7 Smart Reptile Breeding Projects Today

So, you have a passion for keeping reptiles and you want to make a few bucks from your hobby. Maybe you’d like to make more than a few bucks. Here, I’ll list seven smart breeding projects that will bring in a decent amount of cash for your efforts. These animals are also generally easy to breed.

Breeding reptiles for money

I think it’s important to list some of the top-selling animals in the reptile industry but also include ones that are generally easy to breed. This means a minimal brumation period with some not needing to overwinter at all. Some of the snakes only need a few degrees drop in temperature while raising the humidity a bit to get things going. Let’s begin! 

1. Ball Pythons

After all these years ball pythons are still the hottest commodity in the reptile industry. One of my biggest regrets was not getting into this scene back in 2002/2003 when I had the opportunity to do so. I’ve been kicking myself in the pants ever since. 

Of course, morphs are what determines the going price on these snakes. While it’s true certain ball python morphs like pieds have come down drastically over the years, there’s still plenty of new ones available bringing in hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The ball python industry is still hot and showing no signs of slowing down. The initial investment on the parents determines how much the babies you produce go for. 

Ball pythons also stay at a manageable size their entire lives and have docile tendencies. They also breed without much trouble only needing a dip in temperature to stimulate a breeding response in both males and females. For more information about ball python care and breeding please visit my page on their complete husbandry. Take note that ball pythons are egg layers.

7 pet snakes that stay small
Ball python

2. Mexican black kingsnakes

The Mexican black kingsnake is somewhat of an anomaly. I remember visiting reptiles shows in the mid to late 90s. Mexican black kingsnakes went for $60 then. Well, that’s not the case anymore. If you look hard enough, you’ll come across one from $150. This price is usually found at reptile shows. 

On the other hand, I’ve seen them go for a minimum of $250 and $450 for females. Yes, that’s a little steep in my opinion but the Mexican black kingsnake is now the most sought after colubrid. These snakes have a great temperament and are easy to breed. They are egg layers but don’t let that intimidate you. I have a page on the complete care of Mexican black kingsnakes on this site

Of all the kingsnakes on the market now, the Mexican black is the true king. A decade ago it was the Gray banded kingsnake. They pretty much fizzled out due to their difficulties with eating. I don’t foresee this happening with the Mexican black kingsnake any time soon.

Mexican black kingsnake
Mexican black kingsnake

3. Leopard geckos

Leopard geckos have become immensely popular and rightfully so. As far as pet lizards go, leopard geckos are the most low maintenance. They can be kept in reptile racks so you can keep a large quantity in a small area. They’re voracious eaters and are generally docile. 

Leopard geckos are also nocturnal so they don’t need full/spectrum UVA/UVB, domes, or strip lighting. Some specimens readily eat canned crickets which means you can cut back on live insects which are a pain in the neck to keep. 

These lizards also breed readily when conditions are right. Check out my complete guide to leopard gecko care and breeding on this site for everything you need to know. Lastly, and this is important, leopard geckos come in a large variety of morphs. Some are worth more than others though. The rarer (or new) the morph is the more money its worth.

Female leopard gecko.
Leopard gecko

4. Boa constrictors 

Back around a decade ago when the big ban of Burmese, reticulated, and African rock pythons took effect, Ben Siegel from Ben Siegel Reptiles predicted boa constrictors would make a really big comeback. You see, in the early 2000s, boa constrictors were on fire in popularity. The Daytona Beach Reptile Expo planned their entire theme catering to the boa constrictor.

Soon after that, boa popularity waned big time. It got to the point that they weren’t worth anything anymore and no one wanted them. I didn’t believe Ben Siegel’s prediction would come true. As it turned out, he was right and I was dead wrong. Boas are back and they’re hot again. But let’s delve into this a little further.

There’s a saying, small snakes equal big money. Originally this saying was intended for dwarf reticulated pythons. Today, I’m applying it to boa constrictors. A full-grown Colombian boa constrictor can grow to eight to ten feet in length. Central American boas and Hog Island boas grow to only half that size. These are dwarf boa constrictors.

Keep this in mind though, a Hog Island boa constrictor breeding project is highly lucrative whereas central and Nicaraguan boas are much cheaper. Generally, the rarity, locale, and colors all play a role in dictating how much the snake is worth. Normal Colombian boas are generally cheap unless you get into the morphs. Then prices become hefty.

Another smart breeding project is the cryptic patterned Argentine boa. While these boas grow to the size of Colombians, they’re pretty rare these days making them expensive. Finally, the true red tail boas also fetch a pretty penny. Many come in as wild-caught captives but I’m seeing more and more captive-bred specimens which are encouraging.

I recommend sticking with captive-bred animals unless there’s no other choice. True red tail boas come from such countries as Peru, Suriname, Bolivia and some other locales in South America. Whether captive-bred or wild-caught, these snakes are high-priced. 

Other great things about boas are that they bear live young. You won’t have to deal with incubating eggs. They also breed easily with a mild dip in temperature while raising the humidity. How can you go wrong?

Nicaragua boa care
Nicaraguan boa constrictor

5. Indigo snakes

Certain species of indigo snakes require a permit to keep them. A prime example is the endangered black indigo. Then there’s the Texas indigo and South American indigos. These are also called cribos.

All these snakes are pricey and make for a smart breeding project. They get really big too. They’re mostly docile with the South Americans being a little more likely to bite. These snakes need large enclosures and a varied diet to truly thrive. They’re also egg layers.

6. Various morphs

We live in an age where many species of snakes come in various morphs. Morphs equal money no matter which snake you choose to breed. Scaleless rat and corn snakes are really big right now and this is only one example. Do your research and learn what snake species are capable of producing morphs. Even Great Basin gopher snake morphs are pricey.

Super Mack Snow leopard gecko
Super Mack Snow leopard gecko

7. Feeder roaches

No, we’re not ending this article with a species of snake. Instead, we’re going to talk about feeder insects, specifically roaches, aka cockroaches. There’s a really big call right now for feeder roaches and for good reason. They’re cleaner than crickets and smell far less offensive. They’re just as nutritious as crickets and most lizards seem to love them!

The problem is, only a few people breed feeder roaches across the United States and they’re not cheap. There’re currently two species of roaches being bred by small business owners. These include the discoids and the dubias. The dubias are illegal to ship into Florida so there’s an even bigger call for discoids. These small businesses are often low on stock due to their high demand.  

Seriously, the roach industry has lots of room for growth and new breeders. Check out some of the price breeders are selling them for. You’ll need some room to do it along with some Rubbermaid bins and food. The overhead is fairly cheap. Roaches are also far hardier than crickets so there are fewer die-offs. They also don’t escape like crickets often due. 

Discoid roaches.
Discoid roaches.

Conclusion

Feeder roaches end our article on smart breeding projects. No, they’re not reptiles but still offer a great business opportunity for those who keep them. If you have a bearded dragon or other lizards that takes insects, think of all the money you’ll save.

Then think about the extra roaches of the population that get sold off. There’s definitely more money in breeding roaches as reptile food than killing them in the pest control industry.

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7 Smart Reptile Breeding Projects Today

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