Boa constrictors, pythons and corn snakes decorated sellers’ tables at the Reptile Show in White Plains, New York, last month. Awestricken visitors peered at them with delight. Experts examined them under the light and scrutinised their colouration. The breeding of snakes is serious business in America. Revenue from the sale of boas and pythons amounts to around $1.6 billion-1.8 billion each year.
Americans own more than 2.5m snakes, according to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a trade association. The snake industry has grown dramatically over the past decade because of frenzied competition to create new “morphs”, the industry term for new colours of snakes. Rare morphs can fetch astonishingly high prices, sometimes more than $20,000.
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