What happens when the market becomes oversaturated?

Hello All,

I’ve been following Morph Market since about 3 years ago and have slowly watched the number of ball pythons go for sale increase from about 13000 to 18000.

It seem it’s inevitable that more ball pythons are going to be produced than purchased. What happens to the left over snakes? Are breeders really going to have 100 snakes in their rack that have no importance to their projects…(Single Genes/Het’s/Normals etc.)?

Is culling animals because they aren’t valuable for producing new combos a dark side of this hobby? What is everyone’s opinion about this?


Like any market it has ups and downs. But if you look over the last ten years the same major breeders are still here. People who are successful in this hobby/business have rode the ups and downs out. This question always gets brought up for years and yet for years the same people are still there still producing snakes.


Also, this kind of goes along with the original topic just more specific, what about clowns? It seems that everybody’s buying into them and breeding them and in about 5-10 years or so there’s going to be a major oversaturation of them. Is that going to cause clown to be virtually worthless because there’s so many of them?


So there’s the money side of things that would affect breeder’s ability to continue operating, but there’s also the ethical side of things in regard to left over snakes being destroyed because they aren’t “valuable”.

My fear is that at some point, people will just be killing 1-2 gene snakes in their collection to allow space for more “valuable” and complex morphs. So breeding will have a dark cost… but I’m wondering if people see this dark cost as necessary for the enjoyment and development of the hobby.

The prices have gone down and will continue to, but I think clown’s will stay above the $400 for awhile. I think clown will follow the same price trajectory as Pieds. Clowns…and Het Clowns still have a long way to go and produce snakes that everyone inside and outside the hobby enjoy.


And what is the basis of this fear? The market has bottomed put before and no one was killing single gene snakes. We are still importing normals now and have never stopped.


Oh the basis of my fear is coming from my side. It’s something I would consider doing if I was put in that situation. But it’s good to hear that the market has bottomed out and people held on to their pets.

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Genetically speaking, you will get to a point where your projects no longer produce single-gene or less complex combos. But in most of our situations, this takes a long time. Sure, if you have “set out” to become a high-end boutique breeder and only own a handful of 5- or 6-gene animals, you might be in this boat already but for most of us that is not the reality.

Two things you have to keep in mind here:

One, don’t ever forget that there is a strong market for the less complex animals. There are plenty of people in this hobby that have a love for BPs and are willing to care for one as a beloved pet. But they don’t have $500 to spend on one. I don’t vend big reptile shows, only local ones, and I assure you, there is a market for the animals you are questioning.

Two, don’t forget about wholesale. Wholesale has been mentioned by other breeders here on other threads. Wholesale is not a “bad” word and it definitely has a place in the market. You don’t have to be a “big” breeder to wholesale your animals either - its mostly about making connections with the right people and ensuring that your animals are solid/reliable. The person who is buying wholesale to sell retail does not want customers coming back to them complaining that their pastel isn’t eating or whatever, so if you want to build a good relationship with someone who buys wholesale, make sure your animals are solid.

I don’t think everyone breeding ball pythons is just going to start culling on a mass scale because there are “too many” clowns on the market. For me, selling these animals both retail and wholesale are viable options that can be done successfully with just a little bit of effort.


A few of my thoughts:

  1. A high % of the people that enter the hobby every year with the intent of breeding end up selling out by the end of the next year.

  2. There is constantly people moving into their own homes and finally being able to house a snake or finally having the time to dedicate.

  3. Snakes die/escape. For every 10 happy endings there is 1 bad ending.

  4. Wholesale. The normals, pos gets, single genes get thrown to the highest bidder to sell at their pet store.

  5. Chasing the new morph will always be a thing. Especially for the big guys.
    In the 90s there was ~15/20 new morphs founded.
    In the 00s it was closer to ~50
    The 10s was ~ 100
    20s have only just began :wink:

This is why when we say “don’t breed your normal”, we don’t mean it in a unethical degrading way, but you are producing animals that are worth less to the hobby and have higher chance of ending up in the care of someone with very little attachment.

Over saturation in the BP market?


As a hobby breeder of geckos and a former BP keeper I personally never consider mass culling. I forget which breeder said it to me but basically they relayed the message do not breed anything you are not willing to keep for life. Mass culling in my opinion goes back to the old thoughts that reptiles are disposable animals and that is unacceptable. Just my 2 pennies worth. Side note my Vet tech wife would disown me for putting down animals that are healthy.


Thank you all for your feedback to my question. I’ve learned a lot from everyone’s responses.

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My thoughts, it’s a living breathing animal, just because it doesn’t have “monetary value” doesn’t mean it’s life is worthless. A life is a life, and that is priceless.


This. There is less demand for normals, pos hets and more common single gene morphs, so the answer is to not breed them, not start culling perfectly healthy animals.


Normals are useful in situations when you have a muti-gene snake that you really can’t tell what exactly is in it.
I think I have read, you can take that muti-gene snake and breed it to a normal to find out what genes are present . Is this correct?
I believe all of them are useful at some point. If you have gone as far as you can with inline breeding you can breed to an unrelated normal or pastel or etc to get new blood back into the project.
If I have been researching and understanding the information correctly. Please correct me if I am wrong.


I don’t really think there is a “right” or a “wrong answer. I personally have zero normals in my collection. Out of 30 females I have two single gene females. I personally plan my breedings so a vast majority of the offspring I produce are at least two gene animals. While it’s true not every one is going to be purchasing 500 dollar snakes it’s a lot easier in my experiences to sell 2 gene combos than normals or single gene snakes. Also the profit margin is higher on these snakes as well. If you are serious about breeding I wouldn’t recommend breeding of normals or a lot of single gene animals. You most likely won’t be impressed with them and you won’t make as much money as well. I breed first and foremost because I love snakes! So in my pairings I’m trying to make things that I want or get me closer to making what I want. The rest are sold now I like most people like to make a little money doing this. So you have to strike a balance you don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of animals that are to expensive to sell either. Can you breed normals and single gene animals and sell there single gene and normal offspring? Yes you can especially if you wholesale you can add them into the lot your selling. Would I personally recommend trying it? No I wouldn’t personally.


Exactly…I can’t believe anyone would purposely kill an animal because it supposedly has no monetary value. Its cruel…Is it not also illegal to kill it…Animal cruelty? Not sure the law on that.


I would like to try sulfur x sulfur to get the super sulfur. There are some single gene morphs that make some awesome looking babies. But I was trying to say all the snakes have a purpose in breeding or being pets.
Just depends on what you like.

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Then that’s what you should do! My point was more geared toward someone producing a lot of snakes. Super sulfur are super nice I like them a lot!


Being as this is a much calmer and thought first community I’ll pipe in with a much disliked thought. I know of normals, single genes, hets, deformities, even multi genes that owners didn’t want out there yet be sent to keepers of snake eating animals as food. Not saying it’s right or wrong, just that the animals didn’t go to waste. A cobra owner who hasn’t gotten their snake off snakes will still pay for culls, they don’t want to pay $50-$100 for genetics they are just going to feed off.

I know it happens, just throwing it out there in case someone didn’t know. Also food for thought that they aren’t tossed in the trash just because they don’t sell or have room to sell.


It totally happens! I know someone personally who buys normals for king cobra food. Me personally I’m not producing snakes to feed cobras. No judgment I just couldn’t do it.