report

My Investment: The Cost of Breeding Reptiles

Although, I have had reptiles for years and have successfully bred them, which started as an accident, but either way, I never really considered breeding for anything but my own enjoyment and pets. I either kept what I bred or gave the hatchlings to friends. I was responsible with my initial breedings, but I usually don't recommend it others. Please realize that before my first mating pair, I had researched reptiles, the leopard gecko more extensively, for over 2 years at that point with 1 year of hands on experience.

I had the grand idea of starting a reptile hobby- breeding business back in 2006. Luckily, my father has the internet, web designing gene and together we came up with a domain name and a website. The website has been by far the simplest thing to keep up and manage. Everything else is a pain!

Reptile Racks

Leopard geckos hatchlings and gargoyle breeders
Leopard geckos hatchlings and gargoyle breeders
Leopard gecko breeders; crested gecko breeders on left; juvie cresteds and gargs on right
Leopard gecko breeders; crested gecko breeders on left; juvie cresteds and gargs on right
Crested gecko hactchlings and gargoyle juvies
Crested gecko hactchlings and gargoyle juvies

The Bills & Expenses

One may not think there are too many bills in regards to reptiles. They're not like dogs in the sense that they need yearly shots. They don't require expensive premium foods. They're simple, right?

Well, if you're going to be serious about it, even if it's a hobby, you at least have to have nice breeders.

Now, I had already decided that I was going to start off with leopard geckos, African fat tail geckos, and then move towards crested geckos, gargoyle geckos, and others. I already had one African fat tail and a few leopard geckos, but my leopard geckos were more pets, not breeding quality. I had to find a few nice reptiles to start off with.

Searching through the internet and speaking with a few of reptile pals, I found a few good breeds that happened to have geckos that I was interested in.

I started with 5 unsexed crested geckos for $195 (including shipping), 4 African fat tails for $300 (including shipping), and 4 leopard geckos for $700(including shipping from two different breeders).

Then it was time for a reptile rack for $300, which I ordered wrong and had to order Flexwatt heat tape and wiring equipment (another $50). I had to purchase a digital porportional thermostat for over $100 to make sure that the Flexwatt tape doesn't overheat and catch the house on fire.

When drilling air holes, a few of the tubs cracked, so I had to purchase a few spare tubs for $2 each.

More calcium supplements, vitamins, and crested gecko meal replacement.

Food and water bowls; I started off with gatoraid tops, but they needed to be refilled often and just didn't hold enough. I need bigger bowls that would hold more water and keep mealworms from climbing out.

Which, leads me to mealworms and crickets in bulk.

Luckily, in terms of the website, my father hosts it on his server and he pays the goDaddy domain charge.

Leopard Gecko Rack

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tubs on right have older breeders, and tubs on left have new newer, younger breeders.You can see 3 of the breeders in this picture; they're currently too young to breed.
Tubs on right have older breeders, and tubs on left have new newer, younger breeders.
Tubs on right have older breeders, and tubs on left have new newer, younger breeders.
You can see 3 of the breeders in this picture; they're currently too young to breed.
You can see 3 of the breeders in this picture; they're currently too young to breed.

Breeding Supplies

Incubation supplies in middle cage, other supplies in top. Male pet leopard gecko in bottom cage. Juvenile gargoyle gecko to right.
Incubation supplies in middle cage, other supplies in top. Male pet leopard gecko in bottom cage. Juvenile gargoyle gecko to right.
Empty hatchling crested gecko tub, extra incubator, slate tiles, 2 digitial scales, and photography backgrounds.
Empty hatchling crested gecko tub, extra incubator, slate tiles, 2 digitial scales, and photography backgrounds.
Mini- Fridge to house open baby foom, mealworms, frozen mice, etc.; incubator; packing supplies to left.
Mini- Fridge to house open baby foom, mealworms, frozen mice, etc.; incubator; packing supplies to left.

Supplies

The supplies are second on my list of troubles of a business, whether it be a hobby or full- time. I, actually, think that supplies are probably one of the more troublesome expenses to any business. In terms of purchases for animals, it's a constant renewal of supplies so that you never are completely out; no bottle should ever be empty before a replacement is purchased.

Supplies for breeding reptiles that I must always have on hand include:

  • Calcium supplement
  • Vitamin/ mineral supplement
  • Liquid calcium (for gravid females)
  • Crested gecko meal replacement diet
  • Egg cartons
  • Perlite (for incubation)
  • Various sized plastic deli cups with lids (for shipping reptiles and incubation)
  • Fragile- perishable shipping boxes with fitted insulation

Ok, well the egg cartons aren't a constant, every day purchase, but I need them on hand for crested gecko and gargoyle gecko enclosures, as well as for feeder crickets and roaches.

Items that I like to have extras of, but are not necessary or can be substituted temporarily include:

  • Food and Water bowls
  • Fake plants
  • Snake aspen

Other supplies that I use:

  • All natural baby food
  • Digital scale (keeping proper weights)
  • Hovabator incubators (but I have plans to upgrade to a Nature's Spirit)
  • Spray bottles
  • Exo Terra Electrolize Drops
  • Exo Terra Calcimize Drops
  • Liquid Vitamin Electrolyte Spray
  • Paper towels

Feeder Insects

And, the absolute worse part of of the expenses comes in the form of nasty, creepy crawly BUGS!

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Discoid Roaches
  • Phoenix Worms
  • Waxworms (on occasion)

I am, by no means, a big time reptile breeder, and I never plan to be such; I just have more reptiles than the regular reptile owner of one or two. I have to pay $50- $75 for 10,000 to 20,000 mealworms every few months. To date, this money is just thrown away.

Geckos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
RAPTOR leopard geckoBell leopard geckoAmel AFTStriped Het Amel AFTHarlequin Crested GeckoCream Harlequin Crested GeckoRetic. Gargoyle GeckoRetic Gargoyle Gecko
RAPTOR leopard gecko
RAPTOR leopard gecko
Bell leopard gecko
Bell leopard gecko
Amel AFT
Amel AFT
Striped Het Amel AFT
Striped Het Amel AFT
Harlequin Crested Gecko
Harlequin Crested Gecko
Cream Harlequin Crested Gecko
Cream Harlequin Crested Gecko
Retic. Gargoyle Gecko
Retic. Gargoyle Gecko
Retic Gargoyle Gecko
Retic Gargoyle Gecko

The Investments

Past the supplies, the investments are the most costly part in any business, whether they be a new invention, stock, bonds, or in this case reptiles.

Being that goReptiles is more of a hobby (an expensive one), I take the mindset of a it as business when in terms of making the right investments and purchasing the right reptiles. I have to be smart and savvy- barter a little, try to get a lower price. I have to decide with a set income (very little at the moment) what I can afford to buy and what I can't. If I find a perfect addition to my collection, but the price is too much, then I have to pass, otherwise, I jump on it. Occasionally, I'm able to find gorgeous reptiles for a cheap price, or multiple reptiles for a great deal- those get purchased and shipped to my door.

But, again with a set income, I can't shop around all the time. It's the occasional purchase that works for my hobby.

I have to make sure to bring in new bloodlines and new reptiles to make the morphs better in terms of possible hatchlings.

I have to make sure that my breeders are affordable to my pocket, but at the same time will lead me to a nicely priced hatchling to help pay for breeders, accessories, and feeder insects.

In Conclusion...

The investments of my hobby are the most important part of the hobby as without them I would have no hatchlings, which means no business. So, I take my investments seriously, not only because of the money I spend to care for them, but the money I spend to purchase them and the money I hope to gain from them.

The moment I can't handle my chosen hobby, is the exact moment that I bow down and back out because I will not purposely put any animal under harm or neglect.

And, because it is a hobby and nowhere near a true, profitable business, I'm in debt... Serious debt...

The moment I care more about the money than the animals, is the moment I've waited one too late to get out...

Update January 2010: After doing my books from 2008 and 2009 so to get started with my 2010 expenses and sales, I found that I am still in the red, in every single aspect.

  • Leopard Geckos- $1,110.80 in the red
  • Rhacs- $2,923.45 in the red
  • Misc. Animals- $1,005.00 in the red
  • Supplies- $1.232.75 in the red (does not include all supplies as not all have been written down from the very beginning)
  • Feeders- $2,871.50 in the red (not all expenses have been recorded)
  • Shipping costs- $270.53 in the red

I have had 2 full breeding seasons with my initial breeding leopard geckos and 3 with some of my initial crested geckos. The market is fully saturated with both, and it is hard to make a sale unless you drastically reduce your prices. I have found equal to lesser quality geckos sold by breeders with decades of breeding experience be able to sell for 4 times what I sell, but small breeders nearly never make a profit. Without a name and reputation, it's best to start small and work your way up as you do make a profit. Do not go spend thousands off the bat, unless you're able to take the hit and are prepared to lose most of that money for years before making a profit.

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Comments 60 comments

lexi 4 years ago

I have a year old leopard gecko hes big but not , my dad said that hes not big enough for a cage that big what shall i do.Because i read this and it said that leopard geckos can get stressed in a small cage mine is 45x45x45 and were looking to buy 122x40x38 is that good 4 him?????


lexi 4 years ago

i have a leopard gecko and this advise helped me soooo much!But theres something im not sure of?????Im looking to buy a masive tank is that good or not?Because mine now is 45x45x45 and hes nearly a year old only a month away , so should i buy it ? and is it good to give a leopard gecko a waterfall?


casey 4 years ago

Start small and even with normal morphs just to her the hang of it. You don't need to do 10,000 dollars off the get go, unless you are able too. Then check with local pet stores and see if they'll take you on as one of their breeders, so you have a place for the babies to go so you don't have a surplus of reptiles and no money. Breed your feeders! It cost less and once you get going you can sell your surplus feeders. Knowing the costs are good, but dont go all in, start small build a reputation, then form websites and breed other reptile types.


Donna 4 years ago

The reason why starting with mid to high end morphs will yield a better return is simple: While most people don't want to pay for them, so the market is smaller, there are still plenty of other breeders who do. The cost of feeding and caring for a high end morph is exactly the same as the cost of feeding and caring for a normal. If you breed ONLY normal specimens of common species, you not only won't make back your investment, you won't even be able to pay for the care of your breeding animals for the year, from what you make. You cannot simply breed normal ball pythons, normal leopard geckos, or normal corn snakes, and make a profit--no matter how many of them you have. Their market value is so low, they cannot pay for their own production. These animals are produced by breeders in the process of producing more expensive morphs, they aren't being bred deliberately for sale. (For example, if I breed a Lesser Platinum ball python to a normal ball python, the resulting hatchlings will come out 50% lessers, and 50% normals. The lesser hatchlings sell for $230 apiece, but the normals only realistically sell for $30 for males, and maybe $60 for females, max. If I wholesale them, I may get as little as $8 for them). It's even worse with crested geckos and leopard geckos--normals of those species may sell for $15...the wholesale price you can guess at.

Your alternative to working with morphs is to work with rare species, where normal animals have a high price tag. Demand is not high. You need patience--eventually the animals will sell if you have them priced at market rate.


james 4 years ago

Thinking about profit hobby for basement .this was huge info for me.thankyou


313, Ashley 5 years ago

My hobby just got off the ground, maybe I got lucky but I started it this year with just two chameleons and two bearded dragons. I traded for the tanks and most of the housing needs so I got off cheap on that. from the start I raised my own feeder worms and crickets and haven't had much trouble with it. The Lizards cost me $80 each so $320 plus the $80 to start the bugs... the first clutch came from the Chameleons, 12 hatchlings made it to three inches and the store I bought them at offered me $300 for them! All 12 are gone now and now I am only $100 in the hole. Once the Dragons produce the first clutch I will be ready to obtain another pair of breeders perhaps the Austrailian Water Dragons I can't stop looking at?

This is only a hobby, but I could see me filling my 1,200 sf basement up and loving all the different environments!!


Donna 5 years ago

I've been breeding ball pythons for about 4 years now. If projections continue as they have, I will have made back my initial investment in profits by the end of next year. Folks who tell you that it can't be done...aren't doing their research. If you're breeding reptiles for fun, it doesn't matter. If it is a business, then you have to run it like a business, and have you have to love doing so.

It's true that coming in at the top of the market with a new morph is a gamble, but with a morph that's been around for a few years, you can plot the depreciation trend, and you know basically what to expect. Some morphs come down far more than you think they will, but people who consider this to be devastating aren't thinking clearly. Say you buy a morph for $1000, and the next year, it goes down to $800, and the year after that, it goes down to $600...but if you bought a male, now you're producing your first clutches, and you're selling hatchlings for $600. Breed that male to 3 females, and get up to 9 hatchlings that you can sell for $600. You just made $5400. Ok, so you had to buy 3 adult normal females to do that. That's about $450. And they all ate food. But you can clearly see that you made back your entire investment, including equipment, and made a profit.

So what happens next year? They drop to $400. Boo hoo. Now you're only making $3600 in pure profit. I hope you see my point. ;) If you use your head, you'll be making plenty of money, even if all of your snakes need vet care at some point.

People are impatient, and they don't understand why they can't get rich in a single breeding season. Unrealistic expectations do not mean you can't make money breeding reptiles.


Donna 5 years ago

If you do want to make money, it's important to do LOTS of research first. Find the most economical and best quality equipment, and do your math! If you don't understand how morphs depreciate, you won't be able to predict what you can make on them. Animals like crested geckos and leopard geckos are highly prolific, and reach adulthood fast. As a result, the morph depreciation/turnover is very high. You must invest in much more expensive animals to get a foothold. The same is true of corn snakes.

I started with ball pythons, and I've done quite well with my choice. 4 years later, I have almost made back all of my investment in profits, and I've reinvested in the business as well. Ball pythons grow to adulthood slowly (at least, females do), and lay single clutches of 5 to 10 eggs each year. As a result, morphs depreciate more slowly.

Make sure you love what you do, because caring for large numbers of animals is always a dirty and difficult chore. It's clearly possible to make a living breeding reptiles--people are doing it. They weren't lucky, they were good businessmen/women. "You have to have money to make money" has never been more true than in this business. If you can't invest in high value animals that will depreciate more slowly, you aren't likely to make back your investment easily, if at all. Growing from 'the bottom up' could be a task that could take decades. The better quality animals you can start with, the faster you'll be able to make a profit.


notacoshells 5 years ago

YOu should just breed crested geckos. You can make a cool pattern because they don't have genetics like leopard geckos.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

i do just that. try competing with other breeders with the same product.


notacoshells 5 years ago

What you should do is go and sell you geckos at a reptile expo. go and buy a table and if someone makes a purchase pass them a business card with your website to get your name out there.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

I wouldn't recommend it. Right now there are so many ball python breeders out there that normal and average morphs are being sold for pennies. More expensive morphs are being sold for more, but without the experience and the reputation, you will have a hard time selling for anything other than a few dollars.


mike 5 years ago

hey im thinking of being a ball breeder in the future any suugestions or reccomendations cuz i have almost no expirience but i love reptiles and balls


BeardedGeckoBalls 6 years ago

I am currently breeding leos for the third time in my life, am about to breed bearded dragons and heve my ball pythons in hibernation getting ready for the breeding season.... I agree that you should not go into the reptile business thinking that you are going to get rich quick; However, there is money to be made... and regardless wethor you are selling morphs or the regular garden variety. There indeed are a lot of expenses to starting a reptile business, as with any other business you start(most businesses in the U.S. are expected to operate in the red for up to 5 years before starting to profit). But if you are smart with your finances you can easily recover your expenses and make a profit.

IDK where you think that breeding morphs is the only way to profit... the fact is that most average people that want to purchase a pet lizard or snake do not want to spend $1000 or even hundreds on one. Only breeders and collectors are willing to spend that kind of money. Limiting yourself to high end morphs really limits your market potential. As far as the pet market goes, there is a higher demand for less expensive reptiles $25-$150 range. And if you wanna supply to pet stores most will not pay a lot for expensive morphs, they want normals high-yellows and hypo-tangerines at low prices about $25 each for babies. My point is that although RARE morphs can fetch a high price with one sell, there is more demand for the normals and less expensive morphs that people want as pets. (The pet keeping general public citizens make up a much larger share of the market than the breeders and collectors willing to pay for the rare morphs) So the key is to breed a lot of normals and less expensive morphs(which also require less investment) and few of the more expensive, rarer morphs that only breeders are willing to purchase.

Another big help is, do start breeding your own food to cut down on expenses, and join social networks such as herp organizations and talk with other breeders. Networking is a great way to find cheaper and better ways of operating your business/hobby as well as finding good deals on breeders and supplies and a great source for advice.

My main point is that more expensive reptile investment does not = more lucrative profits, this is do to demand as I explained above. My last bit of advise to everyone is take a freakin business class it will help you a lot with learning to responsibly calculate finances, find funding, find a market for your products(reptiles), and a better overall understanding of running a profit seeking business.


whitie 6 years ago

i had a read thought the article and i breed my geckos and i never get much profit from them i also have 2 albion true red tail boas i got 32 newborns and i sold them all for £600 each i also have 2 jungel jaguar carpet pythons 23 hatchlings at £400 each profit just from snakes £28400 in one year just thought i would let you kno to help out a fellow hobby breeder


Tyler Hake 6 years ago

Hi I love this article its very good.Its really helping me set up for my first season :)

Thanks!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Depends on the morph and age.


k8 6 years ago

oh ha and i sold a lot of my new bach about a month ago for about 35 dolers ech is that good


Dragon Spirit 6 years ago

I wouldn't say that. I am a bearded dragon breeder. I set up tables at local shows and be very well. You have to find the cheapest way to do everything. Like build your own cages. Breed crickets. Buy breeders from shows and hagle with seller. They will go down on the price. If you really want the money it its out there.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Heat tape and a good thermostat. I recommend the Spyder thermostats


jay 6 years ago

how do you keep the temp right in one off the tub were im thinking of breeding corn snakes


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I have tried breeding crickets, and failed. I was successful at breeding roaches and mealworms for a while.

The market sucks. There's is a super high supply and a supply low demand. Make money- won't happen as a beginner. Yes, you have to start somewhere, but the "pros" will always be ahead of you. I can give you the names of several big breeders who will always be able to sell similar quality or sometimes less than what you have for $100s more.

The only thing I can recommend is start with just a pair or trio. Personally, the hobby is more stress than it's worth. I'm currently trying to minimize my collection to the point of just 1 breeding group of leopard geckos, and 3 or 4 crested gecko groups.

There's not much to learn about the reptile market, except it's one of the hardest ones to get into and make a name for yourself. Small breeders typically don't have enough to sell at expos for the profits to be great enough in regards to the expenses, so they don't really get their name out there.

Local shops generally already have their handful of sellers they buy from. Larger chains purchase from wholesale companies. Local people expect to pay very little, if not get the animal for free.

You'll find many people who try to sell their geckos, end up giving them away for free of for pennies because they can't get business.

As a hobby breeder, I'm telling you, the reptile market isn't worth it. No that's not because I'm trying to keep the limited customers I have to myself, but because it's just not worth it right now.


Miles 6 years ago

I am thinking of breeding leopard geckos for a hobby, simply for fun, and maybe sell babies to learn a little about the reptiles market. My question is whether or not you breed crickets or mealworms as well to cut your feeding costs? It would seem like a logical way to save money.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Separate them if you don't plan on breeding, and keep the separated at all times. Otherwise, they've probably already bred, take the male out. There is no reason to leave him in there with the female for more than a few weeks to breed. Most breeders just leave the male in the females tub for a few hours.


Tyke 6 years ago

Hey right now its breeding season and lately i know for shure my geckos arnt breeding. Should I separate them for a while or what?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Those were older, as I've sense bred all of my initial reptiles, of which I've totaled over $4000 in reptiles alone. I am still about $3000 in in the red for reptiles alone not including, supplies, feeders, electricity, etc. There is not a lot of money to be made in reptiles, especially as a beginner. Breeding your own feeders will help, but on the scale that I have just isn't feasable right now. I purchased over $1000 in dubia roaches in 2009, and with lack of time bc of other adventures and caring for reptiles, the roaches did not fair as well. If I had the $1000 to spend again, I'd work harder keeping the breeding group alive, but it's hard breeding and feeding from the same group. I once bred my own mealworms, but again I had to buy thousands before I could see any new worms.

I'd suggest start slow and very small before jumping into it. YOu'll find the market is saturated right now with people thinking they can make money. They you end up with high supply and low demand, meaning low selling point.

You can mark your reptiles down to $25 and know their quality and breeding genetics are worth at least %75 or $100, and know that larger breeders are selling for 4 times that for equal or lesser quality. And, guess what? People will STILL try ti talk you down from the $25.

I wish you luck, but reptiles is not a profitable hobby especially for a beginner. It takes years before you can make a dollar.


Casey 6 years ago

Thank you for the information. I feel that when it comes to lizards, prices for a particular morph are never going to stay hundreds of dollars above the other morphs of that species for more than a few years. My plan is realistic in that I am going to invest in high quality breeders of morphs that have been around for a while and therefore have reached a relatively stable price. I don't expect to be selling offspring for $1500 a piece or even $500 a piece because unless you are talking about a new morph, lizards simply don't sell for that much. I will be raising all of my feeder insects in-house which minimizes the costs so I expect electricity use and heating oil to keep the ambient temp. in the herp room up to be my largest expenses.

On another note, as someone else pointed out (albeit in a rude way) the money you mentioned as unreconciled investment sounds like a very reasonable amount to me, especially since you pointed out in your post that, at the time you wrote it, many of your breeders hadn't reached breeding age yet. I expect to invest a few thousand on my initial set up and breeders and not even begin breeding until my breeders mature a year or more later. This is a hobby as well as a side business venture for me and in the long run I expect it to pay off well. I also expect that it will take at least 2 years to get off the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in this business for the few who stick with it and have a sound business plan, but it is definitely not a 'get rich quick' industry and I think many people don't start out with a good plan or realistic goals.

How is your business doing at this point? best of luck to you and thanks again.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Electricity is pretty high, and besides basic supplies and feedersthe biggest expense.

As for keeping up with trends, there's nothing you can do. All you can hope is to create somethign better than the 10+ year breeders, which is going to be near impossible for a beginner breeder. If you plan on staying ahead of everyone else, you better plan on spending several hundreds on your first real breeder reptiles. IE if you plan on breeding AFTs, purchase a few white-outs and patternless ones, that range from $1000 and up.

From a beginner an novice breeder's perspective, you won't ever be on top of the game unless you're willing to spend a lot on your breeders.

The trends are hard to monitor. The only thing you can do is hope. I can tell you the $1500 enigma morph leopard gecko has gone down to about $50 in a matter of 3 years. If you didn't get in early, you're not making your money now.


Casey 6 years ago

Thanks for the info. I am looking into starting a small reptile breeding business and your page is very informative. How do your electricity costs relate to your other expenses? My initial calculations are showing that my electricity costs may be the largest part of my expenses. Also, do you have any advice on how to monitor the changing trends in what reptiles are hot in the market? Is it just guesswork?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Even small scale, you'll probably not make any money. People who breed, don't breed for the money. In all reality, I'm small scale in ocmparison to most hobby breeders, and it'll be a good minute before I even break even, but I'm not in it for the money. I'ts just the enjoyment of the hobby.


mr man 7 years ago

I am really found in reptiles and would like to start breeding them(Only small thing). Could any one point me in a good direction for small reptile breeding for mostly my own enjoyment, but to make a bit of money.

I have had reptiles before such as corn snakes and bearded dragons. Please take into consideration that this would be only very small.

Thank you!


petsnakes profile image

petsnakes 7 years ago from United States

Great advise. So many people don't consider the real expenses to breeding reptiles. I'll be sure to point people who might ask to your hubs. Personally I'm going to breed a couple of Tokay's but it will be, at least for the moment, strictly for personal pleasure.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

You have to file with a DBA or as a small business in order to take tax deductions.


Chris 7 years ago

Were you able to take your investments off your taxes, and if so, how? I have several ball pythons, and I have a few on deposit at my pet store, and want to breed them. Pretty much same deal as yours; just wanted to know about the taxes deal.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

I appreciate the comment and compliment.

Not really. I've tried to stay pretty un-attached to hatchlings and breeders. I have kept a few, but not many.


TAM 7 years ago

i've been reading a few of your posts (hubs??) and i have to say that i'm greatly impressed.

you're clearly well educated on the topic and i fully trust your opinion on reptiles. i would also feel very comfortable going to you as a breeder for pets.

when you first started breeding did you have a hard time parting with the hatchlings? i think for myself i'd worry about where they were going, if i could trust the person taking them. do you screen the people you sell to?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

That's cool. I am doing well. Success at times when I have anything available. All depends.


illminatus profile image

illminatus 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

Whitney I use breed "leos" as well. Very interesting article. How are you doing these days? Any success?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Nicko, that's a good idea. that or just buy frozen,

Hamster crazy, yes walmart is another source of tubs.


Hamster Crazy 7 years ago

Thanks a ton! Walmart has a lovely selection!


nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

You're probably are right about the rodents.I am going to try not to bond with them.haha.thanks


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Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

It depends on what you're looking for in terms of feeder insects. It's a good idea to find a place that's closest to you so that you can get overnight shipping for cheaper; otherwise it's typically priotity. I use flukers for crickets bc it's cheaper, but overnight is expensive bc they're further away than I'd like. The closest insect breeders to me have problems shipping in cold weather; with 75% dead most of the time, yet with other companies do it there aren't any problems. I used closer companies during warm months, but pay a tad more in shipping for fluker's during cooler months.

You'll have to just look around. I opt for different places depending on what I'm purchasing at the time since some places offer cheaper crickets but others may have cheaper superworms.

You'll have to purchase live rodents locally, as you'll probably not find anyone who will ship them to you. Best bet is to breed them. That's the cheapest method.


nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

I know this is besides the topic,but...hmm...where can I buy good feeder insects/live rats(I prefer to put out myself so I can inspect)and I do love rats as pets,but my pets have got to eat.I just cannot feed my own rats.I just love them too much.Great hub.Breeding is expensive.I have tried many times,but I ended up keeping most.Thank you so much.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

I got the bin at BigLots. Target and Walmart sells similar storage tubs. It's just a 66quart tub.


Hamster Crazy 7 years ago

Hmm... I can't seem to find t. Is it sold online? ('Cause I'm pretty sure that's not a Winnie-The-Pooh storage bin.)


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

The larger plastic bin? From Big lots.


Hamster Crazy 7 years ago

Hey! I was just ondering if you couldtell me where you got the large plastic bin in the first "Reptile Rack" picture. The second one down?


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Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I'd love to get into breeding Balls, but I barely have the time for the geckos and my ever expanding collection. ha. I would suggest bearded dragons, if you sell low they go quick. Uromastyx are cool, too.

I actually prefer not to go to expos. In GA, the expos are mostly snakes anyway.


BoaBilly 8 years ago

Yeah the ball market is definitely hit and miss. Even with high end morphs, its gambling, one Morph might be going for 1500 a pop, six months from now the same morph will be getting 200. so you have to really predict the market well and hope for the best. Albino balls are a relatively stable market, and I think they will be that way for a long time. Piebalds I think will maintain ther stability for a good long while as well. Boas are easy and the market is always stable, they also have a lot of offspring, another plus.

I have been wanting to get into breeding lizards but I am just not sure which yet. I was thinking Uromastyx but I hear breeding them is hard and I cant find much on the internet. so mabye there is a good reason why not a lot of people breed them but hey, I am always up for a challenge.

So a very attractive woman who breeds reptiles, you must get hit on a lot at reptile expos, just teasing of course, I just dont see a lot of women in the hobby and the few that are, are usually, well... Ill leave it at that.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Yea I think BPs are on the verge of being as variable as geckos, but boas and other pythons, not as much. I think a lot of colubrids are that way too. I've thought about breeding BPs, but I can't right now, as I'm living back at home, and they only allow the one. They don't mind the geckos, even though they don't like the amount of electricity they use.

I really do get sick when I realize how mu I spent on breeders and how much I'd be lucky to get back for them. I've recently purchased two male enigmas, and I know next year when they're breedable, I'm going to be pissed as I have a feeling that the market is going to be so full of them, the only way to sell them is to go way cheap and to basically get lucky.


BoaBilly 8 years ago

I hear that, geckos are definitely a riskier market, you have to have a lot bigger balls to spend half a grand on a gecko. Boas require smaller balls, they are definitely safer. even the ball python market is shaky, I have started breeding some morphs and it is like a roller coaster. but I still dont have the stomach for geckos yet. so for that I commend you! anyhow I did enjoy your article and it will make people think. this is like a dot.com business, many will jump in for fast cash and flop in a year, but the dedicated, patient few that make it will make it big.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Oh definitely. I've spent a few grand this year on different types and morphs of geckos, but I doubt that I make profit as you had. The gecko market is very variable when compared to boas and snakes. It seems I can pay $500 for a gecko and months later, I'll find something similar for like $300.

Definitely still a hobby, lol


BoaBilly 8 years ago

I have to agree with "Funny" on this one. I started (as a hobby) Breeding Columbian boas a 2 years ago, I spent 1000 bucks on 2 proven Hypo Boas. 500 on cages, 200 on food for the first six months. All in all it was 2000 investment with everything but when they gave birth... 21 babies = 3500 dollars! I almost doubled my money in six months, they bred again that year too. a total of 4300 profit in one year.

Ive expanded my collection and this year I am expecting 11,000 profit, Please note I STILL CONSIDER THIS A HOBBY, but I RUN it like a business.

So be smart.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I never said that $1200 was a lot for everyone, but for me it is. Please do not make assumptions. Also, even if you purchase morphs in demand, let them grow to appropriate breeding weights, they may not be in demand any longer. That's why I don't breed for profit, but for a hobby. You can never make tons of money breeding reptiles, unless you are a wholesaler or are one of the more popular breeders. Typically, the larger your name, the more you can charge. I'm not into this. I'm into breeding for a hobby. My feet are more than wet, and by the way I should update my tally to being well over $3,000 in debt, to date.


Funny 8 years ago

I was laughing at this artilce. Poor you $1200 in debt is nothing. The problem you are having is you're inexperience in business planning. You need to breed reptiles in demand. Morphs are in demand. You can buy 1 breeder rack for $1200. You can easily make up the money you spent if you do more research about what people are looking to buy in the reptile world. ;) Good luck. You have a lot to learn but it looks like you got your feet wet with breeding.


derekcaulfield 8 years ago

I love animals, but cats the best i think


highwaystar profile image

highwaystar 8 years ago from Australia

Hey Whitney05, I've got a new found respect for your open approach to sharing information, I like your style thanks again for the ins and outs of reptile breeding you're much appreciated, cheers!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you Talem.

Rudy- I have no idea!


Rudy 8 years ago

This is a well contructed article, for certain. What are you going to do when you graduate from college?


Talem profile image

Talem 8 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub. I admire your passion for breeding, and you are genuinely concerned for them, finances aside!

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    Whitney05 profile image

    Whitney (Whitney05)3,491 Followers
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    Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003



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