I have been wanting to do a write up on my business page on Facebook and in our group but this is what I think. It’s a labor of love but cannot stress the Labor part enough.
I have been involved in the Reptile industry at some capacity since 1989 and the number one mistake I see people make is underestimating the amount of work required to do it correctly. We made the move away from Colubrids to Ball Pythons in 2016 for a change. Not at the point to do it full time for another 3-4 seasons but here is what a typical week looks like doing this plus being a Boy Scout Scoutmaster and running a large automotive group:
Monday: Work 8:30-5 then come home, check every rat tub Colony, Growout and Maternity bin and record new litters as well as fill the water reservoirs. Then check every tub in the snake room and clean. This is usually from about 9-11 or 11:30 so I can spend some family time before getting to work
Tuesday: Work 8:30-5 then Scouts from 6:30-8:30 before coming home to eat dinner then the same duties as every night with the rat room and snake room except watering rats which is only twice a week. Usually after midnight getting done.
Wednesday: Work 9:30-7 then come home and do the same things as the other days
Thursday: My weekday off, but not really. This is the longest day of the week with full rat room clean, separate, cull and pull preggos from colony to maternity. It is also feeder pickup day for my feeder customers. In the midst of this we also feed everyone in the snake room since we are already pulling out the rats may as well go ahead and feed. This is easily a 10+ hour day.
Friday: Probably the easiest day of the week checking rat room and quick check of the snake room but very little cleaning to be done the day after feed day
Saturday: Work 9-6 then come home and full rat room and snake room checks. Pair snakes due to be paired.
Sunday: Off work and we are big boaters so we are on the lake all day then come home for full checks in rat room and pull preggos we were unsure about or missed on Thursday to maternity. Full checks in snake room, record locks and feed babies that are on a twice a week schedule for the first 8-10 meals.
Then repeat. This is for a well planned collection of 86 snakes currently which will grow to our eventual goal of 140 females and 20 males in addition to holdbacks.
It’s not glamorous, it’s hard work to do it right and I wouldn’t change a thing (except hire someone for the rat room duties which is coming before long) because I have loved this a long time and understand what goes into it. So many do not understand the work, initial investment and equipment needed as well. They do not understand basic marketing principals, reputation management and capitalization. It’s very easy to invest six figures with no chance for a return for 3 years at least. Being short sighted and not properly capitalized will result in a collection sale as fast as the realization of the work that goes into it.
There are no days off when it comes to animal care. This not only affects you it also affects your family, significant other and social life. Be ready to miss some things to do it right.
Then there are vacations lol, we go to the beach two weeks a year once in the summer and once in the fall. We are lucky to have a local guy we know well that checks on the snakes, feeds and waters the rats and keeps an eye on the incubator for me for a nominal fee.
The only other piece of advice I would give anyone is to think 3-5 years ahead. If you are not planning your pairings 2-3 years in advance then you will likely struggle.
Wow that was longer than I intended and still probably only said half of what I wanted to lol.