Over saturation in the BP market?

Only looking to start a conversation and not make a blanket statement here. Just interested in hearing everyone’s opinions on the booming market that is ball pythons.

Has the increased number of people trying to breed ball pythons had a negative impact on any long term breeders?
Are faster price drops on new and emerging morphs something to be concerned about?

There are over 13,000 ball pythons for sale on just morph market right now and we all know not everyone who breeds is advertising here.

Do you think all the attention ball pythons get specifically is good or bad?

Should we as a community be encouraging so many new breeders? Isn’t there a reasonable point where we should tell someone maybe its not the best choice?

Is there really a need for everyone who buys a pastel and a normal to breed just because they think they will make quick money? With so many already out there isn’t producing more “basic” clutches like this going to be more of a burden on the person trying to sell them?

On the topic of quick money, how bad is the perception from most incoming breeders that this is the way to make a lot of money fast? How much profit is really turned out on a percentage basis?

How often do breeders really have to hold onto an animal for far longer than they would like?
How does that impact profit as a breeder? After a certain point haven’t you put more money into the snake than it can possibly be worth at this point?

Just some questions that came to mind. Not expecting anyone to answer every question, but if you see one you have some input on I’d love to hear it.

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A lot of good questions and points made in this initial post. I will start by saying that the people getting in to “make quick money” have made a drastic mistake. I breed primarily out of passion and to generate small return that I may then put back into my hobby. That being said, I do keep records and books and I will tell you this, there is no quick money to be made. At least not without a sizable investment or loan to start out and freedom from a full-time job to give it the time it requires.
Now as far as encouraging new breeders? I don’t see where the harm is in that specifically, granted adequate research and knowledge are gained prior to just jumping right in. This is a very rewarding hobby we all share and more power to anyone that wants to enjoy it! Plus I have found that the people that get involved for the wrong reasons do not tend to stick around very long anyways.
Just my two cents on a few of the subjects that were presented.
Cheers,
Chris

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Supply and demand. One of the downsides of something becoming popular or even faddish is saturation. It may drive prices down but it will also push breeders to be more and more creative. It is a healthy hobby that is growing. But there will be an adjustment sooner or later. That’s when those who are in it for love will endure and those who are in it for money will move on to the next fad. Also there are a lot of people becoming Ball Pet owners who will never take on a breeding project. I am seeing a lot of that. I will enjoy it while it’s popular. After all that is why we keep snakes. Because we enjoy them.

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If your in it to make money, your in the wrong area. We breed for us, everything we do it’s because we want something from it. We are small enough that we have a locally owned pet store that will buy some of what we sell. I think people see breeders who have been around for decades and have made a lot of money, and think it’s easy to get there.

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I have been in this industry since 2006 and 2 things have always been predominant, the market is crashing and there is saturation.

Yes and no, the market is based on supply and demand and therefore prices evolve years after years.

Are some morphs over produced? Yes they are but there are a lot of people that are looking for a pet however this is not are you will make money or even break even.

Do I discourage people from breeding? I do, why because more often than not I can already tell those people will fail and consequently lose their passion and would be better off as pet owners, however I don’t do it because of fear or struggle I may have selling my own animals.

Competition and new breeders are inevitable and has never scared me, why? Because a lot of people out there do not have a clue and they believe breeding and making money is as easy as putting a male and a female together. Those people do not have a vision or plan (those are the “I have this mutation what should I breed it to”?), they are cheap and will buy questionable animals (low quality, Craigslist rejects etc), they do not know nor care to know the market, they lack customer service skills, they are impatient and want to be spoon-fed.

Yes you can succeed in this market regardless of the level you consider to be a successful one, it can be having a collection that pays for itself, it can be making some extra cash, and it can be making a living.

When price start dropping it’s not a bad thing it puts the animals in a different category and that is the pet category and there are more pet owners that will drop $250 to $500 for a pet than people spending 2.5K to 5K for an animal.

What matters is that as a breeder you need to keep reinvesting in your collection and evolve with the market and when you do so no matter are many new people start to breed it will not matter.

You can sell out of your stocks, you can break even by year 2 and you can start making a profit by year 3.

So are there people that will be stuck with animals, have more money in an animal than what it is worth, lose money? Yes there are and it comes back to what I mentioned about vision, market etc.

Personally I started out wanting to produce a pied and thought I would be done but I got hooked and than my goal was to have my expensive taste in animals to pay for itself obviously it’s more than that now but a lot of work comes along with it and it’s not the easiest way to make money for those that think that it is.

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Here’s the major PROBLEM!!! I SEE in this “Hobby” here in Europe:

95% of the people I come across treat it NOT AS HOBBY, and never intended to do so in the first place. It’s supoosed to be an INCOME for them. That’s also the same 95% of the people who will dump these animals back onto the market 4-6 months later.

Love for the animal? Give me a break. When your sole montivation is money, how can there be love for the animal? :v:

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So, when someone’s passion gets popular and other people start to take it on as a hobby that person tries to discourage others from participating?

I grew up with an absolute obsession with snakes and reptiles, but for various reasons (mostly my mom an ex-wives) I never owned snakes. Now, in my 40s, I have decided that I have the time, money and desire to start breeding. I have done A LOT of research and plan to do A LOT more before I start up my operation in another year or so…if I make it. The reason I say “if” is because the community just isn’t very friendly to newcomers and I am being discouraged constantly from other breeders.

My other passion in life is music, and I would never try and discourage anyone from playing because “they’ll never make it”, “it’ll never be anymore than a hobby “, because it’s expensive or any other reason. I want to share my love of music with everyone I meet and encourage them to get involved in any way possible. I know we’re talking about guitars vs. an animal’s life, but why not share your love, experience, know how and passion with others? Especially if they already show an interest in your passion.

My guess is it comes down to money. The few thousand or so independent breeders around the country, producing small numbers of animals to sale in their local market really drives down the price for the big guys selling here, to other larger breeders and even to some of the name brand pet stores.

As a former traveling musician I have met many different groups of people from all walks of life, but have never met a community with so much negativity and infighting as the reptile community and still I’m not discourage as I do this for me, not you.

“Can’t we all just get along” -Rodney King

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It’s all about having a plan and long term goals. I’ve been nervous about breeding larger scale because you see what everyone says, but I started with a plan on paper with a timeline and breakdown of costs and work. I don’t think many people put that much effort into it, but still wonder why they don’t succeed… it takes work and perseverance; most businesses don’t expect to be profitable until at least year three to five.

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12 posts were split to a new topic: Ability of communities and individuals to welcome new hobbyists

I doubt the big breeders want new breeders to succeed but I’m sure they want them to try, because if they don’t who is gonna buy the 4000.00 snake they are selling. Ok that’s the cynical side of me. But there are alot of breeders that will answer questions to help you. But in the end if you are not gonna put time and money( lots of money) in buying quality snakes and supplies, you probably won’t succeed.Breeding your own food helps alot especially if you breed enough to sell some off to pay for other supplies. I only have 31 snakes right now but my week to week expenses are paid for from rats and any snakes I sell goes towards paying my initial investment. I dont to it to make alot of mone but it’s nice not to be spending alot of money too.

This is really a hobby. Hobbies attract wishful thinkers when money comes into play. I’ve been on the scene since before morphs were the main draw, though I’ve never bred anything intentionally. To this point, I have bred animals incidentally, meaning I have kept males and females of various species in enclosures without expectations, and wound up with eggs/offspring. It was always an exciting experience, but the joy of keeping these animals and observing them has always been the ultimate joy.

With ball pythons exploding in morph discoveries, combos proving themselves absolutely fascinating, it’s easy to see what rejuvenation there is to anyone’s imagination.

Corn snakes have seen a major uptick in interest owing much to scaleless, palmetto, pied-sideds, etc. I remember corn snakes being a dime a dozen with the familiar genes we all became quite used to seeing.

Ball pythons have proven very drastically to being quite diverse in moprhs and especially combos. Can any of you really predict what a GHI x Mojave would have turned out to look like at first?

Dream as much as you want. If you truly enjoy reptiles and their awesome characteristics, you will not fail. If you see dollar signs above all else, you’re here for the wrong reasons. It’s not rocket science. A job is about money. A hobby is about love.

Love always wins.

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People must remember that your customers this year will become your competition in 2-3 years time - now for someone in it for the money this is something to SERIOUSLY consider, for others like myself who considers this a hobby - that is of little concern. In other words, I work for a living so my animals DON’T have to.

I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years and consider myself to have some really exceptional animals in my collection. This didn’t happen overnight and this came about by purchasing maybe 2-3 animals per year - pairing these animals up and then purchasing some more animals. Example: I have been keeping Sumatran Pythons now for over 20 years and have managed to bring together some really wonderful animals which I consider from some of the best bloodlines and from the darkest of the dark animals - I have had to bide my time in sourcing the right animals but through this I am now able to produce some stunning youngsters - I have now gained a small following of fellow enthusiasts who know and appreciate the quality of the youngsters and I now have a small wait list for next season.

Royal Python wise I deliberately limited myself to a small number of genes and given the available space - a limit of 12-15 adults so again there is a great deal of thought that goes into purchases and pairings. I sometimes think large scale breeders loose this focus because they have too many animals.

The truth is that quality animals will always sell and I would rather be known for producing a handful of quality animals rather than 100s of mediocre animals.

My ethos is exceptional rather than acceptable in every aspect of keeping.

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Something else to consider is that the popularity of the hobby has directly influenced the amount of equipment available to us - without this popularity (and morphs have had a significant part in this) the big manufacturers would not invest in research and bringing to market these new products and the whole community would be much worse off - I remember when I first started, heat was provided by an aquarium heater in a jam jar filled with water and light was provided by a normal household bulb.

So whether you keep snakes, tortoises or lizards the morph market has - like it or not - helped ‘normalise’ reptile keeping and improve the standards of keeping.

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I dont discourage anyone from doing this. Something to remember is, people are constantly leaving and coming. Yes the next person that starts breeding becomes your next competition but they also become your next customer. Every year we have several people get a snake from us that is their first snake. Will they start breeding? Some probably will. I encourage it! Another thing to remember is, every year more kids are graduating high school and college and some of those people buy reptiles. This hobby is also GROWING and as time goes more and more people are realizing that snakes aren’t so bad after all and it sparks a passion in them to jump into this with all of us.

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What an excellent post! I am not a breeder myself, but have noticed what can only be described as a massive boom of ball python breeders in the last three months alone! I find your questions and many of the answers to be really stimulating. Even though I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion, it does seem to me as a strict consumer that the rise in popularity of this “hobby” has both its good and bad points–the good being the elimination of a few monopolies in the industry that I’ve noticed. The bad aspects, I think are obvious. Anyway, I’m glad that people are thinking about this. I for one, am glad that such beautiful and (hopefully and for the most part) healthy animals are available to people like me who, while not interested in breeding, have a great appreciation and love for the animals themselves.

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Definitely agree 100% :grin:

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i personally am surprised how quickly the value of some morphs are decreasing. I think the reason they’re dropping so fast is not because of new people breeding, but because of breeders who offer morphs for slightly less than the competition, forcing the competition to lower their prices, and then the price spirals down. this can be discouraging as a small breeder who doesn’t have money to invest in newer, more popular morphs, and is left with morphs that have already been mass produced, but, ill breed what i love and not what will make the most money! like banana! which is my favorite gene

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About this time of year, I look at my hatchling racks and all of the notes, labels, and masking tape stuck to the tubs, and I ask myself: my ball python season is over. what do I have to offer my customers?

After raising up breeding stock, feeding, cleaning, pairing, hatching, not screwing up incubation, not hitting the odds, and getting the damn things to take a meal, you get to a point where the only thing left to do is MARKET your product. And many reptile people (who have awesome animals) are TERRIBLE at this.

My point is that the people who are getting into this for the money are going to be disappointed. There is too much work involved and the payout is not guaranteed.

Another poster mentioned the “oversaturation” and “crashing” that has been happening to the market for the last 15 years. I’ve been doing this since 2003 and can confirm that no matter what the state of the market truly is, the people who claim that are always around. Pay them no mind. Work with what you like. Most prospective customers can smell your passion for these animals. But at the same time, use good business sense. Some morphs hold value, and some drop in in price drastically overnight.

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I have been through so many life changes that have been reason enough to make me want to quit. Divorce, unemployed, moved, Natural disaster, Family issues, and the all time favorite, negative reactions and envy from fellow local breeders (so called friends). But the reason I started goes back to a childhood passion and curiosity I had towards reptiles. Besides the fact I find enjoyment of having a collection, I also look forward to each breeding season and unlocking something new to add . I don’t tend to hoard animals, and the by products will take time to find a new home. But for me this is a hobby that I can enjoy , and all hobbies have a large investment but even with that I have found it able to maintain itself with what I produce. Sure the days of actually making big money is gone, nor do I find myself worried about it. I enjoy going online , seeing other breeders make incredible examples and share their stories of success in any said project. Then I realize, those people I come across that try to break me down with everything they have with all their negativity can go pound sand for all I care. I am not in this for them, I am in this for me. And there will always be a place for a new owner that would be excited to be where I am, and I try to relay the same message that created my passion. Its not about the money, its not about the guy next to you , its about the passion of discovering and unlocking future potentials with a reptile that is so diverse that something new is always a season away. Like they said in the movie “Field of dreams, IF you build it he will come” .And they will keep coming as long as we continue to make the best of what this hobby has to offer.

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Do a lot of breeders deal with BPs exclusively, if so why?

Is it because:
It’s the best market for buying and selling.
It fits my budget.
The BP’s demeanor, unlikely to bite me.
There is a large knowledge base for getting started.
I breed what I like, and I like BPs.
Has the largest variety of morphs……

There seems to be many emerging markets for other snakes.
What keeps you from jumping in?
Is it because:
It’s an unknown market for buying and selling.
It doesn’t fit my budget.
Bad demeanor, likely to bite me.
No knowledge base for getting started.
I breed what I like, and I like BPs.
Lack of morphs……

I am not a breeder……more of a consumer and have had a variety of snakes over the years, everything from mainland retics to garter snakes and everything in between. I’m getting closer and closer to retirement and I plan on breeding as a hobby in the future. Can’t imagine I will only breed one type……to many options out there for putting all my eggs in one basket. I plan to start with BPs and hognoses due to the knowledge base available, but I will treat them as a stepping stones. Comments and advice always welcomed! Thanks.

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