Albino ball pythons as investments...

Dear VPI,

I have been considering trying to breed albino ball pythons. Can you honestly tell me if there is much of a market demand out there for amateur breeders with albino balls? I'd like to have an idea before I make such a steep investment.  Thank you,  Chris

Dear Chris,

Well, I'm not sure what the going price is for an amateur breeder with albino balls, I've never seen one offered on ebay. I suppose it depends on the physical condition and the size of his... oh, wait, you mean can amateur breeders sell albino ball pythons. Well, so far as we can tell, we think that right now you could be a well-known hardened criminal and still sell all of your albino ball pythons.

Seriously, the demand has changed very little over the past few years--they are a popular snake, even compared to some of the other more glamorous morphs. The market has been strong for albino ball pythons since they were first offered about 12 years ago, which is really remarkable. Every year breeders offer their babies for a little less than in previous years, but the demand for albino ball pythons remains very strong and we think will remain so for a long time. After all, they are extraordinary snakes.

Yes, the price has come down on albino ball pythons, but even after a dozen years the albino ball python market is still immature. That means that the price you pay for hatchling ball pythons today will likely be more than the price you receive for the baby ball pythons you produce a few years down the road. "How much less will it be?" you ask. We don't know. Nobody knows for sure. But the price has come down more slowly for albino ball than most other morphs that have been in the market for far shorter times. We think that is a good measure of the popularity of the morph.

If you're considering this as an investment, then it's essential to consider it as if you were purchasing a stock or a CD or a mutual fund. You have to decide on what a reasonable return on your investment would be, then project the financial outcome based on what you think the future price for ball pythons is going to be.  Just like picking stocks on the New York Exchange, there is some guesswork and predictions that are involved.

I guess the strongest endorsement that I can give is to say that we continue to maintain and breed albino ball pythons, and they remain one of our favorite morphs.       DGB