Reptile Breeder Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More

What Do Reptile Breeders Do?


Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Image by Bailey Mariner © The Balance 2019

Reptile breeders produce and sell a wide variety of reptile species, including turtles, snakes, and lizards, to pet or commercial markets. They may choose to specialize with a single species of interest or breed several species. Popular areas of specialization include turtles and tortoises, snakes, and lizards.

Many breeders narrow their focus even further by becoming experts at producing one specific breed within their species of choice. For example, a chameleon breeder may choose to specialize in producing veiled chameleons, panther chameleons, or Jackson’s chameleons.

Reptile breeders can operate a small pet breeding operation or breed for national commercial-level production. Some breeders use webpages to advertise their animals to a large audience and offer cross-country shipping. They may also market animals to museums, zoos, and animal parks.

Reptile Breeder Duties & Responsibilities

Common responsibilities of reptile breeders include:

  • Cleaning and maintaining habitats
  • Providing food
  • Monitoring animal behavior
  • Administering supplements or medications
  • Treating minor injuries
  • Keeping detailed health and breeding records

In egg-laying species, breeders may hatch eggs in an incubator and closely monitor the young reptiles once they emerge.

Reptile breeders must be familiar with the specific needs of the species that they are producing, such as ideal temperature and humidity levels, nutritional needs, and proper husbandry techniques. A thorough knowledge of genetics can prove particularly useful if a breeder is seeking to produce certain desirable color variations.

Breeders should also be able to differentiate between young male and female animals so that they can provide the desired gender to their customers. Buyers can then choose a gender, which is especially important if they are seeking to breed their own reptiles when they reach adulthood.

Reptile breeders must operate their breeding operations in accordance with any applicable state or local regulations, and these rules can vary among locations. Some states completely restrict breeding or owning certain reptile species, or may require special permits before any breeding is allowed. Investigate the rules in your area before starting a reptile breeding business.

Reptile Breeder Salary

The total yearly compensation for reptile breeders can vary widely based on the rarity of the species they produce, the number of offspring produced per litter, and the retail value of each surviving offspring. Reptiles can be sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars if they are uncommon or highly prized. Animals with rare body color variations are particularly sought after by collectors and breeders.

When calculating their yearly income, reptile breeders must factor in the costs of doing business, especially the costs of maintaining breeding stock and appropriate habitats. Reptile breeders may spend a considerable amount of money on items such as UV lights, heated rocks, humidifiers, terrariums, lighting, food, supplements, and veterinary care.

Many part-time or hobbyist reptile breeders maintain a full-time job in another field while supplementing their income with the profits earned from selling reptiles.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide a separate classification for reptile breeders, although the BLS does provide one for animal breeders. In 2017, animal breeders earned the following:

  • Median Annual Salary: $37,560 ($18.06/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $69,130 ($33.24/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $25,590 ($12.30/hour)

Education, Training, & Certification

While no formal education is required, most successful reptile breeders are well versed in all aspects of reptile care and husbandry. Additional education and experience are also helpful:

  • Degrees: Many reptile breeders hold a degree in a field such as animal science, animal reproduction, or biology.
  • Coursework: General courses include anatomy, physiology, reproduction, genetics, nutrition, and behavior.
  • Experience: Some reptile breeders learn through practical experience with the animals they keep as pets. Others, such as professional herpetologists or animal researchers, breed reptiles either as a hobby or as part of their research projects.

Reptile Breeder Skills & Competencies

Although you will be working independently, you still need good interpersonal skills to deal with customers, veterinarians, and suppliers. To be successful, you will also need to be:

  • Honest: Be truthful with customers about their reptile, such as its health, species, and gender.
  • Respectful: Have genuine respect for animals.
  • Observant: Recognize and assess ailments and conditions common to the breed or species.
  • Gentle: Handle small reptiles carefully to avoid fright and injury.

Job Outlook

Reptiles’ popularity as pets has grown recently, a trend that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The market for reptiles has shown continued strength, with collectors and breeders demonstrating a willingness to spend top dollar for quality specimens despite downturns in the economy.

Breeders who take the time to establish a reputation for producing quality reptiles should continue to find demand for their animals as pets and replacement breeding stock.

If you are interested in starting your own reptile breeding business, you will need to determine the type of species to breed, the necessary equipment, any required state permits, and the cost.

Work Environment

Breeders work primarily work from home or at a breeding facility.

Work Schedule

Reptile breeders work flexible hours, while continuously maintaining the well-being of their reptiles. Hours may include nights and weekends, depending on the needs of the reptiles.

How to Get the Job


If you are looking for a career working with reptiles, you may want to research popular job sites Indeed and Glassdoor. These sites also provide tips for resume and cover letter writing, as well as techniques for mastering an interview.


Look for networking opportunities that can lead to employment. Sources include Reptile Magazine and the National Reptile & Amphibian Advisory Council (NRAA), which provides a nationwide listing of organizations, clubs, and societies.

Comparing Similar Jobs

If you are interested in working with exotic animals such as reptiles, you may want to consider these jobs as well, with their median annual salaries:

How to Deal With Feeding Problems in Ball Pythons: Follow Our Tips

Ball pythons are kept as pets by many snake lovers and are believed to be finicky feeders. If your pet snake is causing feeding problems, here is a post giving you tips to deal with this situation.

Ball pythons are kept as pets by many snake lovers and are believed to be finicky feeders. If your pet snake is causing feeding problems, here is a post giving you tips to deal with this situation.

Ball pythons are often kept as pets by many snake lovers. However, very few know that this species is very particular about its food choices. These snakes belong to the same family as Boas and are scientifically known as Python regius. They are native to western and west-central region of Africa, and it is quite possible that your pet ball python is imported from Africa. In their native place, these snakes feed on gerbils and small mammals. As snakes identify their prey through smell, it is quite obvious they wouldn’t identify domestic mice and rats as their prey, which smell differently. Apart from this, these snakes are also very particular about their surrounding environment while feeding, making you wonder the possible reason behind your pet snake’s reluctance for food.

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10 Tips to Deal with Ball Python Feeding Problems

► Try not to force-feed your pet snake, and avoid doing so specially when it is dehydrated. Visit a vet to check the extent of dehydration so that fluids can be administered, if necessary. Alternatively, you can soak your pet in water for some days and place a humid box in the snake’s tank so that it can avail it when required. After your pet is adequately hydrated, force-feed it with gavaged slurry so that it does not have to fight against force-feeding.

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► If your pet regurgitates the food, give it a resting phase for a couple of days before giving it a smaller prey than before.

► Ball pythons need a warm environment and any variation could trigger their reluctance towards food. To provide the required temperature conditions, make sure the snake’s enclosure gets sufficient day light and dark period. Maintaining environmental conditions can solve feeding problems.

► Breeding season for this species is winter, and male (sometimes female) ball pythons tend to avoid food completely during these months. So keep a note of this point and if the winter season is on, there is nothing to worry about as your pet could possibly be on a fasting mode.

► Remember, your pet snake loves to hide! If you have not provided sufficient hideouts for it to escape your visibility, it is quite possible that it is responding to this discomfort by avoiding food. So go ahead and provide adequate personal space for it to come back to its normal living and feeding pattern.

► Disturbance is another factor that affects the feeding response of this species. If you are unknowingly disturbing your pet often, either manually or through noise and foot traffic, it is bound to feel stressed. Similar to human beings, your pet snake also does not like to eat when stressed. Leave it alone for some days and then try to offer food. Place it in a quiet place if you feel the stress is due to noise level in the surroundings. Once the stress is relieved, it will probably have food without any problem.

► Your pet may also avoid food because its smell may not be the same as that of its regular prey. To solve this problem, you can rub a dead domestic mice or rat with a dead gerbil. You can also try to make the mice smell more pungent by alternatively thawing and freezing it in the refrigerator.

► The color, size, and sex of the meal can also alter your pet’s food preference. Some of them identify food by its color. For example, they fail to identify white mice as food items, probably because they have never had them before. Too large prey is also not liked by these snakes. If you are providing large-sized meals to your pet, try giving smaller meals instead. Sometimes, food preference also depends on the sex of the prey. Your pet may either prefer having only male or female prey during meals!

► Try getting soiled gerbil bedding from the pet store. Place this along with your pet and a dead mice in a brown, opaque paper bag and leave them overnight. The smell of gerbil might tempt your pet to have the mice for dinner!

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► Some of them like to have meals when it’s dark. This may be due to their nocturnal nature. If this is the case, provide food only during the night so that your pet is comfortable eating its food in the darkness of the night.

Keeping ball pythons as pets becomes a difficult task if the pet causes any problem. Feeding issues may arise at any point during a pet’s lifetime. It is therefore necessary to be prepared so that, you are well aware of the ways for dealing with ball python feeding problems that may arise in future.

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Safety Tips for Working With Animals

Working with animals is certainly an attractive prospect, but there are always risks related to any job that involves hands-on interaction with animals (whether you are working with pets, livestock, or wildlife). Animals can be somewhat unpredictable when they are under stress or in an unfamiliar environment, like when they visit the veterinary office or the grooming salon, so it is important to be attentive and stay aware of the animal you are handling at all times. You can minimize your risk of injury by following these animal handling safety guidelines:

Approach All Animals With Caution

Take care to avoid blind spots and approach animals slowly so that they are always aware of your presence. Talk softly as you approach an animal so it hears you coming. Sudden movements are never a good idea, regardless of the species or breed involved.

Stay Alert at All Times

Bites, kicks, and scratches are often delivered when a handler is distracted. When you are working with animals they need to have your complete attention at all times. A moment of carelessness is all it takes to sustain a potentially serious injury. Don’t let yourself be distracted by a cell phone or idle chatter with other handlers.

Study the Behavior of the Species

Handlers must pay close attention to the behavioral signals that an animal displays. It is very important to recognize negative body language—especially the signs of agitation. Horses pin their ears, strike with their teeth, and kick when upset. Dogs growl, crouch, and bare their teeth when they feel threatened. Be sure to learn the warning signs when you start to work with a new species.

Take Precautions Against Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted directly from animals to humans. Examples of zoonotic diseases include ringworm, salmonella, herpes B, rabies, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. You should be familiar with the basic signs of an infected animal and be aware of how transmission can occur so you can take the proper precautions to avoid infection. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention after any potential exposure.

Minimize Allergic Reactions

Allergens such as animal dander can potentially cause sneezing, wheezing, eye irritation, or hives. Some individuals have severe breathing emergencies which require ​the use of an inhaler or even hospitalization. Allergy shots may be necessary to minimize your reaction so that you can safely work with animals in a hands-on capacity. You may also need to entirely avoid certain types of animals if you are severely allergic to them.

Inspect Handling Facilities for Safety

Sharp edges, slippery floors, improper lighting, and other structural hazards are responsible for many accidents and injuries. It is important to maintain a safe work environment and to keep all animal handling equipment in good working order.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Items of personal protective equipment can include a variety of options such as safety glasses, latex gloves, masks, steel toed footwear, helmets, coveralls, and lead aprons. If there is a product available and it is appropriate for the task at hand, consider taking advantage of it. Protective equipment can greatly minimize the chances of injury.

Restrain Animals Properly

Securing animals safely can help you to avoid sprains, strains, slip and fall accidents, and other physical injuries. Large animals, such as cattle and horses, should be placed in stocks or stalls. Halters, hobbles or other restraints can also be utilized. Dogs can be muzzled and cats can be wrapped gently in towels. In extreme cases, a tranquilizer should be administered by a veterinarian.

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Dispose of Medical Waste in Appropriate Containers

Always handle any hazardous medical equipment (such as needles or chemicals) with extreme caution. Never throw needles away in the trash. Most clinics and farms keep special red biohazard disposal boxes on hand for this purpose.

Have an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is especially important when working with large animals in pens, stalls, or chutes. Don’t allow yourself to get cornered. Maintain a clear path of escape at all times. You could be seriously injured if you are pinned in a corner by one of the larger livestock species.


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High energy dog breeds can be intelligent, fun and active, just the way you want your pet to be. However, when it comes to making a dog a member of your family, most owners are confused about whether to choose them.

Some of these high-energy dogs can incredible family pets but you must ensure that your family is active enough to cope with the hyper dog. Here is our list of the top best high energy dog breeds for you to consider.

16 Most High-Energy Dog Breeds

Following are some of the high energy dog breeds that can keep you on your toes as a member of your family. Let’s look into them in details.

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are not just one of the highest energy dog breeds but among the breeds that prove to be perfect family companions. Their shiny coat, elegant look, and friendly behavior make them truly adorable. With a German Shepherd, the only thing you have to be careful about is draining their excess energy. It is this high energy is what allows them to work as search, guide and herding dogs.

You need to keep a German Shepherd busy and active at all time. Inactivity bores the dog to the extent of making him grumpy. Give these high energy dogs enough jobs and play with them and they will be the best pets for any family, especially with kids.

2. Irish Setter

If you want one of the high energy dog breeds to accompany you on your jogging and hiking sessions, then an Irish Setter can be the best possible choice. They are full of energy and can be the perfect companions for an active family. Their rich chestnut red hue makes them look all grand and elegant.

An Irish Setter needs to run a lot. Introduce training and exercising that requires a lot of movement, tugging, fetching, etc. Absence of such activities can affect your dog to the extent of turning him anxious or making him engage in negative behaviors.

3. Shetland Sheepdog

A Shetland Sheepdog belongs to the high energy dog breeds obviously because it worked as a versatile herding and guard dog for farmers in the Shetland Islands, lying off the coast of Scotland. The dogs basically protected the crops from hungry sheep and birds while also herding, as one of their main activities.

Today, a Shetland Sheepdog can be an excellent high energy family companion, keeping you all excited and engaged with him. Make sure that the dog has enough space to run about and utilize his energy. To ensure this, introduce a lot of chasing games with a fly ball and sprints, and you will love watching your dog play.

4. Dalmatian

Dalmatian was historically bred and used as a coaching dog along with horses. As a result, today, as one of the high energy dog breeds, Dalmatian can work in many other capacities. It is an athletic and agile high energy dog that can beautifully accompany you on your running and hiking trips. This particular dog breed is good at most of the dog sports too.

Dalmatians are extremely friendly with kids but they are not as easygoing as they appear to be. You need to focus a lot on their training and exercising needs to keep them active and let them direct the excess energy that they have. If you fail to provide them with jobs and activities, they will not only become hyperactive but will also develop habits like snapping at people or excessive barking.

Unless your dog is clinically hyperactive, they just need more training and more daily physical activity.

5. Russell Terrier

As one of the popular high energy dog breeds, the Russell Terrier exhibits signs of high intelligence too. That is why, in any sports setting with advanced training exercises, this dog does incredibly well. The breed has a lot of physical energy that needs draining through regular activities.

If you do not provide your Russell Terrier with enough scope for exercising, the dog will soon find amusing ways of staying active and those ways might not be too welcome for the family.

6. Poodle

The Poodle is one amongst the medium-sized high energy dog breeds, which makes it quite an interesting dog. Originally, poodles were water retrievers and they used to jump in the water to fetch waterfowl for hunters. Although they do not engage in similar activities any longer, they do maintain a strong sense of hard work and high energy.

Poodles are as highly intelligent as they are playful. They can be good around kids as well. However, just make sure keeping your poodle’s mind and body active through obedience training and regular exercising. These high energy dog breeds can get bored and be a little destructive in the absence of tasks.

7. Beagle

The Beagle is among the most recognized high energy dog breeds out there. The dogs have strong scenting abilities because they were hunters and this profession makes them super active at the same time. Their excess energy needs burning through daily exercises and fun-filled activities.

The exercises that you introduce for your beagle should contain sniffing related activities because the dog is really good at them and enjoys them too. This high energy dog breed is also clever and can be inherently stubborn or even mischievous at times.

8. Siberian Husky

One of the cutest looking high energy dog breeds, Siberian Huskies traditionally pulled sleds in freezing temperatures. No wonder, they have a very high level of energy, which should drain out through vigorous exercising. Otherwise, these hyperactive dogs will behave much like a maniac running about aimlessly in the absence of a proper job to do.

High energy and strenuous activities like sledding and weight pulling are good for this breed. However, they like cold weather and are extra sensitive to heat. So, make sure that they stay as active as they want but only in the cold weather conditions.

9. English Springer Spaniel

An English Springer Spaniel can prove to be a good pet for any kind of families living in any type of home, even a small apartment or a condo. However, the dog belongs to the high energy dog breeds and, therefore, needs a lot of exercising on a daily basis. As long as you can keep the pooch engaged in strenuous outdoor activities, you will never face a problem with his hyperactivity.

While planning training exercises for this high energy dog breed, make sure including a lot of running and fetching activities. Physical tasks are more important than mental activities for this particular breed.

10. Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher (MiniPi) belongs to the short-haired German Pinscher breed, which is one of the high energy dog breeds. The dogs are typically fearless and intelligent. They come with such a high level of energy that they can even chase their own tail instead of sitting quietly at a place.

With lots of playful games and training exercises, this breed can prove to be a welcome member of your family. Lack of exercises, on the other hand, can make them a bit aggressive. These high energy dogs are usually suspicious of strangers too.

11. Australian Shepherd

As one of the high energy dog breeds, an Australian Shepherd is on the verge of being quite hyperactive but also quite intelligent at the same time. Their energy level is unmatchable, which is often the result of their history. So, Australian Shepherds were bred and raised to work in farms and herd livestock and quite naturally, they are always on the lookout for some activities. These high energy dogs are good at agility and disc competition.

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As a pet parent, you have to keep your Australian Shepherd active and engaged at all times. If you leave them alone without activities, they will turn grumpy and act stubborn. Training and regular exercising are a must for this high energy dog breed. As a whole, they are great companions for all kinds of families.

12. Border Collie

Border Collie is not only one among the high energy dog breeds but also the most intelligent breed. These dogs are extremely active and best recognized for their agility and disc competition. Border Collies make great pets and can instantly make all the members of a family literally fall in love with their cute antics.

The breed, however, originated as sheepdogs so, their natural instinct is to chase and herd. That is why; they must always have a job at hand to engage them. If you don’t give them a job, they will simply chase around anything in the house or outside, including cars. Give them enough attention to drain their energy physically and mentally and they will be the most amazing pet you ever had.

13. Golden Retriever

One of the most popular and high energy dog breeds, the Golden Retriever is a friendly, compassionate, tolerant and highly admired family pet. Apart from their intelligence, this dog has high levels of energy, which require a positive vent out through exercising and activities.

Golden Retrievers are natural athletes and perform extremely well in sports such as agility and competitive obedience. You can utilize your dog’s energy by making him participate in such dog sports apart from regular exercising.

14. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers were originally bred for the physically demanding jobs, requiring high levels of physical energy. Labs are intelligent, playful, active and a bit hyperactive at times.

If you have a Labrador Retriever, make sure that you make him exercise for at least 45 to 60 minutes a day. Lack of activities will encourage the dog to behave in certain negative ways. Like most high energy dog breeds, they too need obedience training to a significant extent.

15. Belgian Malinois

With strong herding and protective instincts, this high energy dog breed demands intense exercise. Belgian Malinois are remarkably alert and intelligent. They have high levels of physical energy, which need draining in the right direction.

A Belgian Malinois can also be a bit hyperactive at times. If you do not provide them with enough scopes of physical activity, they might engage in negative activities instead of just turning grumpy.

16. Welsh Corgi

One of the small high energy dog breeds, a Welsh Corgi traditionally herds cattle, horses, and sheep. The dogs are not only brimming with high energy but are also quite smart. An advantage of this high energy dog breed is that it is quite obedient and easy to train. As a result, the dogs are ideal for new or first-time dog owners and families with children.

Of course, the dogs require a channel to vent out their excess energy. So, you have to make sure introducing the pooch to regular training exercises that tire them physically and mentally.

How to calm a high energy dog down?

While the high energy dog breeds can be fun and interesting, at times, managing their hyperactivity can turn out to be a challenge. Considering this, the following are some of the techniques that you can try out to calm down your hyper dog.

1. Make sure your high energy dog is getting enough exercise

The excess and unmanageable energy of the hyper dog breeds often result from the fact that they are not getting enough exercise. So, if you have a dog from one of the high energy dog breeds, then you need a proper workout plan for the dog to restrict their tendencies, otherwise difficult to slow down.

Certain high energy dog breeds seem to be in constant motion and are unable to settle down even after the end of a long day. For them, you should introduce some focused games as a means to let them vent some of their excess energy. Tug and fetch is an excellent energy burner game in this regard. It can fulfill the purpose of mini training exercises as well.

Sports like agility or lure coursing are also suitable for the high energy dog breeds. These games will exhaust even the most active breeds. Alongside, make them run regularly preferably in a dog park with other breeds of dogs around.

2. Ensure your high energy dog is mentally stimulated too

It is not just the physical workouts that will keep the high energy dog breeds in check. They need to be mentally active and stimulated too. You can introduce some fun exercises like hide and seek or the treat dispensing puzzle games to keep your dog mentally active and alert, thereby draining quite a lot of his energy.

3. Reconsider your high energy dog’s diet

The hyperactivity of some of the high energy dog breeds can also be the result of higher levels of sugar in their food. Yes, cheap dog foods often contain excessive sugar-based ingredients so; you should check the label and stay away from them. You can also reconsider your dog’s entire diet plan and eliminate all those fillers, sugar, colorants and byproducts. Junk foods have a direct impact on your dog’s energy levels.

Make it a point to feed high-energy dog breeds with high-quality natural food containing easily identifiable ingredients. They should not contain meat by-products, preservatives, and fillers whatsoever.

4. Reward your dog for calm behavior

You might just feel too relieved and happy to see your high energy dog sleeping on his bed or perhaps, just chilling on the couch. But it is important to reward high-energy dog breeds for their calm behavior, every now and then.

Give them a favorite treat or anything they like for the positive behavior and this will encourage your pooch to behave in the same way more often. In the absence of such rewards, a hyperactive dog will assume that you interact with them only when they are hyperactive. This will, in turn, make the pet, more restless.

5. Teach your hyper dog some manners!

Certain behaviors of the high energy dog breeds appear to be hyperactivity but they are, in most cases, a lack of manners and obedience.

Therefore, such dogs should go through serious training in which they learn to engage with you to get what they want, instead of indulging in some inappropriate behaviors. The training allows your dog to control impulses, something that most high energy dog breeds miss out on. Training him to sit while asking for something as a way of saying “please” eventually turns into a habit that he inculcates.

When is it time to give a hyperactive dog medication?

Even after you have tried all the above-mentioned calming techniques on your hyper dog, they might still appear hyperactive and agitated. Clinical hyperactivity in dogs is a medical condition that needs treatment. On the same token, not all high energy dogs are clinically hyperactive. So, if your dog rarely calms down, it is time to consult a veterinarian for a clear diagnosis.

The vet will typically conduct some tests and observe the behavior of your high energy dog to find out if they are clinically hyperactive. He can then prescribe some medications for your dog, which usually include canine versions of Adderall, Concerta, and Dexedrine drugs. The vet might also prescribe some specific calming exercises for your pooch.

So, all this article precisely sums up everything that you need to know about high energy dog breeds. With them, your life can become more eventful and exciting only if you take a bit of extra care in ensuring that the energy is drained in the right way and that your dog does not end up being a misbehaved pet.

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