This one is for a friend of mine who asked me to touch on this last week.
Let us go over what Flippers, Wholesalers, and Breeders are.
Definitions are somewhat different, and sometimes overlap, but I will try and make it clear enough for you to determine on your own who you know and what to label them as.
You and I know what this means. These are the people who spend the time to raise their breeders, feed them, care for them, and breed them selectively (usually) to produce animals that they feel are good quality and healthy.
They tend to hold on to animals for future projects, and keep records as to who does what when, as well as what they intend to do with animals that they produced. It's a viscous beautiful cycle, and the breeder loves it. That's the passion and the drive that keeps them doing what they are doing.
Animals produced are produced for a reason, and the babies are what they know they are (usually, exceptions being dinkers).
These are the people making the snakes.
These guys are the ones that buy excess animals for whatever reason.
Breeders make 100 normals, and although it is awesome to see the babies pop out, they are not needed in future projects, so they are sold to wholesalers or pet stores to supply the pet trade.
Pet stores are somewhat of a wholesaler, but in a different category, in my opinion. They are the ones that are selling to Joe Shmoe, and can (if they have the resources) teach Mister Joe about the care and husbandry that they are familiar with.
Now wholesalers buy up whatever morphs or "leftovers" that a breeder or hobbyist wants to move and sells them for a profit. This is somewhat of a grey area, as this entails not knowing completely the history behind the snakes that they are selling. Some wholesalers care, some do not. The distinction is in the specific person wholesaling.
Do they back up the animal with a guarantee? Depends...
Pet Stores usually do, Wholesalers, it depends.
This is a not so clear area of sellers in the reptile trade. Some are good, some are not so good.
It is up to you to determine what you feel comfortable with.
This is a bad word in some circles of the reptile world. Why? Well, these guys are the people that take animals from breeders and flip them for profit. How quickly? It really depends on the person and the animal, but usually this is only a month or two, maybe even less.
If the animal is sick or not in optimal health, the flipper more than likely doesn't even notice. They are just out to move the animal quickly and for a profit. The longer they have the animal, the less profit they make. Flip it!
Now again, this is a grey area, depending on who you are talking about. Some people actually take the time to care about the animal and where it was produced, what the morph/locality is, etc... Most do not, which is why being a "flipper" is again, a bad word.
Now how do you tell who you are buying from and what you are getting?
Do your homework.
Do they have a good reputation? Have they been around long enough? Does the price seem too good to be true? Can they show you parental lineage? Can they vouch for the health of the animal and how long it has been in their care?
All things you as a consumer/customer have to determine in your own comfort zone where you want to be.
If you don't care that the person selling the animal can't tell you what the parents were, then by all means, buy from a wholesaler/flipper.
But remember this, these people are in it more for the profit than for the animal most of the time.
(I do not want to make generalizations because I know there are some people out there that are not.)
Money is always nice, but for peace of mind, would you rather save $100 and possibly lose the animal and your money, or buy from a breeder that can help you in the future if something goes wrong?
Again, things to think about.
This blog is not meant to sway you one way or the other, as I am trying to be as unbiased as I can under the circumstances.
Like I said before, I have sold to wholesalers, and I still would love to know that my animals, albeit not being sold by me, are getting good homes in the end.
So the final thing to take away from this is, do your homework, try not to just look at the dollar signs. If that is your only focus, you are in the wrong industry.
Have a fantastic day, my friends.