The creative mind of JKR !!!
If you don't know Justin Kobylka Reptiles, prepare to be blown away!
Justin is the master of thinking outside of the box.
Some of his projects appear to come out of nowhere and always shock the community with what can be done with reptiles.
I have had the privilege of picking his brains and discussing ball python genetics.
Take a look at a few of the topics we discussed.
From the batman to magma and pompeii, it seems that you always know what is going to work well.
I do have a very good sense for it, and instinctively head in positive directions, but it's also the result of a lot of experimentation that isn’t always publicly shown.
How do you decide on what combo to go for and does this take years of planning?
It's a combination of both. Many things require years of planning, such as multi-recessive combinations. But overall most things are a beginning of season decision based on which animals I have to work with. A big part of it though is making sure that I have a large variety of mutations to work with, so a lot of flexibility - not railroaded into a certain path.
I'm sure that everyone will agree, the red stripe project was an awesome decision.
can you tell us anything more about the pompeii?
At this point I’ve not released details on the Pompeii, but I don’t expect it to be a long-term secret. The most exciting part of it for me is that I expect it to be just the starting point of what is possible along those lines!
Do you have any other secret combos in the works?
Definitely! We will see how great they actually are when finally reached... I can’t wait!
Are you planning to visit the UK any time soon. If so, will you be attending and reptile shows?
I try to get there every couple of years. Love the UK! Unfortunately my trips are typically planned around the Hamm show, so I’ve not yet visited any local shows.
What combo do you think makes the best all black or all white snake?
The purest all-white snake would be a Super Fire (fire complex) animal that doesn’t have any yellow patches… Also an all-white Spider Pied is perfectly white as well. Most people think the Blue-Eyed Lucy complex is white, but they are actually an off-white / cream color.
The best all-black snake to date would either be a Black Pastel Suma or a GHI Suma. The Suma project is really picking up steam!
How many ball pythons have you hatched out over the past year? Do you see your numbers growing?
My numbers change a lot from year to year even though I constantly breed approximately the same number of females. But year to year there’s will be different percentages of them that actually produce. Typically its between 100-150 clutches with an consistent average of 7 eggs per clutch.
How do you run your breeding program at the moment and do you have any plans to change anything?
I still breed fairly seasonally because that works best as far as workflow for me. Most eggs are laid / hatch from May-Nov… however there’s always a dozen or so outlier females that produce off-season and I’ve learned to not miss out on them. It's fun to have at least 1 clutch in the incubator all year.
How did you get into YouTube? Does it take up a lot of your time?
I started YouTube way before it was popular like it is today. My still cringe when I check out my earliest vids. I’ve taken several breaks from youtube over the years because it is very time consuming, however its also un-matched as far as connecting with really hobbyists / customers. I typically will spend 4-5 hours a week producing content for YouTube, and it's well worth it, I find it super rewarding.
What were some of the biggest problems you faced when starting out?
I think consistency while a growing collection initially can be daunting, but its very important. A tiny little factor can really derail an entire season (and potentially your whole collection) . So working to mitigate risk is very important. I would say that this has been a huge key to my success. I don’t leave anything to chance that I could potentially control.
What is your proudest moment as a reptile breeder?
Probably when I hatched my first Dreamsicle, that was a massive (and lucky) milestone. I also get a lot of pride from sharing the latest crazy combo with the public and watching them geek out over it the same way I do!
Are there any projects that you have tried in the past that you would re-visit?
Not really, for the most part I drive hard on any project that I think is worthwhile. My biggest regrets are just waiting to long to jump into a project.
Do you have any advice for new breeders.
Start small, with the highest quality animals that you can afford. Enjoy it, and let it grow naturally in a way that makes sense. There’s no hurry, the industry is always changing and there’s a million jump in points. So focus on the animals you love and use your imagination. Nobody can replicate the uniqueness of what you can think up!
Justin has a wealth of knowledge and experience with ball pythons. This combined with his creative thinking and strategic planning has brought the world some outstanding animals. I cant wait to see what he comes up with next. If you would like to be one of the first to know or just want to see some awesome snakes, check out the links below for Justins YouTube, Facebook, Instagramme and website.