Welcome to Philly Herpetoculture
I've been into Reptiles since I was 5 years old. My dad kept fish and we use to go to our local pet store once a week. The pet store needed tank stands built and my dad was a good carpenter (he built furniture for side jobs), so my dad took the job at the store . I was able to hang there all weekend, while my dad worked on the stands, and I found myself hanging in the Reptile section allot. My dad let me bring home Red Ear sliders, Garter snakes, and Fire Belly newts. I also use to go to abandon train tracks (not far from my neighborhood), and catch Dekay snakes. Living in Philadelphia there's not much to catch outdoors.
The Minetola Family
As time went on, I stayed very interested in animals. Around the age of 13, a new neighborhood pet store opened. It focused on Reptiles and actually had some captive born animals (which was rare). My friend Craig (who was also into reptiles) and I, spent so much time at this pet store, that the owner gave us jobs. We cleaned, fed, and mostly held stuff, but we loved being around and learning about animals all day long. We were paid in rats, mice, crickets, and meal worms, plus free lunch. At this time my collection grew bigger and better, getting into Ball Pythons, Boa's, and Monitors. With some down time at the store, I use to read Reptile magazines, where I discovered Ball Python morphs. The owner Paul, told me the prices of morphs like Albinos and Piebalds, and I thought, "Wow, I'll never have one of them, but it sure would be nice!"
A few years later, I had to get rid of all my animals due to a family crisis. At the age of 18, I bought a house with my girlfriend Kim (who is now my lovely wife) and ran right out to purchase a Ball Python. I then realized, I have my own house and can keep anything I want! So, I hit the Internet, and remembered pro exotics name from reptile magazines and checked out there site. I then discovered Bloods and Short Tail pythons and knew right away I had to get some of these fat crazy looking snakes as soon as possible. At the same time, I really wanted to get some Ball Python morphs, but had no idea how people could afford them. A friend I made at a local pet store (Dennis) where i was buying feeders, told me he had some Ball Python morphs and was planning on breeding them to sell and trade to make money back and get different new mutations. From there on out I decided I wanted to start breeding to get different python morphs. Dennis also pointed me in the right direction to the Hamburg Pa Reptile Show, where I was able to pick up my first Blood and Borneo Short Tail. Not long after, was the NARBC Valley Forge show where I picked up my first Ball Python morph (Orange Ghost-male from NERD). I then built my collection up and started really getting into this crazy hobby.
Since then, my collection has grown to 100+ Snakes. I've been producing my own animals since 2004. I specialize in Blood/Short Tail Pythons and Ball Python Mutations. I also work with other Python and Boa species.