Rockdoc Reptiles went public in September 2015. This was a long time in the making and mainly arose from the need to have a contact point where people could see what I have and contact me.
I have been keeping reptiles and amphibians for the last 30+ years, with a couple years of hiatus here and there. It all started as a child with a read-ear slider (looking back my husbandry was quite terrible), then progressed to anoles, salamanders and toads. I got my first snake when I was 18 (boa constrictor) and that is when I got hooked. Since then I have owned, boas, pythons and colubrids. A move to Saskatchewan in 2007 meant I had to part with my boas and pythons. Since then, I have found a real passion in colubrids, in particular the different phenotypes of corn snakes.
I house almsot all my snakes in large display enclosures except for the hatchlings that I do not intend to keep and a few odds and ends. All other hatchlings are in display enclosures. Although this way of keeping my collection may be more time consuming when it comes to maintenance and cleaning, I like being able to walk by and observe all my animals without disruption. All the greenery and accessories in the enclosures also makes for nice visuals and the animals to seem to enjoy their environments. This set-up also allows me to observe the behaviour of the animals on a daily basis, and I feel it makes it easier to pick up on certain cues, especially during breeding season. I try to understand the physical language of the animals instead of forcing breeding decisions on them. Having display enclosures also means that my space is more limited and that acquiring new animals requires decent investment and some creative thinking to create the space. I see this as a way to prevent scope creep in my collection because, as many hobbyists know, self-control in acquisition of new specimens is difficult…
I try to handle my animals as much as I can, and let my family interact with the animals as well. I believe that by routine handling, the animals do get accustomed to humans and are more easily handled by others, and that hopefully the speed of acclimatisation is a trait that can be transmitted to future generations. Handling the animals also makes it easier to detect ailments or physical problems that might arise with certain animals. It also allows me to get the know the animals better, which helps in selecting which animals might be suitable for educational programs or letting other people handle.
The snakes I own are mainly a collection. My goal was never to become a breeder, just a hobbyist that enjoys his specimens. However, two reasons have pushed me to become a breeder: 1) as my curiosity in genetic inheritance grew, I had to start breeding my animals in order to test outcomes of gene combinations, and 2) it was difficult to find specific species, genotypes or phenotypes within Canada and I figured out that the market could use more diversity.