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Posted by Chris Carmichael on May 10, 2003 at 05:08:01:
In Reply to: My suggestion is to find... posted by jkuroski on May 07, 2003 at 16:44:22:
Without getting exhaustive on the subject, I guess one of the problems with this thread is the definition of a big versus small breeding operation, and NO, I am not jumping on anybody's opinion but just adding my own. Does this big/small dichotomy equate to a full-time versus part-time business? Or just mere numbers of animals in the collection? Or number of hatchlings produced each year? Whether you are a small or large breeder or whatever (petshot, etc.), there are several important things to consider that one can inquire about before purchasing:
1) how clean is the facility and cages and animals (specifics could be added but no time to do so)?
2) how informed is the breeder of the captive gene pool they are working with?
3) are you looking for locale specific snakes, and if so, do you want outcrossed individuals, do you care if the animals are inbred (such as to get a certain phenotypic trait), etc.
4) what guarantees do they offer and do they 110% stand behind their animals, willing to replace if needed?
5) and probably one of the most important items that one should inquire before purchasing animals, but are they financially able to stand behind their animals in the event a replacement is needed or if a refund has to be made (I won't mention any names but I sure would like to!).
There are plenty of small breeders that are outcrossing perhaps allopatric (separate) gene pools from different populations, which may or may not be something that a buyer cares about. And, there are plenty of small breeders that have exceptional knowledge of where their animals came from, to assure not only that they can produce progeny from specific populations, but that they also avoid much inbreeding as well between closely related individuals. There are many part-time small breeders that have very little finances to refund or replace animals when needed, and then of course there are plenty that can and do. There are plenty of "big" breeders in the same situation that do a great job and have much better guarantees on their animals and are frankly easier to deal with when there is a problem. It is always unfortunate when any big or small breeder does not tend to their collection in a meticulous manner or make right on a refund/replacement, but I am not sure if being big or small can be dichotomized as big = poorly kept snakes and small = well kept snakes. Many big breeders have employees and personnel to help tend to the collection, small breeders often do not (this also has its advantages and disadvantages). The bottom line is find yourself a reputable breeder no matter what their classification (big or small) and get some referrals. Cheers!