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Trial Run At Breeding

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Atroxus, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    So I am planning a trial run at reptile breeding, with an eye towards either breeding as a hobby or possibly developing a breeding business. I have made friends with a lady who owns a local reptile store who has told me I can sell offspring through her store, so worst case if I find I don't enjoy reptile breeding I can sell off the babies through her store and sell off the breeding equipment readily to recoup some of the starting costs.

    I am still in the process of getting the equipment. I have a medium rack mount with heat tape on order. The rack is capable of holding up to to 12 bins that would be large enough to house hatchling Ball Pythons or similarly sized animals, or up to 6 bins that would be large enough for juveniles. Next on my list of items is clear Sterilite bins to go in the rack, thermostats, digital thermometers, hygrometers, incubator, substrate, food/water dishes and hides.

    Once I have the equipment, I will dial in temps/humidity prior to buying any animals. Originally I was thinking to start with Ball Pythons, however the two I have currently are at least a year probably more like 2 years away from being large/old enough to breed, and my wife who is only recently getting over her fear of reptiles said no more snakes for now. She is okay with me breeding small-ish lizards now and is open to the idea of breeding my super pastel ball python to her banana ball python once they are large enough to breed though.

    Since snakes are no longer an option(for now), I was leaning towards leopard geckos since they seem to be well suited to breeding in rack setups, they don't require UVB, they are reasonably hardy in general, and there are a large number of morphs that can mixed and matched to make really cool looking babies. They also have small clutches so I don't have to worry about suddenly having more animals than I can house if I start with just a single male and 2-4 females.

    Others I have discussed this with have suggested crested geckos or blue-tongue skinks as an alternative to leos, but I am skeptical that either would do well in a rack setup. I have at least a couple months before I make a final decision though, so I am looking for help at making a list of lizards that would be good alternatives to leopard geckos and meet the following criteria, as well as pros/cons of each.

    - Suitable for a beginning breeding project.
    - Suitable to be bred and housed in the rack system described above.
    - A variety of morphs available to mix and match.
    - Clutch size small enough that 2-4 females wouldn't result in more offspring than could be housed in the rack that I described above.
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Leo's are probably going to be your best bet if you intend on sticking with a rack setup. Main issue is the large difference in the humidity requirements between balls and Leo's. Not necessarily hard to take care of, but something to consider if you get more ball pythons in the future. Most other lizards I can think of aren't going to do well in a rack for a variety of reasons, like the fact that blue tongues get way too large for most racking systems, Cresties need a more vertically oriented setup, and so on.
  3. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Thanks, that confirmed what I suspected was going to make crested geckos and blue tongues a no go for me.

    In regards to mixing with Ball Pythons, if I do reach a point where I am going to breed ball pythons in addition to lizards I will most likely buy a second rack for the ball pythons rather than try to house multiple types of animals in a single rack, for the reasons you mentioned. So whatever I do decide to breed first will be the only things living in the rack system.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    It not that it's impossible to mix species in the same rack, you'd just have to figure out how to close off some of the ventilation for the balls so that you could keep the humidity up.
  5. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    I can see that, but it seems to me that different racks for animals that have different temp and/or humidity requirements would be easier. I am currently planning with 4 possible scenarios in mind. Please feel free to point out anything I have not considered though. :)

    1. I end up not liking breeding. In this scenario I would sell off all but a few animals I want to keep as pets as well as the breeding equipment, and continue to buy new pets from pet shops or breeders if/when my wife and I want to expand our menagerie.

    2. I find that I enjoy breeding but not enough to try to make a go of it as a business. I sell off all of the offspring except for any that my wife and I decide we want to keep as pets, and continue to breed and sell just as a way to offset some of the cost of maintaining/expanding our menagerie.

    3. I find that I enjoy breeding enough to make it a business venture, but decide I don't want to continue with Leopard Geckos. In this case I would sell off all the leopard geckos with possible exception of 1 or 2 to keep as pets, and re-purpose the rack system for breeding whatever I decide to breed instead. Currently I am thinking ball pythons since we have a male and female already, though this may change in the future.

    4. I find that I enjoy breeding enough to make it a business venture and have enough success with Leopard Geckos that I decide to continue breeding leopard geckos, and expand into ball pythons(or some other type of lizard or snake). In this case I would just get a new rack system for the new animals.
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Your local pet store Lady. What is it that she sells the most of and can never get enough off?
    I hardly think it would be Leopard geckos. Plus I doubt if you would make any money off of them since the market is always flooded.
    Something a little more obscure with a higher initial investment would be better.

    I have an acquaintance that I have dealt with when I was into breeding.
    I'll add that he is highly successful at it.
    He said he rarely ever breeds anything that doesn't require a CITES permit to get. It's too easy for everyone else to start up as well.
    Now you don't have to go that far. But there are geckos that require the same setup and care as Leopards but fetch ten times the price. That's by far a better case scenario.
  7. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Ya, she had suggested crested geckos rather than leopards, since she said they sell better out of her shop than leopards, and fetch higher prices. Crested geckos don't seem viable for a rack system to me though, and I am not a fan aesthetically speaking, of crested geckos with no tails, which I have read is a fairly common state for this breed. She also suggested monkey tail skinks, but those are a bit out of my price range considering I don't know yet if this is going to be just a hobby for me, or a business, or if I will just decide it is too much work and pack it in after my first batch of babies.

    If I find that I do enjoy breeding enough that I decide to move forward as a professional breeder, getting a CITES permit doesn't seem particularly onerous. From what I could find the fee is only $100, so I would likely be willing to go that route.

    My main reason for starting with Leopard Geckos is that I have heard/read that they are a great place to start for first time breeders/hobbyist breeders, and I am not certain yet that I will take it beyond breeding as a hobbyist.

    Worst case, if I decide to move forward as a professional breeder but can't turn a profit on Leos, I can sell off my animals at a loss then start again with something more profitable. If you can name some of the other types of geckos and/or other reptiles which would be potentially more profitable and which could be bred in the same setup by a first time breeder, I am very much open to starting with something other than leopards. :)
  8. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    You will most likely fall into category 2. That's where most of us are even some of the well known breeders do it as a hobby to offset costs of their collection. Keep in mind that just because you have a thousand dollar reptile to sell, doesn't mean anyone is going to buy it! Start with the cheap stuff like leos that are really popular, so its easier to sell or of not you can just atleast sell them wholesale to a local pet shop. then if you get into something more exotic then great you will have alittle breeding experience behind you, and you will know what to expect (mainly how hard it is to sell), and you can have a plan on how to unload them.
    The problem with the more exotic or expensive species is they can be hard to unload. Especially if the common petstore mom hasn't heard of it.
  9. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    From my experience over the last 4 years breeding ball pythons with some dabbling in leos.
    1. Unless you have or are willing to shell out the cash for high end morphs, you are not going to make any money. The market is way too saturated with low end hobby breeders (which I basically still am) to be at all profitable, or to even break even really.
    2. The more rare species that might be profitable are generally not going to be compatible with racks and are often going to be more difficult to breed. I have a lot of larger cages for the other species I'm working with, and there's just no getting around that.
    3. The higher end stuff is going to be harder to get rid of, as generally pet stores don't want to buy it as they can't usually sell expensive animals. And at shows most people are looking for cheaper animals as well, so the profitable stuff will likely require some sort of online presence, which means shipping and all the associated hassles.
    Now this is just my perspective/experience, other may have different views. The main things I would suggest would be to pick an animal your passionate about, and do it with a mind that the money doesn't matter. This might keep you from walking away when things don't go so well, and believe me, you will have bad seasons/years in this hobby. I just came off a really good season with the balls after a terrible one last year. That's just the way it goes.
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    It's true it's really a trial and error to find what people are into.
    You're right to breed something that appeals to you otherwise it's no fun.
    There are different reasons why some reptiles are hard to find. Some just aren't being bred as there was no interest in them and breeders gave up. Others come from areas that permit very little export.

    I had a pair of Giant Frog-Eye geckos in the past teratoscincus keyserlingii.
    Over the last 2yrs or so I've been trying to locate some but it is nearly impossible as there was only one person in the U.S. breeding them and she wasn't doing it consistently and now not at all.
    The reason they disappeared from the hobby was they are imported from Iran and Afghanistan and since the conflict started over there, it's not really a place people are exported reptiles from anymore.
    Getting a hold of these and breeding them is sure profit.

    However they only lay 2 eggs. Something that multi-clutches throughout the year would be much more beneficial.

    But I agree start with something that interests you and is simple for egg care so you can get your confidence built up for the next investment.

    Might as well give you another story.
    I have lost contact with this person but I know someone who started breeding dwarf monitors. He of course started with a trio and it seemed to go well for him. He had a waiting list of customers looking to buy from him.
    So her decided to go larger scale and maxed out a few credit cards setting up with more breeding pairs and more species. Seemed to go pretty good for him last time I had contact.

    Just start up and enjoy.
  11. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    If I do end up enjoying breeding as much as I hope to, I am not averse to investing in higher value animals and/or animals that would require permits. My first step is just seeing if I would be any good at breeding at all and whether I would enjoy it. I don't expect to turn a profit on my first few clutches regardless of what I decide on starting with. The closer I can come to breaking even though, the better I will be able to convince my wife that it would be a good idea to invest in increasing volume, and/or shifting focus into higher profit animals.

    I am going to have another chat with the local store owner I have been working with though, to see if there are any animals she can't keep in stock and which would be suitable for the setup I am working on.

    Based on the fact that there are three reptile shops within 30 minute drive of my house though, I expect that should I decide to breed professionally that I will end up selling to/through one or more of the local shops, and/or selling online. Personally I would prefer the former, but I am not entirely against the idea of online sales.
  12. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Well it looks like my wife decided for me. We were at our local reptile shop and the gal there made us a great offer, and my wife decided to take her up on it as a late Christmas present for me. One male and one female leopard gecko, both large enough to breed, plus complete setup.(enclosure, food/water dishes, hides and heat mat)

    I was told that the male is possibly tremper giant/carrot tail, but they are not certain on the female morph. I think they both look amazing though.

    Here are a couple pics of them, if anyone wants to weigh in on what morphs they are. I haven't named them yet either so feel free to post suggestions. :) leo_boy.jpg leo_girl.jpg
    kriminaal likes this.
  13. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    And you're off to the races.
    Now for incubator and rack setup.
  14. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Yup, I named them Kylo and Rey in case anyone missed my other thread asking about their genetics.

    I may have been a little too impulsive in letting my wife get them for me though. At the time I was thinking that my rack will be built/delivered soon enough(within another week or two) to separate them before they start making babies, because the store owner said the girl had produced infertile eggs already. So far they are not showing much interest in each other, so hopefully I won't have to rush out and get an incubator earlier than I had planned.

    I am also having second thoughts about using Kylo and Rey as part of my first breeding group since their genetics are uncertain, and it seems very possible that he may just be large-ish normal and I am not sure how to determine with any degree of certainty whether Rey is Bell or Rainwater albino.

    From what I have been reading 86 grams at over a year old seems more like Kylo could just be on the high end of normal weight rather than a giant. Though with Tremper Albino trait being a recessive and the Giant trait being co-dominant, I suppose it is possible he could be a het albino, and be on the low end of the size spectrum for Tremper Giants. It seems the only way to know for certain is to breed him and see what he produces.

    I have read that it is a bad idea to breed different types of albinos together though, but have been unable to find any reasons for this beyond them being "incompatible". Anyone know what this means? What would happen if Kylo is Het for Tremper albino and bred with Rey who is likely either a Bell or Rainwater albino? Would it produce unhealthy offspring? Would it make it the genetics of the offspring even more uncertain than I already am about Kylo and Rey? Or would they just not make any babies at all?

    Regardless I plan to keep Kylo and Rey as pets though since they are both so cute and friendly, and of course because they were my Christmas present.
  15. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I've never been into morph breeding.
    Just keep in mind morphs are less healthy to begin with anyway as they are bred back to their relatives repeatedly.
    This was the cause for concern waaaay back but you never hear about this anymore.
  16. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Well now I have some people telling me that Rey looks like a Tremper Albino, one of whom sent my wife a picture of her Tremper albino that looks almost exactly like Rey. This could make sense, as they were both apparently bought at a reptile expo by the same person before being sold to the reptile store where my wife and I got them.

    I been considering my dilemma most of the day and think I may have come up with a solution. Once I have incubator and such all ready to go, that is.

    Please let me know if you spot any flaws in my logic.

    If Kylo really is a Tremper Giant he is also het albino. So if Rey is Tremper Albino and I breed them, then I should get 25% Giant Tremper Albinos, 25% Tremper Albinos, 25% Giant Het Tremper Albino, and 25% Het Tremper Albino. So if I get any Giant or Albinos this would confirm that Kylo is a Tremper Giant or at least het Tremper Albino and that Rey is Tremper Albino.

    If Kylo really is a Tremper Giant, but Rey is *not* a Tremper albino, then 100% of the offspring will be het for Tremper or Bell or Rainwater, with 50% being giants. So if they all have normal coloring, and around half are Giant this would confirm Kylo as Tremper Giant, and narrow Rey down to being either Bell or Rainwater.

    If Kylo is not a Tremper Giant, and Rey is a Tremper albino then 100% of the offspring will be het for Tremper Albino. So if there are no giants or albinos this would rule out Kylo as a Tremper giant, but leave Rey as an unknown albino.

    If Kylo is not a Tremper Giant, and Rey is *not* a Tremper albino then 100% of the offspring will be het for either Bell or Rainwater. So again if there are no giants or albinos this would rule out Kylo as a Tremper giant, but leave Rey as an unknown albino.

    In the last two scenarios, the only way to determine for certain what type of albino Rey is, would be to get male that is a homozygous albino then breed him to Rey and her offspring to see what they produce. If I get any homozygous albino offspring this would confirm that Rey is the same type of albino as the new male. If not, then I would need to repeat the process with a new male of a different albino type.
  17. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I think you need to chart that out.
  18. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Seems like you have a fair handle on the possible results, just have a couple general points I want to clarify. When different lines or combos of morphs arent compatible, it usually means nothing more than no morphs will be produced, as in 2 different types of albino will simply not produce any albinos. The offspring will not be unhealthy at all because of that. I'm fairly clueless on the leo morphs, but I do know there are some pairings in ball pythons that have to be avioded, I believe breeding 2 spider morphs together results in a lethal combo, but I only have 1 female so it's not an issue for me. No idea if there are any such issues with leos.
  19. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I do plan to chart this out in detail and keep notes on possible and actual outcomes. I am actually looking forward to the challenge of proving out their genetics. I have decided to hold off on getting any new leos until after I see what these two produce though.
    kriminaal likes this.
  20. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Looks like my wife is coming around on snakes and the idea of breeding faster than planned. I am going to complete my project of proving out the genetics of Kylo and Rey then start looking to buy a 2-3 specific ball python morphs that would make cool looking combinations with each other and/or with our Banana and Super Pastel make to make cool looking babies. One of the goals will be to make some blue eyed leucistics, since my local reptile store owner says she has a very hard time getting those in or keeping them in stock. :)

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