Well, usually I am just focused on matters at hand and don't veer too much into the day to day gamesmanship of the reptile trade!
However, a recent trend seems to have now become established, and frankly, I am finding it so unappealing that it has started to diminish my interest in working with an increasing number of projects.
This trend is keeping secret the results of various crosses or ingredients of combinations. I'm mainly talking about the ball python mix and match, guess what it takes to make this morph game, though recently it reared its ugly head in the boa world too.
I don't get it-and I'm not going to get it. Maybe it is because we have always tried to share as much information with everyone as possible so as to advance the hobby.
I understand about "strategy" and "competitive edge," I don't understand why you would be interested in any project that is so shrouded in secrecy that only if you buy it, the ingredients will be revealed. For me personally, the second a person says he will not show one of the parents of a cross, or disclose the results of breeding this to that, well, I immediately am not a customer. I think the interest in a lot of the base morphs would have been increased a ton if these secrets were unveiled, but apparently others disagree.
I just wanted to go on the record, that for me personally, it isn't just a single project presented by someone that would keep my money in my wallet-any project the person did, even if it was a straightforward one-I'm not interested. I just would think the pattern of non disclosure isn't limited to one project-it is a window into an overall decision making process that I don't agree with and won't support.
Now understand, I don't think that having a "secret project" is wrong. If a new morph was discovered in the wild, let's say the Leucistic Boa, and you were lucky to get it! Or you had something born/hatched from animals that were obviously not a result of some known morphs, but a new mutation that only that pair of snakes made. That to me is different. If you had a litter of boas, and there were, say, piebald babies born, from my point of view, it's OK to keep that secret! It does not have an effect on the marketplace. When common morphs are combined together, and you luck out and create some new designer snake and show the new morph (that anyone can make for $500), that is problematical for me.
Lacking the information on these projects, making any type of "investment" is taking a risk. Sometimes these things evolve-we don't know what will do what-but once the information is known, I think it should be disclosed.
Recently we had a litter of boas from two snakes the VPI Caramel Albino x Sharp albino, where the results would have an effect on the numbers of animals in potential production for a certain mutation. If the pairing resulted in "Paradigms", that would add a whole group of animals in to the mix of what could make that designer morph. If the pairing made normal boas it would mean that the VPI Caramel Albino was a distinct recessive mutation and that gene was not an allele of the Boa Woman Hypo and the Sharp albino. The results and knowledge of those results had implication and bearing on anyone's decision to purchase any, all, or none of the morphs.
When the babies arrived we immediately announced the results so people would have the information. Some people thought if we kept it secret that would be better. For ??, I'm not really sure.
At the same time a European breeder announced that he had results from a line of boas that he has declared as the same thing as the VPI line. No one could dispute that statement that his are the same, because the two lines have never been bred to each other. This lack of information has helped the breeder sell his animals more cheaply over here and essentially stopped any sales of my boas over there! I guess you can't argue with that strategy, because it has worked!! But as the recent cross between VPI Caramel and Sharp albino show, the results of the cross between the "Blonde Albino" line (originally produced in Russia or Poland, I think) and the Sharp albino would definately shed light on any compatibility questions. The breeder declared he would not disclose the results. It may very well be the same thing....or not!
Trust me I have tried to repeatedly get the information! I hear there is another breeder overseas who is expecting babies from this cross, so hopefully he will be more forthcoming!
When it is all said and done, you have to take what you get and handle it! It isn't fun some times, and I have mostly tried to be philosopical about it. I am amazed at my original naive nature regarding the business, BUT, the learning experience of it all has taken me to a stronger place. Tracy/VPI