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Old 06-22-04, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Canadian reptile market

Well first off I don't want to offend anyone but just looking for some thoughts on this.

Ryan has posted a thread about some of the reptiles bred in Canada in say the last 2 years. Canadian breeders have produced some amazing reptiles, but are not selling that many in Canada. I see lots of people are still buying reptiles from out of country. Now with the paper work and so on would it just be easier to deal with the fellow Canadian breeders? Also would this not help keep the reptile market strong in Canada.
If some one wanted an albino boa there are many that are produced in Canada. Same with some of the geckos,bearded dragons , corns, kings,and ball pythons. There is just tons of reptiles produced in Canada and lots of morphs as well, why would a person have to buy outside of Canada?

Is Canada really that far behind other countries in the reptile business?

Are Canadian breeders really that hard to deal with that some have to go out side the country?

I don't know what to say just looking for some other views and if others have seen this trend as well. I know some that are selling ok and others that are not.
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Old 06-22-04, 05:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Actually, I believe that most breeders are selling to the US. This is especially true for high-end morphs, as there is stronger demand there, and better prices.

For more modestly priced animals, the Canadian market is fairly robust. If people are still going to the US for these animals, then I think that it boils down to a lack of information and ease of use. For example, very few Canadian breeders maintain a regularly updated website with individual pictures of available offspring. I feel that this is essential, as one of the first questions you are going to ask the breeder for is a list of all available offspring so that you can take your pick. Sending emails back and forth about which herp you want is a tedious process. Most breeder sites just have a gallery, and a basic price list. There is no 1 click shopping, you usually have to email or leave a message on an answering machine to initiate contact, which may take a while.

Personally, I prefer to buy from Canadian breeders, since it cuts down on the paperwork as well as shipping costs. Also, the quality, variety and availability of different species have grown by leaps and bounds. We are still lagging behind the US, but the gap is closing.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-22-04, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Its all about the $$$ imo.
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Old 06-22-04, 05:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I ALLWAYS look for local breeders, then canadian breeders.

If I don't find what I want I look in the States.

Paperwork is not allways that difficult, depends what you buy.

And often shipping charges are pretty much the same, we gotta admit Air Canada is pretty expensive... also depends about many different factors.

Also, I'm not a patient guy, when I want something, I want it now and seems theres more availability in the States.

I've been looking for white lip pythons for a small while and can't find any in all Canada... something is definitly wrong here...
I don,t wanna start looking in the Stats, but seems I won't have the choice.

All this to say I bought once from the States and I was pretty pleased, but I'm looking forward to dealing with Canadian breeders the more I can.

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Old 06-22-04, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I try to buy as close to me as possible and avoid shipping altogether. However, there are some species/morphs that you just don't find in Canada.

For instance, I am driving down to Seattle in a few days to pick up a 0.1 CB'03 Olive/Black African House Snake. I'm pretty certain I'll have to find her mate in the US as well.

If it weren't for CITES restrictions, I probably would've bought a Corn Island boa from the same breeder as well. However, I am going to try to talk her into doing the paperwork and get it for me anyhow.

I am definitely going to pick up some ackies up here though, although I have to say I have been tempted to pick up some Blue Spotted Timors from down South instead.

So, in my opinion, there would probably be a lot more buying from the US if it weren't for the paperwork, especially for more exotic species. There is just a lot more variety down there. However, I don't see any point in purchasing species from the US that are readily available here, unless it's to acquire new blood lines.
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Old 06-22-04, 05:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would buy from the states if there was a specific bloodline, morph or species that was not available in Canada. Also, if the right deal came up, I would jump on it. But I have found that ALMOST everything that I want to work with is available here in Canada now or is in the works and will be available in the near future.

As far as selling goes, my stance is this, if someone steps up with the money but happens to be from the states and is willing to pay the extra money for the paperwork and etc, I would sell to them... Why not?

I think the market in Canada will always be behind the US though. With a smaller population, we have a smaller reptile "market". We also have our major cities much further apart from each other and a LOT of shipping is required... not sure if this makes any difference.

Anyway, those are MY thoughts...
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Old 06-22-04, 08:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I personally would choose Canadian breeders before going state side unless as stated before looking for a specific breeders bloodline. I'm not real big on the paperwork thing, and although US prices are a lot cheaper on the common animals not necessarily the morphs, when you factor in the shipping, F&W papers and CITES papers it gets up there too. Not to mention I like supporting the canadian herp community.
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Old 06-22-04, 09:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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From what I've seen in my limited time selling reptiles in the Canadian market is that many Canadians are not as willing to pay the money that is required to purchase a high end reptile, where the Americans are more than eager to pay whatever, whenever. From what I've experienced, buyers (or potential buyers) are VERY finicky here in Canada. With the few reptiles I've sold here in Canada, I've had more than 50% of buyers back out on a deal a day before, or the day of. I'm sure you sellers know what I'm talking about; it's those e-mails 20 mins. before you leave the house to head to the airport, or a designated drop-off spot near home, where the buyer says, "my grandmother died, and I need the money to get on a plane to Alberta", or "oh, that's today?" and you never hear from them again. ""I think I'm going to need more; time, money, etc." The excuses go on and on and on. Maybe that's just how 'we' are north of the border, very iffy, tentative.

I would think that most, if not all Canadian breeders would prefer to sell to Canadians if there wasn't such a hassle. Quite honestly, I would sooner put up with the CITES, USF&W visits, etc. to have the money in the bank the next day and a 100% satisfied customer in the States, than have 10 buyers back out after me sending pictures, lineages, imformation, etc. exchanging bank information, and so on.

I spoke with a very wise individual a few years back who summed up Canadian buyers vs. States buyers perfectly; He said; Americans are willing to drop $2000 on a reptile as a pet, Canadians are willing to drop $200. That puts a lot of the high end breeders/dealers up the creek here in Canada.
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Old 06-22-04, 09:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree with Shane..
its about the money.

A lot of US people will send you money within a heart beat. We Canadians are a bit slow with takes quite a long time for one to decide if they want the animal or not then to send teh money out...and most of the time by the time the customer is suppose to send the money out, they email the breeder 'Oh I am sorry blah blah blah happened and now I am not able to get the money to you so I don't want the animal anymore.' and this is already a good situation. I have had many cases when people don't even email back to let us breeders know. I know for sure that me and Jeff Favelle have gone throught this and a lot of other breeders too. In my experience, as of yet, selling to the US customers were easier. Most of the time (at least a lot more than the Canadian buyers) they send the money in time and I do mean fast too~!!

I personally don't really get why the Canadian market is so slow. Most of the stuff that I get are from the States because we don't have any of the colubrids that I want (hi end corns) in Canada. It is not even available in Canada. So I have to get them from the States. If they had it in Canada I would buy it for sure. Would save a lot of hassle for me to go to the States and get the animal that I want.

Also the shipping also kills the Canadian market a bit....I mean I do get normal corns and if they were only get for things like snows or other more common stuff I sell for $40 dollars. Shpping could be $90 -$120 dollars through Air Canada....I mean...the shipping cost is at least double to triple the price the snake that I am selling out...would anyone want to do that? I don't really think so...cause in that case, the $40 dollar snake would become $160 and that is just for a that is another reason why its killing the Canadian market. The US shipping price is around half of what we are paying.....

So's all about the money.

How liquid (or how fast we breeders can get money into our hands) and the expense that the buyer needs to pay for shipping ~~
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Old 06-22-04, 10:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I haven't imported anything from the states yet, but I will if an opportunity comes up. It's true that there are some things you just can't find here. And in some cases, the American breeders just have better animals. But the main thing for me is this - I'm fed up with Canadian breeders jacking up their prices just because of who they are, or because their stuff is rare in Canada, or whatever. Even with currency, shipping, and customs, there are some snake morphs that I can get for 1/2 the price of what they are being sold for here. Sticking with Walter's desire to not name names or start fights, I'm not going to name names. But here's the bottom line - if I can find higher quality animals for a lower price in the states, AND the seller is willing to do CITES, sorry. Money talks.
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Old 06-22-04, 11:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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With the few reptiles I've sold here in Canada, I've had more than 50% of buyers back out on a deal a day before, or the day of.
WOW, that's actually GREAT odds!!

I am not joking. Corey said it best when he said "money talks, bulls**t walks". Just wait until you have a 2-month email fest with you sending 30+ pictures and 50+ emails, only to have the dooooode say "sorry, I can't buy the snake". LOL! You will very very soon after that go to your website and make a statement saying that "no animals are considered SOLD until they are either paid for, or a deposit is made on them". Just don't hold ANY animal for ANYONE without some $$$ up front, and you'll be all right.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I cant agree with what has been said here so far. Last year and this year 90% of my offspring have gone State side as the Canadian just can not compete with the American market. If I can sell a lot of babies for $1000 at a time with shipping and paperwork to the US and not be able to get $500 with shipping up here, it is clear where I am going to send the babies to. The shipping costs in Canada is the killer, and anyone that deals with low end animals can attest to this. This year it looks to be the same. With over 800 offspring so far, 3/4 already sold and off to their destinies without the hastle of the Canadian market. As most have mentioned, money talks.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The Canadian herp scene almost seems to be growing exponentially but this is all extremely new.
I have never bought much from Canadians because back when I was acquiring animals there were never any that had anything I wanted, or if they existed we had know way of knowing.

Prior to shows and the internet, which wasn't that long ago, there was no mechanism to even know other Canadian herpers. There were some local herp clubs but almost no trans-province communications existed.
I remember first hearing about a great herper named Matt Moyle from a buddy that went to a symposium in California and met him there.
He was working with Black heads, Argentines , Olive Pythons, and the entire Liasis Childreni complex to name only a few, and this was in the 80's.
The most remarkable thing is that Moyle lived less than a 10 minute drive from me, and we'd never talked or met. Communications between the small group of Canadian breeders was almost non-existant, until quite recently.
There was also an annoying tendancy of withholding breeding info back then and that is largely why I am free with information these days.
It used to drive me nuts that I had to figure everything out myself. Even herp Magazines like Reptiles, are very recent looking back two decades. We still are in the infancy of herpetoculture.

It's the communications media like this one ,in conjunction with a few long term business survivors like PCPC that has been responsible for the survival and now sudden growth of herpetoculture across Canada.
I suspect trade between Canadians will continue to grow because international trade is tougher now in some cases.
It's always in a state of flux , and sometimes it seems like two steps forward and one step back.
It used to be easy to do import and export with the USA, but that has changed.
For the first time, just last week, I had to give up trying to complete the shipping of a small order to one of the biggest international airports in the USA, Dallas Fortworth(DFW).
I spent hour after hour on the phone calling all the airlines, getting the usual run around , but could not find a carrier to take my live cargo to DFW, and to get it there for a reasonable rate before customs closed .
After 9-11 you now have to be a varified shipper with many of the airlines, like Delta, continental, and USAirways.
On top of that rates are up , there are heat embargos, syncronization problems with connecting flights , and the unwillingness for airlines to hold animals overnight.
My bigggest shock was that Air Canada, is no longer taking ANY cargo to DFW.., not just animals but No Cargo period!! They have several flights to Dallas every day, but take no cargo...
Those that haven't recently exported or imported via air, have no idea how complicated it can now be to do business with the USA. It all depends on where you live and the airports and airlines you have available. Delta now has a live cargo rate to the USA of $269., plus there is a $35 terminal fee out of Pearson for all airlines that don't have their own cargo hanger. So to ship one box, would have been 269 plus 35 plus GST &PST for a total of $350.60 cdn., and all that only if you're a verified shipper, which can take months and isn't even possible unless you're doing a fairly high volume of business.
On top of everything else the new USF&W import export license is complicating both selling to and buying from Americans, because they need these now for international transactions, and very few have them, or are willing to get them. Some Delta and US airways subcarriers in the US have stopped handling snakes all together and this recently caused me some importing problems out of Texas.
CITES as well is always a huge trade barrier.
The airline industry meltdown after 911 has had a very significant and negative effect in doing herp trade across the border and even within the USA.
The verified shipper rule, also applies to many airlines within the US and is slowing down trade between American herpers, which are increasingly using ground carriers covertly.
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Old 06-23-04, 12:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Excellent post Roy! For those wishing to get stuff from the US, go right ahead. Its going to get harder before it gets easier.

My motto? Unless its an extreme difference in amount of money or quality, I stick with domestic (Canadian breeders). If I can't find it in Canada or if the quality isn't the same, I have no issue with buying from the US (or the UK or anywhere else). I would never make a general statement and say "I always buy here", or "I always buy from there". I take it day by day. If you are stagnant and not dynamic, you won't get anywhere in this industry. Just buy when you want, where you want, when the deals come up. Don't claim I'm going to buy from there because I'm fed up with this, or I only buy here because I'm scared to get paperwork, etc etc. Who cares? Go for the best deal/quality that helps YOU in YOUR breeding program(s). You'll be better off for it.
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Old 06-23-04, 05:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Excellent posts. The one thing I see that is blatantly missing is better networking in Canada. Except for a select few that have become high profile on line, the question still remains just what exactly are people breeding and what part of the country are they in. There are a lot of new people coming on line that simply don't know who to talk to when it comes buying herps. So does that mean the breeder prefers to remain anonymous? If I wanted to get something there a website that shows me a directory of breeders that deals in the animals I am looking for? If there is then I haven't come across it. The future of any industry lies in the demand of a product or service. If people are unaware of what is actually available, then how is that industry going to thrive? I would love to buy from local, regional or national breeders. But who are you and what do you sell.

I made a suggestion once here, that a sub forum be created in each section, simply to list the breeders of the species, contact #, both large and small and their locales (no prices, or shameless advertising). Just a whos who.. Seems simple enough.

You want a Python? Check the breeders page, oh look there is John Smith, and he is only an hour away, maybe I can contact him.
I'll save on shipping, make a new friend and probably end up with new animals.

Doesn't that make sense? Too bad it never went anywhere. Maybe its time to relook the issue. As such a suggestion is not designed to take away from the paid advertisers, it is designed to help those who actually want to spend real money on real animals in Canada.

Otherwise what are your options? Go to a show, go to a petstore or hopefully hook up with someone that may know someone that has what you are looking for.

Air cargo is truly something nobody likes to pay, so if it is possible to find what you are looking for within a couple hours drive, would you be more inclined to buy locally?

As far as pricing goes.. An animal is only worth what it is worth to you. If you pay more, then so be it, as long as you are happy with the purchase, the animal and the breeder, then all is good.

I would much rather deal with Canadian Breeders, and if necessary, pay the air freight, then deal south of the border.

Personally I am tired of making inquiries to US breeders only to find that "we don't ship to Canada...period", or "1000.00 US minimum order", or even worse not responding at all.

I was prepared to do a large deal with a large breeder in the states, who shall remain nameless. After waiting for 6 weeks, and 6 emails later, for a simply response to a simple question, I said F*&^ It, I will go elsewhere.

The same breeder also jerked around someone else on their order and that was a 7500.00 order.

The way I see it, US breeders look at the Canadian Market as a joke.

So where do we go from here?

Do we keep doing what we are doing? If so, then I guess we'll keep getting what we're getting.

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