Is this a real thing?

I’ve heard about a thing called selling animals with a return clause. Basically this entails selling an animal, usually at a lower price then normal to a breeder. The breeder will then breed the animal for a season or two and then return the animal to the original owner. Is this a real thing or some sort of scam? I have no use for this myself, I’m just very curious about whether people actually loan out their animals to breeders.


To me this sounds more like a contracted breeding loan vs selling with a return clause. I don’t know that I’d trust anyone calling it selling. Breeding loans are a thing in all areas of the pet trade (and in zoos), basically a way to get the genetics you need without adding another animal to your collection permanently. I’ve typically found it’s done more between breeders who know/trust one another well, however, and not widely offered to any breeder out there.


I’ve seen it done more with other species where space is more of an issue and breeders simply can’t keep back every animal they’d like to have in their breeding project. It doesn’t seem nearly as worthwhile in reptiles where there is no registry/pedigree/microchipping and space is less of a constraint usually. I would only consider an arrangement like this with someone who had the same care standards I did, placed the same amount of emphasis on quarantine and health testing, could be reliably trusted to not turn around and sell the animal immediately and there was a real and decided benefit to doing it, which limits the pool pretty substantially


I’ve heard of this being done with male tarantulas. You loan out a male and that male is returned, hopefully (if not eaten) and you get a few of the slings in return.


As the other posters said, this sounds like a contracted breeder loan. It’s basically a good way to ruin a friendship or professorial relationship.


The only time I’ve heard of a “return clause” is if the buyer is unable or does not want to keep the animal anymore, and must return it to the rescue or breeder they got it from. I think I’ve also heard it called a “buyback clause” as well.


100% agree. Way too many ways it can go wrong.


Far too many scams online now for it to be something I’d entertain. Just another way for someone to get a hold of an interesting animal and then disappear.

There are cases where it can work … but only with trusted individuals as said above. I would be very skeptical of anyone contacting me for such an arrangement, especially if the animal must only be sent there.


Personally, I wouldn’t even consider it. I mean, there is just something that feels weird about it to me. Like I get that people will stud out their dog but snakes are just different in my opinion. They have to go through travel, live in possibly different/damaging conditions, breed, and then come back to me. Just seems like a lot of risks for a couple hundred or a few thousand dollars over a year.


As for the actual topic of loaning breeding animals, I won’t ever loan out my own animals to anyone because I don’t trust others, but I’m fine with them loaning theirs to me. Mainly because I’m a person of my word and take pride in my honesty and being trustworthy.

Typically the ones who have asked me about breeding loans are not breeders themselves, but pet owners who want to breed their ball python but don’t have a good male or female that is old enough to pair to theirs.

I’ve only done one breeder loan, which ended up with the owner and I trading snakes — she got two of the babies I produced this season, and I got her adult female. Even though the two babies were valued a bit more than the female, she should easily cover that with her first clutch. She isn’t quite big enough (1200-1300 grams) but she should be ready to go by next season. I believe she is a pastel vanilla lesser.

Here’s a recent picture of her with a fresh shed.


Yeah, like @spottedbull said, these breeder loans are very common the spider world. Mainly, though, that’s because when a male tarantula molts into maturity, his clock starts ticking and he only has months to live. Which is to say, if you have a mature male but not a mature female of the same species, you may not want to let him expire before giving him a shot with a lady. And it’s not as though he’s going to have a long life anyway.

In my experience, though, while there are times that a mature male of a particularly rare species can really Wilt Chamberlain-it-up and make the rounds, I’d say the males usually don’t come back. Usually, I’d send a male and just ask the female’s owner to keep him until he expires. So the “loan” is really just the male’s owner giving him to the female’s owner in exchange for half the potential offspring.


It sounds like a breeder loan. In my experience it is not something that’s done too often. First and most important is you need to have two trusting breeders. Usually friends. It also is usually a scenario that benefits both parties. You may have a powerful male, say a visual pied with a few other genes. Maybe you don’t have females ready for him. You happen to have a friend who also breeds and has a few breeder females that are either pied or het pieds. We’ll if you used your male with his females you can both benefit with a few clutches. Usually it’s best to split the babies evenly. It will depend on who had the “better” animal, as far as who gets the best baby. But those details are to be worked out with those involved. It can be a very nice way to benefit. However, there are risks involved. Usually the male will be going to the other facility. There’s feeding and cleaning. Also god forbid an animal passes away. It’s important that both parties trust each other. I’ve heard many horror stories that ruined friendships.


The only way I would do this with someone I don’t know/trust is basically selling it and buying it back later. If it turns out to be a scam or something then I would get more money than it was worth. For example, if a snake is worth $1000, I might “sell” it to someone for $1300, there would be a verbal agreement where I would then buy it back 10 months later for $1000. I personally wouldn’t do this with an animal that was more of a pet, but it does give the person getting the animal an incentive to return it, because otherwise they would pretty much lose the extra money that they paid.

I really don’t trust anyone enough that I’d loan out my animals, even with a written contract, too many things can go wrong. The person could steal my animal and claim that it escaped, was stolen or died, but in addition to those being real possibilities, they could just claim that in some effort to steal my animal. I know in dogs they have contracts such as pick of litter etc. But you have to trust that the person doing the breeder didn’t hide the best offspring and claim that what they show you was all that were born.

To me there’s way too many negative what ifs to even consider anything positive.

Life has taught me never to trust any human, even blood family. I know some people think its horrible that im not “optimistic” about people, but its what life has shown me. Id rather just keep my animals.