Posts Tagged ‘ball python breeding’

Pieds are one of my favorite ball python mutations!  This girl is no exception.  She’s actually one of the favorite ones I’ve ever seen. Sometimes they will have a smiley face in there pattern like she has! Hopefully I can hatch out some more emoji pieds this summer! As you can see, I’ve named this girl “Happy” and every time I see her she brings a smile to my face!  

Here are a few pics of her and a short video! 

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Tonight I was checking on snakes and was very surprised to see that my albino female laid 6 eggs. I wasn’t expecting her to lay for another week or so. She had six really nice eggs this year.  All the babies with either be albino or double het albino tri stripe, as those were the only males she was paired with.

I was expecting my pastel sugar and albino burmese to lay today, but neither of them have yet.  They probably will tonight or tomorrow because of this tropical storm that’s passing over.

Anyway, here is a pic of the albino female on eggs!


I can’t wait for the next 60 or so days to be up so I can know what’s in these eggs!

This a question that I have been asked on multiple occasions by customers and potential customers. As a ball python breeder, I think it is very important question that requires some discussion. To answer this question, I always start by explaining how I got into ball pythons. I purchased my first ball python nearly 15 years ago. That python, who I named James- I later found out to be a female, was the one who started my passion for ball pythons. I quickly realized that ball pythons are the perfect pet snake. That is a universal fact. Up until I purchased James, I had only owned native snakes and I really liked the idea of having an exotic one. To a ten year old kid, it was pretty neat to tell all my friends that I had a python. I remember thinking that hatchling python was massive and to me at the time she was. 

Over the next few years I added more ball pythons here and there. Any extra money I made went into buying more ball pythons. It was a cycle. Make money, buy ball pythons, make racks, and then repeat. While at this point they were all normals, I lucked out with nearly everyone turning out to be female when I later got interested in breeding. That luck ended up helping me out big time. Once I got into morphs, my outlook changed. Every ball python I came over, I closely examined hoping I could come across a new morph. I remember going to shows as a teenager and picking through hundreds of baby imported ball pythons looking for subtle morphs. I found my granite, yellowbelly, charcoal, and cinnamon lines during that time. I was pretty proud of my investment when I proved out each of these lines.

Investing in ball pythons for breeding purposes can be a very rewarding experience that can and, if you do it right,  will be profitable. The ball python remade the Reptile Industry. The ball python has made the Reptile Industry bigger and stronger than it has ever been. Look at how many people keep ball pythons as pets and look at how many expos and how many online forums there are. It is absolutely stunning where it is today, compared to 15 years ago when I got James. Basically, the reasons why ball pythons are legitimate investment alternatives are as follows:

  1. Small Size: Even the largest of ball pythons can live out their lives in a 41 qt tub. Their small size allows the average person to have enough animals to have a successful breeding operation. An extra room or small shed can house a nice collection of ball pythons. They are big enough to be impressive to non snake people, but not too big to be an issue.
  2. Color Variation: Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no other reptile with as many color and pattern mutations as the ball python. Just look over at the World of Ball Pythons to see how many morphs there are. It is insane to think about and boggles the mind when one considers all the possible pairings. Anyone with a work ethic can be successful with their animals and can make a new morph.
  3. Ease of Care: The majority of snakes are easy to care for, but ball pythons are definitely one of the easiest. Most adults will eat every week or every 10 days. They will need to be cleaned once a week or so and watered 2 times a week. There is no special prerequisites to care for ball pythons. Breeding them is just as easy. Putting them together is usually all it takes for them to breed and the eggs hatch pretty reliably once you decide on an incubation method.
  4. FreedomFor me, ball pythons have provided an escape from the boring 9 to 5 work day. Believing in what I am doing is what has allowed me to be successful and turn the hobby into a successful venture. Hard work and good marketing has propelled what I am doing tenfold, which has made me believe more in what I am doing. It is great to know that I am working doing something I love.

Hopefully this post will help anyone who is on the fence about investing in ball pythons become more confident about their decision to invest because if you work hard, it is a good investment and you will see a return on your work.  Coming up soon: How to turn your hobby into a business!

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

-Peter vonLehe Ruegner

This year my first 5 clutches of eggs have been incubating maternally. To learn more about that, click here.

Clutch #10 was laid this morning! She must be a patriotic ball python. This particular female is tiny. She is 9 years old and barely 1,000 grams yet she is able to have eggs every year. She will have her weight back up to prebreeding levels very quickly. There is nothing physically wrong with this animal, she is just a small adult and is perfectly healthy. Otherwise she would not have had a good clutch of eggs. Think about it like this: not all people are the same weight and height and yet somehow they keep having kids.

At some point this summer, I will be probably moving my ball pythons to a different location and I don’t want to mess with maternally incubating females. Moving the eggs from site A to B could be a bad situation, so for the remainder of my 2014 clutches, I am sticking them in the incubator to be on the safe side, should I end up moving sooner than expected.

And my new breeding facility will be MASSIVE…but I will post about that later once I move and get it up and running.

Artificially incubating ball pythons eggs is rather simple. I made my incubator many years ago out of an old refrigerator. We got the fridge for free from a family friend and modified it into an incubator. We gutted the inside and placed wire shelves so we could set to the eggs in it. I have always used the sterilite 6qt containers for egg boxes. They work well. For bigger clutches, I either separate them or use a slightly bigger tub such as a 12 qt tub.

For incubation medium, I have always used perlite mixed with water and have had great success over the years. I do not like my eggs touching the perlite because they can become “water logged” so I cut a piece of grated electric light diffuser and place it in the bottom.

To keep a constant temperature, I use a Spider Robotics Thermostat. You can also use a helix system. Anything that has a probe and can detect less than one degree temp changes will work. I have my incubator set to 88.5 degrees and the eggs hatch in about 55 to 60 days.

After the first ones pip, it is okay to cut the rest of the clutch. I would not recommend cutting prior to pipping. Whether incubating maternally or atificially, it is best to leave the eggs alone and not constantly worry about it. They will hatch when they are ready.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

-Peter vonLehe Ruegner

As someone who has been breeding ball pythons for while, I figured I would offer my take on the state of the market. I have bred and hatched ball pythons for the last ten years. I have  pretty much heard and seen everything one can imagine in regards to ball pythons. In any market there are a lot of nay sayers and negative people, and that is especially true in the ball market. With that being said, think about this: I have sold every snake I’ve ever tried to sell and I’m not talking one or two snakes here people, I am talking literally hundreds each year.

If it doesn’t sell today, then it will sell tomorrow or the day after. Someone somewhere out in the world is looking for what you have to offer. You just have to find that person. That applies to anything, not just ball pythons. You have to work to market them correctly.

Selling snakes as a job is tough. It is probably the toughest job out there, but to me it is the most rewarding.  I worked as a banker for while and had a decent salary, but after making more each month selling pythons, I knew something had to change.  And it wasn’t the snakes. At this point, there have been multiple occasions where in one weekend at a show I would make more than a month’s salary at the bank. To sell snakes and be able to turn a profit,  you’re going to have to work your ass off. I mean that very literally.  It is hard work, but it can be done. I’m doing it now. And I am not a “big” breeder…not yet anyway…but I will dominate the ball market in another few short years once my “army” is fully up to size… 😉

What I have found is that marketing yourself  and working hard are the keys to your success.  That’s why I am posting on this blog, Facebook and youtube so much. I want my customers and potential customers to know what’s going on with TheOddBall. If no one knows I exist no one can buy my snakes and it won’t matter how many new morphs I’ve created. That sounds like a no brainer but most people don’t think about it that way. The picture below is of one of my female Charcoal Mojaves, a new project of mine. Check it out here.

Throughout my time breeding and selling ball pythons, I have had a positive attitude towards the market and what I am doing.  There will be many people who say the market is dead or is dying. In my experience the people who say that cannot breed and sell snakes successfully. Think about it: if they were successful why would they complain?  In any venture, there are those who say what you are doing should not be done. Many times the discouraging people are eternally pessimistic because of there own failures. Focus on what you know you can do and then do it. Most people think I’m crazy for doing this full time. I laugh at them because I’m doing what I love and it is paying the bills and then some. Part of my success is that I have a very thorough business plan that I follow, which I will discuss later. Even in a less than stellar economy, there is money to be made but only if you work hard. Working hard is what will make you stand out. When I do a snake show, I am there for one reason: to make money. That’s it. From Friday afternoon until Monday morning is considered “Go Time” and I will sell snakes during that period like a fiend. Since I have had that frame of mind, I have done very well at the shows.

Way back when, I remember when male pastels were selling for over $1,000.00 each. And at the time it was considered a cheap price. Now when I have them, I’m selling hatchling males for around $75.00 each and hatchling females for $150. each and still turning a profit. Lower prices  are not a bad thing. The longer a morph is around the cheaper it becomes. This is good for the following reason: more people can afford to buy it and the overall market will then grow. There will be more people keeping balls which means there will then be more people who will invest in new expensive projects!

The ball game is very addictive and no one is ever satisfied with their collection. I remember 10 years ago and never thought my collection would be where it is today. It is massive and has a lot of really amazing animals in it. But I want it to be bigger and more awesome. And it is going to be.

I will probably reinvest some money in several projects this year because of the direction I want my collection to go. I know others will do the same. My view of the market is that the future is looking bigger and brighter than ever! With all new projects and morphs out there, it is impossible for the market not to expand! I am expecting to have around 150 babies hatch again this year and I am confident that they will sell quickly, like they always have done.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

-Peter vonLehe Ruegner

Since 2008 I have bred and raised all of my feeder rodents. I regularly have around 200 snakes and need to have a constant food supply. Breeding my own rodents allows me to never be in a situation where I can’t get the food my snakes need. I never run out and have to worry about finding what I need. Not to mention, the money breeding my own rodents saves is enormous when you look at the prices of rodents online or at the local pet stores.

I normally set my breeding rodents up in 1.3 or 1.4 breeding groups. That applies to rats, mice and ASFs. This works well for maximum production. I use the racks that I made below as well as a lab style metal racks. The only downside is that right now I do not have an automatic watering system. I am in the process of getting that set up though.

Most female rats will have babies every 21 days and in my experience about 8 to 12 babies per litter. I leave the family group together with no problems. The females will share the babies between them in regards to which mother takes care of the babies. The males do not bother the babies. I have not had a problem leaving the male with the females and babies.

Once I can expand my rodent colony to reach a monthly production of 2,000 plus, I will be offering competitively priced rodents for sale again!

But first, with the way my ball python season is looking, I decided to add 18 new breeder females to the colony. And I will be adding more mice and ASF Rats in the near future!

Make sure to check back for rodent prices in the near future.