Where Can You Sell Ball Pythons? (With Pros and Cons!)
Since many are selling ball pythons, you may want to sell some of yours too. Do you have hatchlings to sell or just a single snake you need to rehome? What are the methods you can do to sell one? Will it be hard or easy to do?
Ball python can be sold online, at reptile expos, to wholesalers, and sometimes in pet stores. Nevertheless, the option chosen might greatly affect the price of the ball python depending on specific conditions. Most sellers consider selling online as the best option as it offers free posting and a wide range, among other factors.
Ball pythons have the most sales in comparison to other pet snakes. But can they be sold that easily? What should you do first before selling a ball python? All of these questions will be answered as you read until the end!
Ball pythons can be sold online using different platforms like reptile classifieds, forums, social media, and buy/sell websites. Each has differences but there is one thing in common: selling through posts/ listings.
Selling ball pythons online is becoming more and more prominent nowadays. Though it is one of the easiest options in selling snakes, each online platform has its own pros and cons.
|Type of Online Platform||Sites||Positives||Negatives|
|Reptile Classifieds||– MorphMarket|
|– Easy to navigate|
– Can cater to many countries
– Can sometimes cater to local transactions
– Can get vouched
|– Too much competition|
– Requires payment if posts exceed the max. limit (50)
– Can cater to local transactions
– Can get vouched
|– Limited advertisement options|
– Can be confusing to navigate
– Moderate chance of scams
|Social Media||– Facebook||– Free|
– Ease of advertisement through photos
– Can cater to local transactions
– Can create a personal page
– Can get vouched
|– Cannot use selling option of the site|
– Moderate chance of scams
|Buy/Sell Websites||– Craigslist |
– Can cater to local transactions
– Ease of use
|– Legal concerns- Hard to get vouched |
– Higher chance of scams
4 Advantages of Selling Ball Pythons Online
When selling ball pythons online, there are many advantages, namely: 1) free posting, 2) versatile usage, 3) ease of access, and 4) wide range.
1. Free Posting
In general, selling ball pythons online is free of charge. Only a few sites require payments for additional services like advertisements, additional listings, front page postings, and many more.
Advertising can also be done for free on websites like Facebook and Instagram by making an official page or account. But expenses will come from availing of automated advertisement services.
The paid ad services on social media are not necessary for selling ball pythons. Other than the additional expense, the sale of live animals is not promoted by Facebook and Instagram.
Many opt to sell their ball pythons online due to endless possibilities with little to no expense. This means that you can freely make your own page, post listings on certain sites, and contact buyers without a single penny charged from you.
There are paid websites, such as Morphmarket and Reptile Classifieds, that allow you to sell ball pythons through their platform. But the sign-up is free and you are typically entitled to 50 free posts before you are charged.
2. Versatile Usage
Selling a ball python online can be done in different methods. It can be done by creating a social media page, and through posts on reptile classifieds, forums, and buy/sell websites.
Like most ball python breeders, you can create a Facebook or Instagram page to showcase your beautiful snakes. If you have only a few to sell, you can post them in Facebook groups, forums, and buy/sell websites that are dedicated to the reptile community.
3. Ease of Access
The online selling of ball pythons is the easiest method which can be done with a smartphone or a computer and a stable internet connection. Most sites only require an account to be able to sell an animal.
You can also access different kinds of information like the average ball python pricing and availability of morphs. This will help you determine whether you are overpricing or underpricing your own ball pythons for sale!
Some websites even verify buyers to prevent sellers from getting scammed.
4. Wide Range
Most reptile-selling websites can provide sellers the option to sell within a city/ state or country. Some selling websites can also cater to an international range. You can choose to sell to only those near your location or those farther away from you.
With such features, you can increase your reach and sell ball pythons to more interested buyers!
Additionally, you can either ship the snake, meet up with the buyer, or let them pick it up in an agreed place.
4 Disadvantages of Selling Ball Pythons Online
There are disadvantages to selling ball pythons online like: 1) lack of regulations, 2) risks of shipping, 3) scam risks, and 4) high competition.
1. Lack of Regulations
Due to the lack of regulations, most selling sites that allow ball pythons have illegal sellers in their midst. Some sites don’t take into consideration certain state laws for transactions.
There can also be accidental cases where sellers did not know that they are going to ship in a location with laws relating to keeping ball pythons. Failure to comply may result in confiscation of the snake, fines, or jail time.
In my area, there have been many buy-bust operations related to the illegal selling of ball pythons online. The snakes in some operations got confiscated, then the perpetrator got fined and in some cases, confined in jail.
Pro Tip: When you are going to ship a ball python to another location (state, city, or country), first check whether or not the selling/transporting of the snake requires an additional permit or is banned.
2. Risks of Shipping
One of the biggest disadvantages of selling ball pythons online is the hassle of shipping. Since most transactions are not done through meet-ups, shipping will be the primary mode of delivery to the buyer.
Problems due to the shipment of live pythons include additional expenses and dead-on-arrival (DOA) due to improper delivery. DOAs can happen due to mishandling, even if you packed the ball python properly.
3. Scam Risks
Online sellers can also be scammed by fake buyers and fall victim to phishing on some selling websites. Although many selling sites have found a solution to combat this, forums and other pseudo-selling sites are not 100% safe from scams.
Warning: There are no known selling websites for ball pythons that require upfront payment and credit card information when signing up as a seller. This is a red flag for credit card phishing!
The best sites to sell your pythons at are those that require some form of verification not just for sellers, but for buyers as well. This protects the seller in case the buyer suddenly backs out from a transaction.
4. High Competition
When selling ball pythons online, one of the main problems is the number of competitors. Because it is virtually free to sell online, thousands of breeders and sellers use online platforms to sell their snakes.
As a whole, ball pythons for sale in online markets can reach hundreds of thousands of different interested buyers worldwide.
However, selling regular or very common morphs may not even be bought or have a drastically lower price due to low demand. This is the result of the huge density of sellers lowering their prices to attract more potential buyers.
2. Reptile Expos
Ball python sellers in reptile expos can talk face-to-face with potential buyers in their expo booths. This is because reptile expos are large-scale events for people who are interested in exotic animals, including ball pythons.
I have also attended a reptile expo within a 2-hour drive from my place. As a buyer, I saw how friendly and interactive the vendors are at the event. So I enjoyed socializing with those with similar interests as me.
Attending a reptile expo is definitely worth it—regardless if you’re an enthusiast, buyer, or seller!
3. Advantages of Selling Ball Pythons in Reptile Expos
Ball python vendors sell in reptile expos due to: 1) fast transaction, 2) interactive display, and 3) hobbyist experience.
1. Fast Transaction
Selling ball pythons in expos is one of the easiest methods because shipping is not needed and everything happens on the spot. You can also receive the payment directly with no additional fees
Being able to sell your ball pythons directly to buyers allows you to also market them to other people. You can even encourage and give husbandry tips to potential buyers.
Interested buyers may also find you more trustworthy if they have a transaction with you in person. This is because they can also see and inspect the ball pythons you have on sale.
2. Interactive Display
The difference between seeing a ball python display in-person compared to pictures online is night and day. Buyers are more likely to purchase a snake that they see in reptile expos.
Buyers can also be persuaded even more if they are given the chance to personally handle a ball python rather than just look at it. They can also be assured that the snake itself is in good condition as they check it in person.
3. Hobbyist Experience
Some sellers opt to sell ball pythons in reptile expos due to their fun and interactive nature. The act of being able to converse with people with the same passion makes attendees of an expo feel delighted.
Interactions during an expo will not only be fun! It can also help you meet different breeders and buyers to form more connections. Connections like this can greatly help your ball python breeding hobby and business.
3. Disadvantages of Selling Ball Pythons in Reptile Expos
Selling ball pythons in expos come with disadvantages like: 1) mandatory expenses, 2) infrequency, and 3) greater effort.
1. Mandatory Expenses
One of the reasons why some ball python sellers may refuse to sell in expos is the expenses. Some additional costs include expo fees, display cases, food, and transportation.
For seller registration, the average price is around 200-600 dollars—or more—depending on the size of your booth and other factors which greatly vary among different expos.
The bigger the scale of the expo, the more expensive the vendor fee is.
In other words, if you have less than 10 ball pythons to sell, the expo expenses might outweigh the profit. So if you are going to sell only a few snakes, selling in reptile expos might not be the best option for you.
Reptile expos only happen more or less 3–5 times a year. There have been years where there are no reptile expos in some locations.
Moreover, such events only accommodate certain locations depending on the expo facilitator.
Hence, reptile expos are not considered a primary selling method for most ball python breeders.
Those who chose to participate as a vendor in these events often sell 50–200 snakes at a time due to how rare reptile expos are. Still, being able to sell all their ball pythons is never guaranteed.
3. Greater Effort
The effort needed to sell ball pythons in reptile expos is greater than other methods of selling. From preparation to cleaning up, the process of being a vendor in expos is tiring.
When selling in expos, most wake up very early to place the snakes into the display cases and prepare the advertising props. Then the drive will vary depending on the location of the event itself.
The clean-up after the event is also exhausting due to the process of unloading and loading the animals.
Even though it is tiring to attend such a large-scale event, the majority of reptile expo vendors state that the effort is worth it!
Breeders and keepers who are planning on selling ball pythons can also look into wholesale buyers. Most wholesalers offer to buy a minimum of 5–10 ball pythons per transaction. Afterward, they will often sell these live animals exclusively to pet stores and zoos.
Here are some known reptile wholesalers in the USA:
- Apet Inc
2 Advantages of Selling Ball Pythons to Wholesalers
Selling ball pythons to wholesale buyers has advantages like: 1) fast transaction and 2) stable inventory.
1. Fast Transaction
Selling to wholesalers is the easiest and fastest way to sell ball pythons. Some wholesalers accept a minimum of 1–10 snakes depending on the mode of transaction.
There are wholesalers that accept 1–5 snakes as long as it is dropped off at their facility. But, in most cases, they will accept a minimum of 10–15 ball pythons if you opted for shipping.
Wholesalers will not make a big deal of morphs. Some will even offer to bulk-buy of 1–2 genes of snakes in any gender at a fixed price.
2. Stable Inventory
When having an oversupply of ball pythons, selling to wholesalers is the fastest way to stabilize a huge inventory of snakes.
This often happens when there are ball pythons that did not sell for a long time. It will be very difficult to properly take care of too many ball pythons all at once.
2 Disadvantages of Selling Ball Pythons to Wholesalers
Some ball python sellers do not transact with wholesalers due to: 1) lower profit and 2) sub-par care.
1. Lower Profit
The main reason why ball python sellers refuse to sell to wholesalers is lower potential profit. Most wholesale buyers will only offer to pay 25–50% of the market value of certain morphs when bulk buying.
Other wholesalers will offer a fixed price depending on the morph rarity and age. The majority of wholesalers only offer an average of 25–50 dollars per snake.
If you are not a big-scale breeder, then I recommend selling your pythons to pet owners or other breeders instead.
I would give you the same advice if you can still take care of the ball pythons that don’t sell immediately
2. Sub-Par Care
Another reason why wholesalers are not the optimal buyers of ball pythons is due to the minimum care they give to these animals. With a bigger collection of animals, there is a higher chance of pythons and other reptiles being neglected.
Even though most wholesalers provide healthy ball pythons, their quality of life is kept at a minimum which only allows the snakes to survive . With basic, if not barren, setups, a ball python is not going to thrive and reach its full potential.
>> Find out how to help your ball python thrive in our article on effective enrichment!
Barren enclosures with limited heating and lighting are the most common problems in terms of ball python care in huge collections.
Can You Sell Your Ball Python to a Pet Store?
Ball pythons can be sold at some small-scale reptile shops but not in big chains. Most big-scale pet stores get their ball pythons through wholesalers and importers.
Although rarely done, you can sell your ball pythons to a small mom-and-pop pet store.
Local reptile shops can sometimes take them off your hands for a price of about 50–80% of market value depending on their purpose.
These reptile shops will pay a higher price for a ball python especially if they need it for a breeding project.
Problems You Can Encounter When Selling Ball Pythons
When selling ball pythons, breeders may experience problems related to 1) legality, 2) delivery, and 3) irresponsible buyers.
In some states, like Hawaii and New York, selling and keeping ball pythons is illegal. There are also places where keepers and breeders are required to have an additional permit to sell exotic animals.
There are also some locations where selling requires an additional permit, especially if the pythons are produced through captive breeding.
Wild-caught specimens are still imported up to this date and are often bought by big pet store chains across the world . So although captive-bred ball pythons are the most prominent at present, many big chains still sell wild-caught pythons.
You will not be able to sell your ball pythons all over the world either. Examples of countries where ball pythons are banned from being kept as pets include Australia, Singapore, and Spain.
One of the problems with selling ball pythons is the mode of delivery. Breeders can experience problems related to delivery regardless of whether the ball pythons are shipped or turned over during meet-ups.
Meet-ups are the safest mode of transportation for your ball python. But your buyer can choose not to go to the agreed place at the last minute and ghost you!
Shipping, on the other hand, is a more secure option since most shipping companies offer a pay-first transaction. They may also have protocols in place that protect sellers in case the buyer does not accomplish their part of the deal.
Either way, there will be risks to the ball pythons themselves! A ball python may experience stress, injuries, and even fatalities while being delivered. This will vary on how well-packaged the box is and how it is handled by the shipping company.
3. Irresponsible Buyers
One of the major problems ball python sellers face, especially using online platforms, is irresponsible buyers. Making sure that the snake is taken care of properly after the sale is done is part of the seller’s responsibility.
You may have heard stories from your past buyer that the snake got an injury, was malnourished, or even died. Then you ask about their setup and found out that it is wrong all along.
As a seller, you should make sure that the new owner is capable of keeping a ball python alive by providing a good enclosure, feeders, and other husbandry needs.
Aside from the animal’s bad quality of life, all the time and effort you put into breeding, marketing, and selling your precious ball pythons will all just be a waste.
4 Factors to Keep in Mind Before Selling Your Ball Python
Before selling a ball python, keepers and breeders must keep 4 factors in mind: 1) information, 2) age, 3) price, and 4) shipping.
>>Learn more about factors in a ball python business in our article breeding ball pythons as a business
When selling ball pythons, full information about the snake is required to increase the trust of the buyer. Providing the full information on the post can save time regarding inquiries and will lead to a faster transaction.
Here are some important information to provide in your listings:
- Date of Hatch (DOH)
- Morph of Parents
Below are some additional information to provide your potential buyers:
- Health Condition
- Shedding Record
- Preferred Feeder
The most important information to provide is listed in the first half which is required especially in selling sites with limited typing space.
But I recommend adding the additional information to give the buyer majority of the qualities of the ball python being listed.
Ball pythons of all ages can be sold except for hatchlings at a certain point. As a general rule, a baby ball python should have had at least 4–5 meals and 2–4 sheds before it is listed for sale.
The hatchlings should first have meals and experience good sheds in your care to ensure that the buyer receives them in good condition.
Hatchlings should be more or less 3 months of age before being sold depending on their appetite and shedding rate.
>>Learn how to determine ball python age
In pricing ball pythons, it is important to observe the current prices in the market. Whether local or in other states, prices will vary depending on many factors like morph, age, market state, and deformities.
Pro Tip: Gauge the price of a ball python by taking into account, through local selling sites, the current market value of its morph and the total amount spent on caring for it (feeders, electricity, tools, etc.).
You can sell a ball python for about 40–50 dollars for normal hatchlings. Single genes (pastel, lesser, pinstripe, etc.) can sell for about 75–200 dollars depending on the rarity and demand.
It is also important to note that the bigger the ball python is, the higher its price will be. Hatchlings are the cheapest while breeder sizes are the most expensive.
Please note that these are just rough pricing estimates of basic morphs of ball pythons. Rare, complex, and in-demand morphs will vary in price. Some can sell for tens of thousands of dollars!
>>Learn more about dangerous morph combinations in our article about ball python morphs with problems
In shipping ball pythons, the primary company to ask for services is FedEx. To ship reptiles, a live reptile certification is required which is accomplished by a special shipping company or directly through FedEx.
To ship a reptile to the buyer, you must first prepare the shipping box that you will use.
A ball python’s shipping box should have good insulation throughout to protect the ball python from extreme heat and cold. This can be done by lining all sides of the box with sheets of insulating foam.
It also is important to plan out whether to use a pet-safe ice or heat pack depending on the weather the ball python will experience during and after shipment.
Once the box is prepared, it needs to be inspected by FedEx for a live reptile certification which allows you to ship live reptiles. It can take around 7-10 days before they sent an email confirming whether or not you passed the test.
If you don’t want to go through a long process like this, you can inquire about services from trusted special shipping companies like Ship Your Reptiles and Reptiles2You.
You can also get the shipping materials like the box, insulation, and temperature packs from these companies which can cost about 20–40 dollars for each ready-to-ship box.
But the final cost will depend on the animal’s temperature requirements and the box size you are going to need.
3 Tips When Selling a Ball Python
To be a better ball python seller, breeders and keepers can do 3 tricks: 1) advertisement, 2) target marketing, 3) and customer service.
Advertisements will be one of the main factors to improve ball python sales. Clean photography and proper marketing are some key factors in advertisements.
The main purpose of a good photo of a ball python is to emphasize the qualities of the snake itself. Good pictures do not require an expensive camera. It can be easily done with proper background use and minor editing.
Where should I advertise my ball pythons?
You can create a social media page or an official website depending on your knowledge in these fields. One of the simplest ways to market your ball pythons is to join Facebook groups and forums where you can share pictures of your beautiful collection from your official page.
After you have garnered a good amount of followers, you can post regular updates to stay relevant. You can also share the reviews from past customers to improve potential buyers’ trust in you as a seller.
Updates such as growth progress, newly shed photos, and other minor changes to your ball pythons can serve as simple content which can also help with marketing.
2. Target Marketing
When selling ball pythons, it is recommended to pick a specific target market. It can either be local, inter-state, or international.
As a starting seller, I recommend getting to know the local market first. It can either be within your town, city, or up to nearby states. This will allow fewer risks in terms of shipping and have a chance to meet your buyers in person.
This can also make pricing easier because a local market price will only be affected by factors specific to your location. For example, if you are located somewhere that requires additional permit fees, then your pricing will match your chosen market locally.
It is also easier to create a network of connections between local buyers and breeders if you first stick to the local market.
3. Customer Service
One of the best ways to encourage sales from customers is by having good customer service. Especially when selling ball pythons, being responsive to inquiries of a buyer can increase a chance of a sale.
Not only will a great interaction encourage a buyer to buy from you, it can also help you build loyal patronage. Buyers will likely come back to you for more snakes and other reptiles.
However, you should treat all customers with the same respect regardless of the price of the ball python they are going to buy. This will garner you respect and improve your reputation for buyers and sellers alike.
Can you make money selling ball pythons?
Making money by selling ball pythons is doable but not always guaranteed. The profit one can make from selling ball pythons will largely depend on the amount of investment, market state, and many more factors relating to businesses.
What is the fastest way to rehome your snake?
Setting up a snake for free adoption is arguably the fastest way to rehome a snake. But it is important to ensure that it will be taken care of properly by the new owner. Another option is to sell the snake to a wholesaler at a low price.
Can you release a ball python in the wild?
Releasing ball pythons, or any other exotic pets, in the wild is not allowed. It is never an option when letting go of a pet because doing so can disrupt the local environment’s ecosystem which can affect endemic wildlife.
Summary of Where to Sell Ball Pythons
In total, selling ball pythons can be done in 3 main ways: online, in a reptile expo, and to a wholesaler. Some pet stores can buy a ball python but this is a rare opportunity as they get their stocks from wholesalers.
Problems that can be encountered while selling ball pythons are the legality of the snake itself, delivery dilemmas, and irresponsible buyers. These can be prevented when a seller keeps in mind factors like the ball python’s information, age, price, and shipping process.
To improve ball python sales, it is advisable to optimize the advertisement, specify a target market, and be responsive in customer service, especially in inquiries.