How to Choose a Baby Chondro

BEJI-09-10AThere are many thoughts and theories for what are the best methods to choosing a baby chondro (green tree) python.  The reason for this is that baby chondros don’t resemble their parents at all.  If you want to select a baby with any desired traits, it is a complete gamble while they are still displaying their baby colors and patterns.  So all those thoughts and theories are just that – complete theory.  I am here to offer some different traits to look for in a baby chondro that often go overlooked by the novice keeper.

  1. Health.  This sounds like a no-brainer and may even seem silly to include in a list of choosing any live animal.  However, the health of a baby snake is difficult to determine.  So one needs to inspect the animal closely to look for clues of health issues that are immediate or long term.  Signs of a healthy snake include clear bright eyes, no mucous discharge from mouth or nose, alert, steady and fast tongue flicks, sensitivity to touch down the entire body (including the tail), no discharge from vent, good weight and no ribs visible, no protruding bones that would indicate an injury, etc.
  2. Seller.  While the seller has no influence over what the animal will look like, they have every influence over what kind of animal they sell and what kind of support you will get after the sale.  It is unfortunate that most of those who make a living selling reptiles don’t take enough interest in the animals to control the quality of their inventory.  New buyers are much better off spending a little extra money buying from a reputable breeder or keeper who knows the species well than the dealer at a show offering lots of different species without knowing the health of any individual animal.  These dealers rarely have the time or interest to help educate a new keeper, while the part-time hobbyist loves to share their passion with anyone willing to listen.
  3. Physical traits other than appearance.  This is not to be confused with color or look, physical traits are size, head shape, survival instinct, and breeding success.  You can do some research into the lineages of captive breeding lines and see which lines seem to produce more offspring and which ones seem to die off.  Some of the designer lines have simply not produced offspring that were able to go on and produce more offspring.  So these lines tend to slowly “evaporate”.  It is best to stay away from offspring from these lines if at all possible.

Notice how none of these tips mention price.  The price of the animal should never be the first concern.  If it is, then chondros are definitely not the species for you.  This is not to say that one should spend thousands on high end animals, but that buying a “bargain” animal will often lead to expensive or frustrating issues later.  There are lots of captive bred animals available below $500 from reputable breeders.  Do some research and save yourself lots of money over the life of the animal instead of trying to save too much up front.

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