and I closely supervise every snake that is fed to make sure nothing goes wrong.)
  • Because I got snake mites once (Which… I treated and got rid of them within a month or so)
  • Because a snake in my care died (They accused me of “cooking” the snake because I had the thermostat set to 90°F… though I determined this was not my fault, but the previous owners’ fault for not feeding the correct food — this was a baby garter snake for clarification.)
  • Accused me of all of my snakes being overweight (only one has been a bit overweight, but she’s also been an extremely fast grower and a piggy with food…)
  • Made the assumption that my ball pythons were all stressed because… my ball pythons… were balling up.
  • Said I didn’t clean my tubs and left them messy… and when I asked where this was posted… the person referred me to a picture of two of my snakes I bred last year. Because, y’know, breeding snakes don’t make messes of their enclosures, right?

Anyways, I think more pet keepers need to be aware of how things are on the breeders’ side of things, and not jump to conclusions based on what they think is “right”.
And stop with the ad hominem attacks against people who think differently. I honestly just block and ignore people like that now, and IMO I think people who resort to insults are just uneducated idiots. No joke.

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Ohhh goodness… where do I start? Let’s start with cohabitation, or more specifically, the cohabitation of bearded dragons. While I understand that cohabitation comes with risks no matter what; I believe that those risks can be largely mitigated when certain criteria are met, and for me personally the rewards outweigh the risks when this is done. I also believe that when it comes to bearded dragons these days too many people keeping them are afraid to take any risks whatsoever which means that they are also not expanding their own knowledge as much as they could. Now I understand that people don’t want to take unnecessary risks with their animals, and I would never ask anyone to do so, but many of these people take it a step further and not only do they tell others what to or not to do they also berate them publicly with little to no personal experience to back them up. So you end up with countless dragons living in enclosures that are kept in near lab-like conditions with little to no stimulation who end up either over-weight and lethargic or the under-weight and emaciated. Simple cages with no substrate, nothing to climb on, never having to chase or forage for any food only being fed from a dish and never interacting with or learning from other dragons. My goal as a keeper is not simply to do the bare minimum to ensure the survival of my animals; no, my goal is to observe them acting as naturally as possible while eliminating the stresses of predation, starvation, and exposure to extreme conditions. Recently someone I’ve been helping was beat up in a beardy group over housing hatchling clutchmates together. As long as their is sufficient space and resources baby dragons tend to do better in groups than separately, and if anyone thinks that breeders are housing babies individually they are just not living in the same reality the rest of us are I guess.

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Based on my interactions with the public that are instigated by the presence of my bearded dragon, who is my state-certified companion therapy animal:

  1. Reptiles are probably smarter than most people think.
  2. Not every reptile is suited for everyone who wants to keep and/or breed reptiles.
  3. Iguanas are a terrible, terrible choice of pet for most people–especially beginners. (Watching first-time owners at close range has contributed to this opinion.)
  4. I’m routinely appalled by the number of people who ask me if my bearded dragon is an iguana!

I rarely get to interact with experienced reptile keepers, especially in person, and when I do I savor the treat.

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Woah! Those enclosures are awesome! Gorgeous dragons too.

My hot take: Leopard geckos don’t have to be kept on paper towels or tile and you’re not the most horrible person in the world if you do. Mine are kept on reptisoil with a ceramic tile on one side of the tank. None of my 4 have ever been impacted and they aren’t so stupid as to shovel soil into their mouths. The loose substrate benefits them as I notice them digging and “redecorating” fairly frequently.

Another one, leopard geckos don’t need a heating pad. In fact, I’d say there are better heat sources. Mine have ceramic heaters and I’ve noticed them out basking on their tiles or on top of hides. They also tend to use more of their enclosures and are generally more alert. Not to say heating pads are bad. The ceramic heaters(on thermostats of course) just seem to create a better heat gradient.

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I agree 100%! Leopard geckos naturally don’t live on paper towel nor tile, and I think it creates a lot of enrichment for them to give them loose substrate.

My main pet peeve when it comes to reptile keeping is probably when I see large/active colubrids in racks (like rat snakes and king snakes). Both really love to climb/explore, and letting them do so is one of the best things for them. Eastern rat snakes especially like climbing as they are semi-arboreal, and honestly need to climb imo. Most are also curious and like watching the world around them (most are sight based hunters) so keeping them in tanks is generally good for them. Another snake that should be allowed to climb are retics. Keeping them as over-weight slugs in small enclosures is just wrong, but sadly even some of the largest breeders do it. (If you want to know any PM me).

Another thing that irritates me is people that over feed their snakes. Despite popular belief they DO NOT need food every week once they have stopped growing, and even when they are still growing you can over feed them by doing that. I have seen so many overweight BPs/retics/burms/kingsnakes/rat snakes and basically every other snake for sell even on MM, that I am beginning to give up hope if people will ever learn what a healthy snake looks like.

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I would love to see what you would recommend as a good set up for kings and rats, as I’ve been interested in keeping both!
And yes, the amount of times I’ve seen an oversight retic pretty much outweighs the healthy weight ones, even when I went to a reptile education show, the burmese they had was severely oversight.

Haha I’d be afraid to maybe NOT overfeed a burmese or any large snake that could get hungry and take me as food. I’m not a snake keeper but it does bother me when any pet owner does not give enrichment to their reptiles. The breeders I understand the rack system as they have many snakes and probably sell alot of them so they don’t keep them for a long time but should encourage the buyers to give them nice enclosures I think. Then again I don’t have snakes so maybe I’m not the best one to take advise from on them, just talking reptiles/pets in general. My reptiles aren’t rack critters, but my ackie for example needs alot of stimulation and gets bored easily so I constantly have to put something new for him to explore.

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@ashleyraeanne like what @dracenhimitsu78
said I too would like to see what you recommend for partly arboreal colubrids

My “hot take” is Just because you bought the animal from them does not mean they are providing or giving the right care. Some will say one thing but do another also. Ex. I got 2 leos from a pet shop who is also on MorphMarket (No not a chain a small local) and they said the ol, classic CALCIUM CARBONATE SAND. I will not tell you how long I had geckos on sand. 1.765 years. But, I did my own research and I use coconut coir. Do not comment on me for using the sand in the past or the CC I swear if u do I will… do nothing because I cant do anything. In conclusion do your own thorough research for your animals.

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The thing that bothers me most is people who jump to conclusions about husbandry from a single picture that does not look exactly like their own set up and then start spouting unsolicited advice. I have kept herps long enough to know that there is more than one correct way do things. As long a animals are healthy and their needs are being met there is no reason to discourage people. One of my best friends when I was in Charleston, SC was Roark Ferguson. I would be surprised if at least a few on didn’t know him ( or at least know of him) He passed in 2014 so some younger people may not . He was one of the first people I know of that kept reptiles in tubs (this was early 1990s). I was very much into naturalistic habitats, live plants, the works. But he had very healthy animals and successfully bred them. I also had very healthy animals and successfully bred them. We would often compare notes and discuss reptiles but it was never an argument. I actually built my first racks, used only for keeping hatchlings. based on conversations with him and the need to better monitor their health and feeding. It is funny that people will defend things like breeding animals with known birth defects (no specifics to avoid arguments) and say it is OK because the snake can “eat, poop, hide and breed” but they will jump all over a thing like cohabitation or not using a thermostat. even if that animal can also “eat, poop, hide and breed” I guess the point is that we all get enough grief from people who do not like reptiles, we should show a little more civility to those who do and maybe reserve our criticisms for people who actually ask for our opinions. And then, just for S&G once a point has been made about a potential husbandry error, maybe everyone does not have to pile on. I have seen people who post once on here get beat up badly and never seem to post again. I think we, as a community can do better.

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