Enchi - 2011 Female #4 This girl wanted to take my head off!
Who we are...
If this is your first time here, welcome to acreptiles.com, the online home of Anthony Caponetto Reptiles. 95% of what we produce are either crested geckos or ball pythons - two species I feel are, by leaps and bounds, better suited as pets than most other reptile species.
I have kept reptiles for most of my life now, starting with some anoles at the age of seven and graduating to a big Burmese python by my senior year of high school. I got rid of my reptiles when I was going to school and working full-time, but after school, in 2001, I moved out and began putting together my existing collection. In addition to doing this for a living, I maintain a pretty good sized personal collection, consisting of several other species...carpet pythons, blood pythons, roughly a half dozen boa species, gargoyle geckos, a few tokay geckos, and my mourning geckos. Crested Geckos The crested gecko is a species I really can't say enough good things about, and they make up the majority of our sales and reptile production. They make outstanding first-time reptile pets, and the insane number of pattern and color variations keep even the hard-core enthusiast intrigued year after year. I kept tons of reptiles as a kid/teenager, but my current collection started with pythons in 2001 and then got my first crested geckos in 2003. I quickly became obsessed with producing designer crested geckos. Since then the collection has grown to thousands of geckos, a result of having developed (and named) several designer gecko morphs/traits that have become household names today, like the Red Harlequin/Pinistripe, the Super Stripe, and the Phantom Pinstripe, just to name a few. To my knowledge, we are now home to the largest colony of selectively bred crested geckos in the world, and the world's third largest breeder of crested geckos overall. The collection is still growing steadily, as we work hard to keep offering new and exciting projects and variations.
Ball Pythons This is a species most people aren't aware I've been keeping since before I got my first crested gecko! In all fairness I didn't really get serious about ball morphs until 2009, so the brunt of my work with ball pythons the past 5-6 years has been geared toward raising and producing female morphs to raise as future breeders.
We have already produced roughly 10-15 world's first designer morphs, and have also proven out several new co-dom genes. Now it's time to go to the drawing board and see if I can't make some worthwhile combos. On this page are the Agent Orange Lesser and the Holey Pastel (Hotel). Our Sunkist ball python project has produced some incredibly cool combos as well!
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Crested Gecko Prices
One thing you'll no doubt notice when you start shopping for a crested gecko is that prices can range from around $35 to $2,000 or more (yes, crazy things are starting to happen in the crested gecko world).
"Why would I spend $300 to $2,000 on a fancy gecko when I can get a crested gecko for $50 at Petco?"
You might find yourself saying "I could see that for something less common like a leachie or chahoua, but not a crested gecko!"
In reality, the most popular reptile species in the pet trade all have extreme high and low priced versions. Normal leopard geckos go for $19, yet new morphs commonly bring several thousand dollars. Ball pythons can also be had for around $19, but the newest and most popular morphs fetch prices in the tens of thousands. It's because of their popularity as a pet that normal specimens are bred in numbers and can be had for cheap...but their popularity also causes demand for higher end specimens amongst breeders and serious hobbyists.
So to answer that question, a $300 crested gecko, to many breeders, is more valuable than a $300 leachie or chahoua. This is because they're easier to breed, more predictable, more popular as a species and because they will produce more offspring.
As many of us are aware, ball python market is at an all time low - or is it? Sure, if you look at the price of any morph and what it cost five years ago, it will be less expensive today. But why would you expect to get ahead producing/selling the same thing that was hot a few years ago? The idea is to move forward. Think about how many triple or quadruple gene combos have taken that morphs place at that particular price point. Single gene co-dom morphs have long replaced the normals in our clutches, meaning we have fewer and fewer snakes to offload for ten bucks each to pet shops. Now, the byproduct snakes we produce are single gene and double gene morphs, still worth decent money compared to normals.
With prices down this year (2013), I concentrated on producing morph females I needed, and on a few of the newly proven mutations that I've collected over the years. I also did a lot of trading and bought quite a few new future breeder males, all for very reasonable prices - yet still enough money to leave a smile on the faces of the breeders I bought them from. Last time the market was down, about 2009-2010, I invested in a number of morphs that didn't fall at all until I was actually producing them. From an investment standpoint, I feel comfortable with where I am with those projects.
When non-reptile-keepers see my snake collection, a common question, or concern, is why the snakes are kept in such seemingly small enclosures. I have even had inexperienced keepers accuse me of housing my snakes in inhumane enclosures. "What kind of life is that?" one of them said.
Many people who are just starting out in the hobby think it's ideal to give their snake a "naturalistic" home...and then they approach this by putting it in a giant glass box, with a big ass spot light shining on it, usually on green "astro turf" style carpet....and don't forget the plastic plants!