The Reptile Industry In 2011

The year 2010 was definitely a rollercoaster ride for the reptile industry. It was a stressful year, due in large part to the seemingly constant barrage of legislative efforts that sought, and still seek to, restrict the freedom of reptile hobbyists. On top of the anger and stress associated with these political maneuverings, there was also the issue of the economic downturn we’ve been experiencing. Business overall has suffered, and the pet business has not been exempt from the negative impact of the economy. Compared to years past, business for many was not as brisk. REPTILES magazine even published a frank article about changes some reptile breeders were having to make in order to remain viable entities. Titled “Reptile Economy,” it was interesting to read what three of the industry’s best-known breeders – Bob Clark, Bill Brant and Ron Tremper – had to say about the situation (the article will be available here on ReptileChannel soon).

Bob Clark

Bob Clark

Bob Clark was one of three prominent reptile breeders who discussed the challenges facing reptile breeders in the article, “Reptile Economy” in the July 2010 issue of REPTILES.

All in all, it was a tough year. Will 2011 be any better? It would be nice to think so, but who knows? I know many people are feeling very cautious about spending money right now. I imagine some will be concentrating on their existing reptile collections and perhaps may be leery about expanding them to a large degree in 2011. Or not – I recently asked the fans of the REPTILES Facebook page if they had made any reptile-related New Year’s resolutions. There were a bunch of enthusiastic responses, including many from people who were planning to get new reptiles in the coming year. It did my heart good to read those resolutions, and the really great thing was the enthusiasm that shone through. I hope all of them are able to fulfill their resolutions, and then some!

Reptile people are a resilient crowd. They roll with the punches. They (you) are committed to the hobby, passionate about it, and many of you will defend it with as much might as you can muster. The past year saw thousands of you rallying to the call when USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers) called upon you to fight for the rights of reptile enthusiasts across the country. Speaking of USARK, the organization really came into its own in 2010, and it was due in huge part to your willingness to participate when called upon to do so.

I hope that 2011 finds you able to continue to grow in the reptilekeeping hobby you love so much. I hope that you are able to finally get that latest python morph you’ve had your eye on, or set up that fancy natural vivarium you’ve been hoping to create for your tropical pets. And even if you find that you are not able to branch out as much into new directions you were hoping to explore, then I hope you will still cherish the reptile pets you do have. In the “Reptile Economy” article I mentioned previously, Ron Tremper compares today’s reptile breeders to a battleship in rough seas. My wish for all reptile hobbyists in 2011, and especially to people who may be struggling right now, is that you are able to weather the rough seas, and look forward to calmer waters in your future. Never forget that better times do lie ahead.

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