Falkirk pet shop owner shares knowledge of ball python genetics with breeders in new book

The owner of a Falkirk pet shop is sharing his specialist knowledge of breeding unique snakes after publishing a new book.
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George Struthers runs the award-winning Racks4Reptiles in the town’s Cockburn Street and has been breeding ball pythons himself for a number of years now.

With the right combination of genetics, the species can be bred to be born in a number of different colours and ‘morphs’ – patterns.

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Breeders are able to use genetics to breed the species with a particular look and now the local pet shop owner is sharing the knowledge he has learned over the years with others keen to breed their own snakes. His book ‘Ball python genetics – how to crack the code’ was released last month.

George Struthers with some of the ball pythons he breeds in the local pet shop, Racks4Reptiles.  He's recently published a book giving information and advice on breeding specific colours and designs on the snake.  Picture: Michael Gillen.George Struthers with some of the ball pythons he breeds in the local pet shop, Racks4Reptiles.  He's recently published a book giving information and advice on breeding specific colours and designs on the snake.  Picture: Michael Gillen.
George Struthers with some of the ball pythons he breeds in the local pet shop, Racks4Reptiles. He's recently published a book giving information and advice on breeding specific colours and designs on the snake. Picture: Michael Gillen.

He said: “I started to get into reptiles around 17 years ago when I got my first reptile, a bearded dragon, and then I started to get into snakes. One of the most popular animals is the ball python. After looking at all the different colours and patterns that they can be – we call these morphs – I began breeding them and creating stunning animals with eye-catching colours and patterns.

"It’s all about the genetics which can be quite complicated. I’ve been building up my knowledge for a number of years through a combination of reading lots of books, watching videos on YouTube and speaking to different breeders that have been doing it for years.

"Customers who visit my pet shop have also been looking to breed these amazing animals, but struggle to work out how these genes work and how to produce the morphs they are aiming for. The majority of customers who come in for ball pythons are breeders, and about half of those are new breeders. They come in looking for information and advice on how to get the colours and patterns they are looking for.

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"I have been working on online training courses to help with this, but I also decided to write a book on the subject. It’s a how to guide on how to create designer morphs.”

George's book is available to buy from the pet shop in Cockburn Street and on Amazon.  Picture: Michael Gillen.George's book is available to buy from the pet shop in Cockburn Street and on Amazon.  Picture: Michael Gillen.
George's book is available to buy from the pet shop in Cockburn Street and on Amazon. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The book walks the reader through each type of gene and explains how each one works.

George added: "This is the perfect book for new breeders and I hope it can help a lot of people in the hobby to get started.”

But this is just the first book that George is publishing for reptile owners. He’s already started work on a second.

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He said: “This one relates to all the introductory reptiles and the most common first pet reptiles people get. It will go over eight different species in great detail.

“It’s a complete care guide from basic care right down to details of how to breed each species. It’s about sharing the knowledge and helping people progress with what they are breeding.”

As well as the book writing, George is continuing to expand his business having launched a number of new services for customers in the last 12 months. The team now offer pet boarding, and do children’s birthday parties and business events.

Copies of George’s book are available from the local pet shop as well as on Amazon. Visit www.racks4reptiles.co.uk

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