Ever since we have started our homepage, we receive 5-10 e-mails each year wherein our readers ask for our help to determine whether their boa is a "pure" subspecies or not...
I'm using quote marks intentionally as majority of these boas are undoubtedly crossbreds that had been sold as "pure subspecies" to unsuspecting customers. Interestingly, these crossbred boas typically come from the same sources time after time, which leads us to believe that some boa keepers have been producing crossbreds than labeleing and selling them as "pure" Boa constrictors as a routine for several years.
Some readers may think like: "What does it matter if it is pure or not, they are the same boas and will be excellent pets for the customer!" However, acts like this impairs all level of herp culture:
1. The buyer does not get what he/she wanted to.
2. The buyer pays higher price than what the actual animal truly worths as it is believed to be "pure".
3. The seller violates the unwritten rules of the Profession, disparages his/her own workmanlike and Profession. At the same time, these sellers also impairs and plays off other, trustworthy breeders.
This boa pictured here was bought as a "Guyanan boa". His owner acquired it in the belief he is getting a true Guyanan redtail boa (Boa c. constrictor). However, this picture proves that it is not pure, as it has several features that does not occur in true Guyanan boas. Needless to say, its owner payed 3 times higher price than what this boa actually worths on the market. Frauds like this are not unusual or unique, there exist keepers who have been labelling crossbreds or boas from unknown lineages as "pure subspecies" for years.
Reptile fans may have effective weapon against those swinders however: being careful and well-informed! These days it should be a minimum requirement for animals to be the same what they are labeled as. Well informed, aware reptile enthusiasts will certainly filter out those swinder unprofessionals, forcing them to the basics: becoming Professional.
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