Buying a Boa constrictor

Pet Stores or The Story of the „Reißwolf“

(Note: The word “Reißwolf” in German is a common slang term used to refer to a “paper shredder”, but literally taken means “Rip wolf”, in reference to its ability to “rip” paper into pieces. Also, the word “Reis” is pronounced the same way as “Reiß”, but means “rice”, not “rip”. A “Papiertiger” is another common slang term, used to describe a person that has a pseudo- threatening appearance, but literally taken means “Paper tiger”.)

During a car trip, the author was entertained by a radio show, in which random people are fooled over the phone. In this edition, the host was talking to a pet store employee and explained to her, that he was baby-sitting the ‘Reißwolf’ of a friend, and that he had ran out of ‘Reis’. He was wondering if the ‘Reißwolf’ would eat anything besides ‘Reis’.

Apparently, the dear woman was not familiar with the paper-shredding device that carries the same name. She really thought that the topic here was a rather exotic animal. However, instead of admitting to her knowledge gap, she tried to keep her head above water by spilling out a bunch of general know-how.

The show reached a climax when the employee responded to the question of whether a ‚Reißwolf’ and a ‚Papiertiger’ (which he was also about to get shortly) would get along, with deep Bavarian dialect: "I glab, do derfad nix feihn". Translation: I don’t think that anything can happen.

As funny as the whole thing is, it does shed a marking light on the competence and knowledge (or lack thereof) of some pet store employees. Furthermore, we have also had the impression that in these stores (as in other industries in this country) the customer appears to be the natural enemy of the salesperson. This is not a good basis for customer service and consultation.

Please do not get us wrong, we don’t want to flame an entire industry or make it look bad, especially because we also know some very competent and responsible reptile specialty stores, but the best place to purchase such an animal is in our opinion always a breeder.

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Breeder

The healthiest and most agile neonates (since not stressed) can certainly be found directly at the breeder. The little worms stay in their designated enclosures after birth, until the dear person comes by, that will (hopefully) provide them with life-long care.

No swap-related stress, no stop-over in a pet store, but comfort in
its ‚own four walls’ until the day of sale.
This is the secret to the acquisition of offspring that provides nothing but joy!

However, it should be mentioned that even among breeders there are certain differences. We have seen setups of some hobbyists, compared to which a pigsty seemed like the Temple of Aphrodite. In such a case, you ought to do as we do, and go home disappointed without a snake.

But these are exceptions. Normally, private breeders care very well for their animals, and the setups are the cleanest and neatest places in the entire house.

If you are interested in a certain type of snake, it is always best to contact the according breeder. That way, you will get to see the parent animals and get an impression of what the little worms will grow to look like one day. Also, you will get an impression of the breeder’s knowledge on these animals. This is a very important part, since you want to receive sound advise if at some point after the purchase problems come up or questions arise.

By the way, another attribute of a good breeder is the courtesy and friendliness, with which the breeder answers questions, even if the customer calls daily for 2 weeks with a different question every time.

Ordering offspring over the phone and having the animals sent is only recommended if the breeder is truly reputable and well known or if animals have been purchased there previously and the conditions are known.