Who's Line is it Anyway?
This blog is written from my point of view based on my experiences, the interactions that I have with other breeders-collectors and what I do in my own collection. Some of it may be applicable in your collection or experiences some may not but hopefully you get a good read from the following….
The idea for the blog started when I was asked or have been on multiple occasions on different animals "who's line is that diamond?". At times I have been accused having crosses although on one particular animal it's lineage originates from a breeder who arguably keeps the best records in regards to that subject. If you are stateside and are really into diamonds I am certain you know who I am referring to. I find it amusing but I understands one concern. There are to my knowledge at least four maybe five popular known diamond lines in the US readily produced;
· Gary Valle-GV
· San Diego Zoo-SDZ
· River Bank Zoo-RBZ
· Cypress Creek-CC
· Geb Bailey-GB
I know I know the last two will have some up in arms but my point is generally speaking CC and GB are recognized as a line in the US; whether you believe they are valid lines or not is irrelevant and I will hopefully explain why below. There also a few more recognizable lines that very few people have or at least people that we know of;
· Lazik (at this point they are truly not many around).
Then there is the really elusive “zoo breed” which is a tag that I have used on a few animals that I have in my collection. This blog is not written with the intent to dive into the origin of each line, although I suggest that you do your own research as opposed to just reading a “headline” from social media. It will give you at least your own perspective and thoughts as opposed to someone else’s. In addition doing your own research will hopefully give you the ability to find those folks that truly have the insight on the lines as opposed to folks that have never bred diamonds let alone even have them. I sincerely wanted to add names but again I just feel that leads to complacency on ones part not to seek out their own. I can give initials I guess to start you down the right path but that would be cheating as well in addition a few of the folks I gave reached out are not interested in discussing some of this stuff publicly and all I can do is respect that. Believe me I have reached out to several of them to ask why didn't you chime in on debates and they always come back with the effort and drama associated with different opinions is not worth it to them. They keep and breed for the love of keeping and breeding not as a status symbol.
Anyways within those lines, variations of patterns and colors are variable as at least in my experience it is hard to call every GV animal a GV without knowing it is a GV animal. There are a few folks that can pick them out based on their experiences and time spent with diamonds but I would bet to say that most can't and rely heavily on the information that is attained when acquiring an animal. With breeding efforts and multiple generations being produced in captivity; like anything else a line can get more defined and certain traits more pronounced. So, my reasoning for writing this blog is three-fold.
One being, do your own homework on the lines and purchase what you like just ensure that you are honest with potential customers down the line and more importantly to yourself. For instance, if you have a GV-SDZ animal don’t call it a straight GV animal or a straight SDZ animal which honestly could be valued more on the market. Worse from some’s perspective; is if you have an animal that has CC or GB. Just be honest. Half the people believe CC and GB are a true or pure line, the other half do not. I have spoken to very trusted old school friend and he gives his version of the complete run down of CC and references his behind the scenes friends-breeders to make his point. You have to make your own mind up on the subject based on facts not assumptions or hearsay. There are some very valid points as to the presence and the seemingly disappearance of the high percentage diamond crosses just as there are a number of folks that are not honest there is an another side of the coin of folks that are. Again ask questions and do your homework.
At the end of the day it is knowing what you actually have and are upfront with it. For example, you all know I breed Gamms DJJ’s. A result of producing jags is you get a group of clutch mates that look very much like jungles. Certainly, with my animals because all of mine at this point are very high percentage jungle clutch mates. I almost stop breeding Gammas based on the very fact that I have seen people post pics of “jungles” that I produced in years that I did not produce any jungles. In fact, as many snakes as I have bred my very first jungle x jungle clutch wasn’t until 2017. So, imagine when I see pics of people posting jungles that I produced in 2014???? Of course, I contacted those people and reminded them and luckily they have all been good conversation. Some however WILL most certainly sell a jag clutch mate (sib) and label it a jungle. Look close enough you see it every day. The same thing should apply to diamonds. You have a CC x GV pairing? Be upfront and state it and sell it as so. Again in most cases you will always have opposition to anything you do anyways.
The second fold is; trust. Sure, unless you know me personally the trust factor has to be built quickly and at times is solely based on the information that I can give you regarding any particular animal or references perhaps. It may be a common thought that if a person has various lines of anything you can’t trust them that they won’t cross them and sell them as something else. Does it happen? Yes of course it does but asking questions and more importantly knowing what YOU are looking for and what your plans are will define your risk factor in buying an animal. I have had all of the five listed above and various times some I still have and I base what I have off of what I like and the ease of my explaining where they come from without getting into a heated debate as to pure or not. If an animal is in my collection you have to trust me that I have asked a fair share of questions and feel comfortable with the information that I have to in turn be honest with a potential buyer.
Currently have the following lines represented in my collection;
· Gosford (within the next few months)
· “Zoo Breed”
From time to time I will get animals from a trusted friend that have CC in them. Truth be told this friend-individual is a low-key breeder (by social presence not by the number of animals he deals with) that has been around for a long time. He works behind the scenes with several zoos across the US and has access to quite of few animals or lines that are not readily available on a daily basis or to the general public. That being said because of his time in our hobby and the relationships he has built he has a wide variety of lines and with the information that he as entrusted me with; I believe him and pick animals accordingly when he makes them available to me. It’s not very often I can tell you that.
This brings me to my 3rd reason behind the blog hence the name; who’s’ line is it anyway? Zoo breed to me means one of two things. A catchy phrase to use when a person actually doesn’t know OR if the individuals that have been breeding diamonds for a very long time, are not on social media (don’t care to because of the ridiculous drama), protect their said relationship with zoological institutions and honestly don’t care what people think BUT we all (at least most of us) wish we were them or had their animals’ kind of folks. Phew that was a mouthful.. There is one thing that I have learned in this hobby, there are a lot of people that breed let’s say diamonds since we are on the subject, that are not on-line or have websites. Some of these guys could be my Dad and I am almost 50 to give you some idea. I built up a relationship with a breeder, I asked a lot of questions and accepted the answers or responses that I got. My job is to take those answers and responses and honestly represent them as my collection grows and I start producing animals. Make sense? It does to me so I am good lol. My point hopefully is clear. Be honest in representing what you have, do your research and collect what you like and makes you happy. There is a market for everything and every line if that is your concern. I truly love keeping and breeding reptiles for my own enjoyment. Selling and creating a bit of extra snake funds is a positive repercussion of doing so. Below are a few pics of some diamonds I have currently and the variation between lines. Thanks for the read and enjoy the pics…
Pics in order are as follows;
Zoo Bred male
GV-SDZ RPD female
GV-SDZ x RBZ female
Zoo Bred female