Wow, things look better on the gasoline front, with prices going down daily! Hopefully that trend will continue! There was a point there where you could make a choice of filling your car/truck or buying a pastel ball python! Now that is a no brainer choice, obviously I'd drive less and get the pastel ball python!
The question is whether all the "gas surcharge" fees on our bills are going to go away also. I doubt that's going to happen! Imagine putting "gas surcharge" fee on your snake purchase invoice! VPI would never do that!!
I have to say that I've never been so glad to have my snakes. First of all I love my job, second my snakes are still here and not floating away as a number on a piece of paper, and third they can make more snakes!
This is a crazy time we are in, but at the same time the snakes have consistently been a source of happiness and learning for me. We have some amazing projects and are working to learn more and more about them and share that information with everyone so they can take better care of their snakes, know more about them, and keep and breed them successfully. No downside there!
People have snakes for a myriad of reasons, mostly because they love them. Of course as in anything in this day and age, the financial aspect does come into play, because everyone is jostling all kinds of responsibilities in his/her life. "The market" is a source of conversation as people scan ads daily to look for what animals they want. Prices are reflective more of individual needs by sellers than value of anything for sale per se.
If a price of an animal goes down and you have bought one for more a year ago, ask yourself this question. Would I trade my year old snake for a baby at today's cost plus get the difference of the original price in cash?
Example: If you bought a snake in 2007 for $800, would you have traded it this year for a 2008 hatchling for $400 and $400 cash?
I can tell you that in my survey not a single person has said he/she would go in his/her snake room and bag up their year old snake and send it off for a newly hatched baby and the difference in cash.
Why is that?
Several reasons. We love our snakes. We spent time working with and raising that snake for a year, and that year represents a lot of things in a snake's life. It is bigger, it is older, it is one year closer to maturity and eventual reproductive age.
I'll continue to get more feedback on this question, but for me personally when I look at my animals I look at having them for a life time. Any market dynamics are quickly integrated into the equation and any downside in terms of prices being lowered are absorbed within the first year of reproductive success.
Let's go into the future for this year. If you could afford in your budget to purchase the snake below ( a male ghost) right now for $500 including shipping, and you raised it for the next 10 months until August 2009, and you realized you could now get the same snake as a just hatched baby for $350 shipped, would you trade him in for a 50 g new baby and $150 cash back?