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Part 2: BHB Reptiles interview

This is the second of a two part interview I conducted via Email with Brian Barczyk, owner of BHB Reptiles. Part one was once hosted on a site called reptile geeks but it doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Be sure to stop by Brian’s podcast site, and have a look at some excellent video footage he and his crew have shot of their operations!

Do you have a particular snake you would call a “pet”?
I have about 500 that I would call my Really I think I have a couple Ball Pythons, a Hypo nile Monitor and a Rock Python that I don’t even think of breeding, they are just my pets. I love them all, but those are the ones that are just my personal pets.

Hmm… I wonder if this is Brian’s “pet” monitor at the end of this video?

Which incidentally reminds me I’m look for a monitor or a tegu. Any advice out there for me?

How do neighbors react to your business?
We really keep to ourselves here. My direct next door Neighbor knows what we do here and he’s great about it. I really haven’t ever talked to my other neighbors about what we do. When you drive by our building you would never know what we do. That’s the way I like it, you just don’t need a mob running to the city about kicking you out.

Absolutely and with the way that people tend to react to snakes and other reptiles low key is just common sense. Loud and proud isn’t always a good idea.

What are three things that you’ve been surprised to see change over the years in regards to keeping snakes as pets?
I think one is the popularity of reptiles. To see them in so many commercials and being kept by so many households. I just never thought it would grow like it has. Second would be how large a company like ours has grown. I just never thought it would be possible twenty years ago to produce the number of animals that we do and still sell them, it’s really mind blowing. And third is the color mutations in all the species. When I started albino Corns and Snow Corns were the big thing. There was hardly any mutations at all, not there are hundreds to choose from.

I wonder if the popularity of reptiles has degraded their quality or is it too much of a hassle for most of the “fly-by-night” people to get involved with? I believe Brian’s business has grown due in large part to how he conducts himself. His passion for his snakes shines through in everything he does and it’s hard not to want to do business with a guy like that. As far as morphs go I’m in agreement. It’s amazing how many different looks that one kind of snake can take on via breeders manipulating the genetics by breeding to bring out certain traits.

How many staff do you employ not counting direct family?
We have eight full time employees. We could probably use more:)

Would you do it all over again?
In a second, I love what I do as much now as I did twenty years ago. I always say that the day that I don’t get excited about hatching the cheapest snake I have will be the day I get out of the business.

I doubt anyone can argue with logic like this!

Do you or have you worked with venomous species?
No, I love to look at them an I think there’s a place for them in the industry. I just get bit way too much. I know it wouldn’t be right for me.

I don’t blame you Brian! Getting bit would be no fun at all!

Do you have a formal education in biology, or zoology or a similar area?
I went to colledge for Biology, figuring that I would get my Herp degree. By time I was in my second year I realized that this was the way I wanted to go with my life. I think I made the right decision:)

From the looks and sounds of it you certainly made the right decision Brian. If not there’s always night school!

Biggest regret in the past 12 months regarding a business decision?
I really never regret business decisions. I make a lot of good decisions and of course I make a lot of really bad ones. You have to just put them behind and hope that the good outweighs the bad. I like the quote ” often wrong, never in doubt”.

Great quote I’ll have to keep that in mind. I’m sure I can find a use for it about 50,000 times a day.

Would you recommend breeding snakes to others as a business (or even a hobby)?
Of course I would! If I didn’t believe in what I do, I wouldn’t do it. It’s been so rewarding for me and my family. I wish everyone could share my life. The only advise I would give is to have passion for it. You have to love it with everything to be really good at it.

Excellent advice summed up in one word here. Passion. Without passion for a business like this you’ll quickly go under.

What is the main question I should have asked but didn’t?
What was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you as a reptile breeder?

I would answer that the day I hatched my first Pied Bald Ball Python was probably the coolest thing that I can remember. They had just been proven out by Pete Kahl a few weeks earlier and I had a ton of money into this project. This was not only a huge investment, but a picture I saw of a Pied years before is what got me so excited about Ball Pythons. I remember the very moment that I cut the egg and saw the one and only Pied I produced that year. It was such an incredible feeling!! I’ve had a lot of great stuff happen since, but that one probably still is my most exciting moment.

Excellent question and even better answer. That’s why it’s always good to let someone you are interviewing ask themselves a question!

Once again I’d like to thank Brian for taking the time to fill out the interview questions for me! I encourage anyone considering a new snake to at least contact Brian at BHB Reptiles and see what he has to offer! Thanks for reading!

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