Dec 13, 2001 Bob Applegate
Maintainance & Commercial Breeding of Colubrids

matt2 Welc Sir Bob
Applegate Top of the evening to you
Stryderpass Bottom of hte 9th to you, too :)
Applegate almost didn't make it, tried to clean the disc earlier and my new Norton anti virus decided to take over and do a weekly check
NickAsher i hate that applegate
matt2 ie ya ran outa brew, Bob?
Applegate I hope it leaves me alone here
Stryderpass Dissable, Bob
Applegate NO!! Don't dissable Bob! I need me to function!!!

ok its 8pm lets go ahead and get started
Applegate Actually I bought the anti virus and some fix it program, was told there was a $30 rebate, read the fine print, have to be able to prove you had McAfee or early Norton to get it, may return the whole thing
jeffb Good evening and welcome to's 4th annual chatweek symposium...
jeffb its our next to last night for this year and we would like to welcome our guest Bob Applegate, knoewn worldwide for his succes with commercial colubrid breeding
jeffb Once again our moderator for tonight is Bill Meyers (matt2)...
jeffb welcoome to guest chat Bob
Applegate Thanks Jeff, happy to be here
Applegate Hope we can have some fun

This will be my first attempt at breeding Gilas. I gather from your latest article that you introduce your animals in groups - please explain
Applegate I keep them in groups, but as you know, it is hard to be sure of sexes, so when I see combat/mating activity, I move a few of what I think are males around
Applegate I have a couple groups of them nxt
andrewG sorry, it'snot a colubrid Q

How many snakes do you have? How many babies do you produce yearly? What kind of help do you have
Applegate no prob, I do heloderma as well
GlennB sorry hit the wrong button
Applegate Not sure of breeder numbers, never bothered to count, but over 120 cages, all with one or more in them, produce over 1000 per year, but trying to cut down, too much like work!!nxt

herpinboy whats your most favorite milk snake?
MarcB What is your opinion on the hypo campbelli?
Applegate I like several, but really enjoy the Pueblans, have worked with them since only a few were in the country nxt
Applegate How can you eat at a time like this!!
Applegate oops I can't ask questions!!

How economically feasible is it to NOT breed your own feeder rodents if your wanting to do large scale breeding of colubrids? Can you do it profitably if you're purchasing feeders?
Applegate Feel free to ask about anything, if I don't know I will make simething up!
Applegate If you buy frozen and have quantity prices and all sizes available when you need them, I suppose the numbers would work out OK, never really tried to figure it out nxt

Bob, thanks for inspiring so many of us with your pioneering work. What is your opinion on campbelli?
Applegate My opinion is they are fine animals, to try to answer your out of turn one, I don't know anything about the pueblan of which you speak, I hope it is bpure and not one of those bastard crosses! nxt

Tropical and semi Tropical colubrids, i.e. Hondurans, Sinaloan Milks, can they safely be hibernated as long as say, a Corn Snake? Or can they be breed with out having to be Hibernated at all?
MarcB Agreed on those hybrids
Applegate Mine go along for the ride in the same room as the pyros, durangos, etc and go down into the low 50's for up to 4 months safely, but I know of many that slightly (65-70) for shorter periods and breed those of which you ask nxt

Thanks Guys :) What was it that made you decide this is what you wanted to do with the rest of your life?
Applegate When I was trying to figure out what to do for my life, all I was interested in were herps, but in those days couldn't figure out how to support a family, so chose Firefighter as my job and herps as my pleasure. was fortunate that later they made a lot of money, but was doing them when it cost to do so, and will continue to do so if it returns to unprofitable status nxt
Applegate May I suggest you type out a question before your turn, then just hit enter?

How many snakes have you produced? Do you keep production records
Applegate Since about 1978 I have kept good records, which have been used by Mattison and others for their books, etc, but no real idea. I am happy to say I am sure I have produced way more than I took out of the wild when I was commercially collecting, which makes me feel I paid back some nxt

Do you see much of a difference in individual special pyros as far as coloration goes? One here from you has retained a yellow head, is this typical from what you've seen?
andrewG most ive seen (in person) are white on the head
Applegate Some seem to stay a little more yellow, others almost white, and it holds into adult size, used to think it was juv coloration nxt

Bob, this may sounds strange, but i read somewhere on a caresheet that if a female and male Kingsnake (while breeding) begin to attemp to eat each other that u can spray whiskey or Gin in its mouth to let go.....any truth in that? if not, what could u use?
Applegate AG there still aren't that many out there, we will be learning as we go
Applegate It only takes one per egg John, but I have hunted them and it can be very cool where they are found, I would suggest 3-4 months of 50 and be sure not to get the males too warm too soon in the spring, treat them like greeri, but sometimes you get a bad make and a new male is the answer nxt

do you know anything about using mineral oil to treat mites
Applegate I have heard wiping them down will remove them, but read about the life cycle, if you have mites on your herps, there are eggs and variouys life phases around the room, etc. I treat the room with pest strips, killing the room full of bugs (beware I have only snakes and big lizards, some smaller herps might be negetively effected

When you are trying to enter the european market (expos, marketing....?) ;-)
Applegate Too tough to smuggle things over there JC, and I can't compete with stock already in country with high shipping costs and your 17% VAT (value added tax) on incoming items

How many hours a day are spent doing routine maintenance: feeding, cleaning, etc.?
Applegate Winter is easy, most hibernate, but we start feeding on Monday (wife does the babies) and by Wed usually have things fed, then an hour or two a day Th and Fri to check (Mon-Wed 6 hours) and unless expecting eggs, etc usually try to do family stuff on weekends nxt

Do you get the chance to do much herp hunting these days?
Applegate Sadly no, usually the only time I get in the field is when I have out of town guests, but getting less and less places to look and I can't keep for breeding much of anything I would find nxt

My question is a tie in with Glenns, but more on Laws. Do you think State and Fed Govt regulations will have an impact on our hobby/Buisness (sic) with all of the new regulations be put in place, year after year?
Applegate Not only will it negatively effect, but if the shipping goes bad it may well eliminate commerce in all except between local sources. I see this and the tree huggers as the biggest threat to our inductry nxt
Applegate industry

Has the current economic downturn effected your business, and how about the rest of the herp market?
Applegate Actuall I am almost sold out this year, if anything people are staying home and buying pets with what they save, but the shipping regs slowed deliveries on many shipments, and I am sure I can no longer reach some places in the World that were open to me before 911 nxt
Applegate The shows are getting amaller, however
Applegate atleast on the West Coast

Hi Bob, This is John Potash from Reno...long time no see...hope all is going well...enough of the small talk :-)....Now tell us, how do you REALLY feel about hybridizing snakes, especially ones that are already so close genetically? And on that note, do you recommend locality specific breeding when possible?
Applegate The hybrids can be really interesting scientifically, and if kept honest and seperate, I have no problem with those that do that, and sell as nice looking pets. If the tree huggers get there way, they would be the only domestic herps we would be allowed to have
Applegate on the other hand
Applegate I try to keep to subspecies levels, just as much as possible, but science keeps changing that
Applegate We would need a book to cover all that I feel on this, but when you hear locality specific, what is a locality, a canyou, football field county, State, etc, so does that really mean anything?
Applegate sorry John can't take up too much more on that, others need a turn
wildliferescue lol.....good enough

what technology has impacted the industry the mosy
jeffb most
Applegate Be a toss up between several jeff, Your web site, veterinary improvements, and the supplies (heaters proportional thermostats, drippers, misters, etc) nxt

my turn: I may have missed the info, Bob, but do you know if it has beeb proven yet if gilas range into s.e. cali?
matt2 been
Applegate All goes hand in hand as well as the "trade magazines" jeff, not sure any one alone is that much above the rest, depending on what area you want to look at
Applegate Pretty much established those Mountains to the West as you drive up Hwy 15 from CA to Las vegas has them nxt

What was it like collecting in Mexico back in the day ? Any memorable finds?
Applegate I felt like I was in enemy territory, with the natives ready to rob me at any time. Met a lot of good people there, but keep in mind that what I had with me was more than most made in 2 years and many were willing to take it
Applegate But one misty day in the Mountains E of San Luis Potosi, while looking for mex mex, I saw a ray of sunlight shinning on a nearby rock pile
andrewG You should work for their tourist board lol
andrewG it was a..
Applegate I made my way through the bruch and trees, snuck up on the small sunlit spot and there was one of those mexican lepidus rattlesnakes sunning itself in that spot. made a beautiful picture nxt

Bob, i cant seem to get my baby Calif. King to eat her pinky, any suggestions? if not, whats the best way to forcefeed?
Crysss safest way i mean
Applegate Cr click on my web site and read the article "feeding baby snakes" way too much to cover here, but it may just want to hiberbate
Applegate nxt

What do you have to do to get the right papers to have Gila's in Texas? Is this a hard process? What are the rules?
Crysss ok, thanx bob
Applegate Unless Tx has specific rules and check with your county and city as well, but no papers should be necc , but get receipts to show legality in case it ever comes up, and you will need them to get CITES papers if you sell out of Country

do you breed crickets, if so how do i keep the eggs from drying out??? i use peat moss but it always drys out...
Applegate Never bred a cricket, but would use male crickets if I needed them!
Applegate Sorry old joke, never did crickets

Do you prefer to sell the young you produce in lots (at lower prices per animal) or singly (at higher prices)?
Applegate Depends on the customer and situation. If I only have a few of something special, they go at high prices and usually no one can or will buy a lot, if I have 50 of something and you want to cut a deal, by all means I will
Applegate I also sell one $20 snake at a time, I was once poor myself and know some dealers won't even talk to you if that is all you want, but if you are willing to pay shipping and box charge, I will supply the poor kid as well as the big spender nxt

What's the farthest East show you think you'll work a table at in 2002?
Applegate Unless invited to be a speaker, Mesa AZ is about as far east as I get on my own. hard to pay expenses and fly accross country and compete with offspring from animals you sold years before nxt
Applegate and the special stuff is usually reserved for a couple years so you don't have any of the "big money" animals to bring

Mr. Applegate, How can I get my Mom to let me have snakes in the House?
jeffb hhe he
GlennB good luck
jeffb don't start withe a 12 ft retic
jeffb that is a question as old as the hobby
wildliferescue get a cobra and tell her if she wants it gone, she has to get rid of it :)
Applegate Have long talks about alternatives to nature for you and your life style. I was raised in a very rough neighborhood. After a few short rejections I was allowed to go afield and collect, etc and many of my early friends died of drugs, etc, so suggest alternatives

Well, my quesion is not as important as Nicks': Do you find Vermiculite superior to any other medium for egg incubation?
Applegate and yes, pick a nice colored tame one she can easily get used to, but if she loves you (Moms can love any child, somehow!) she will relent
Applegate I use it Ron, and have had perilite as well, and probably continue out of habit. nxt

any advice you could give to someone just starting out in commercially breeding colubrids? What to avoid, what TO do, or anything else particularly important.
Applegate be honest with people and sell them established feeding animals, basic good business practices. You are building a good rep, now is the time to make it a good one, and just pick an area of the business you want to focus on and give it your best shot (and have a back up plan to support yourself) nxt
Applegate Didn't mean to put you to sleep!

Any suggestions for someone who is just starting the hobby and wants to breed on a small scale without a lot of money?
andrewG Back to the special pyros, i've heard different
Applegate If just starting buy cheap snakes from an established breeder and listen to him (or her, being political here!) Mistakes are cheaper that way. when things go well, look around and pick your next course
snakekeeper I have a pair of yearling corn I have seen them breeding all the time... What are the chances of this female laying good eggs??? and should I be worried about this hurt this female...(she is very big for a yearling)
Applegate I believe breeding is a risk for all animals, but if large enough, they would try in nature, so why not try? I have heard of corns successfully producing at 9 months of age nxt
Applegate That peer guy hit again!!
Applegate wild

Do you have any new and exciting projects your working on? Well, ones that you can tell us without having to kill us that is.
Applegate 33 years ago I saw a hypo greeri, this year I produced my frist, and still doing striped sinaloans, my pyros, etc. Visit my web site from time to time to catch up nxt
matt2 welp, we'll let Wild's question be the last for Bob tonight
Applegate Is it my imagination, or are we slowing down?
Applegate screeching to s stop, thatks for joining me here folks, keep up the good work!
matt2 Bob; on behalf of, JeffB and myself, thanks so much, yet once again for taking of your time to be our Guest tonight
Applegate I will consider it in the proper light JO and get back to you on that!
Applegate My pleasure Matt, do you have anything for sore finger tips??
GlennB Thanks Bob!
andrewG So fun to pick your brain! thanks!
wildliferescue Thanks Bob....see you in Salt Lake :-)
Applegate salt Lake, I don't do cold John!
wildliferescue ah...your not going to IHS?
NightCreatures IHS is in Salt Lake in '02?
Ampyy thats St Louis