Recently I had the great pleasure of speaking with Brian Gundy, owner of For Goodness Snakes. Well known for his outstanding work with ball python’s and educational talks on a wide variety of reptiles, Brian has one of the most desirable reptile collection’s in the world.

Have a look at what we spoke about.

Q.   How did you first get in to the hobby and what was your first reptile?

A.   As a young boy growing up in in San Jose Ca.

My two older brothers and I caught a gopher snake when I was about 5 years old. Lucky for us both of  my parents were very comfortable around all animals. By the time I was 10 we had collected just about every  type of reptile that could be found in the San Francisco Bay Area. At 12 I purchased my first boa constrictor.  During the day I would keep him in this real nice cage that my dad built for me, but at night I would put him on  a tree limb that I had suspended from the ceiling of my room. It was so cool, I would wake up in the morning  and look strait up from my bed to see my 6 foot boa crawling around the limb. I was hooked from the moment  I touched my first snake. 

When I graduated from high school I started working at an animal hospital. Lucky for me one of the vets that I worked with specialized in exotics so before I knew it I was working around all sorts of exotic animals including reptiles, mountain lions, cheetahs, African lions, wolves, and chimps. 

In 1990 I started purchasing colubrids from some of the best breeders in the country, Bob Applegate, Steve Osborn, Dwyane Richard and Loyd Lemki and began to focus on breeding rather than just collecting snakes. In 1995 I met a guy at work that also had colubrids so before you knew it we became partners. It wasn’t long before my partner Mike Austin and I were producing over 300 colubrids a year. It was actually his wife that came up with our business name "For Goodness Snakes”. After breeding and selling colubrids for about 12 years I started getting burnt out. I was actually in the process of selling out my colubrid collection when I saw a photograph of a pied ball python. So I took the money that I had gained from selling my colubrid collection and started purchasing ball pythons. At that time pieds were selling for $25,000 each.

Q.     If you were to start over again, what gene would you work with?

A.  I wouldn’t change a thing, It’s always been and will always be the pied and pied combos.

Q.   It seems like some genes are undervalued and are not seen in many collections. What genes would you like to see more of?

A.  The crystal is one of my favorites and you just don’t see many around. I’d like to produce a Gold Blush OD  GHI crystals someday. 

Q.     What would you say is your favorite combo that you have ever hatched?

A.  I’ve hatched out 5 amazing looking double visual yellow striped pied clowns. I’ve also hatched out some gold  blush pastel fire mojaves that are so fun to look at.

Q.    Can you tell us about any breeding you are most looking forward to this season?

A.  The gold blush trait has been my pet project for the last 10 years. After many years of working with this  project I was finally able to isolate the gene trait. I’m hoping to prove this year that the gold blush has a  super form. The fun part is that you never know what the super form of any co-dominant gene trait will look  like until it’s produced. To tell you the truth it really doesn’t matter what the super form looks like as long as  I’m able to prove that it is in fact co-dominant. The gold blush trait works as an enhancer gene something  like a fire or yellow belly. My goal as a breeder is to eventually have gold blush mixed in with every project  I’m working with.

Q.     What are your views on maternal incubation and have you ever done this yourself?

A.  I’m all for Maternal incubation I’m just not ready to take that plunge. 

Q.     Is there any genes that you don’t work with and never will?