I'm Brian Barczyk and I work with 30,000 snakes and other amazing animals as the owner of one of the largest reptile collections in the world. I also am launching the first online animal network FOR animal lovers BY animal lovers on July 1! AMA!
My name is Brian Barczyk and I run BHB reptiles and am the host of the popular series SnakeBytesTV. I work with tens of thousands of snakes, lizards and other exotic animals. I have a passion for all animals and that passion takes me around the globe in search of animal adventures! I now am launching the first ever online animal network produced for animal lovers by animal lovers called AnimalBytesTV. We'll have up to 30 weekly series produced by wildlife experts from all over the globe. With talent from Discovery, Animal Planet, Natgeo, BBC and more, we want to take you on a journey to the wild side with actual wildlife experts. There's no TV execs making the decisions, all shows are produced by our wildlife talent, so you'll get the real look into what it's like to mess with animals and wildlife from all over the World.
AMA about the new Animal Network, my job working with thousands of snakes and exotic animals or my adventures traveling around the world.
I'll be here to answer questions until 3PM EST and will check back to answer questions after that as time allows.
THANKS GUYS FOR ALL THE AWESOME QUESTIONS! I'M OFF TO CARE FOR ANIMALS! I'll CHECK BACK AND TRY TO ANSWER AS MANY AS I CAN LATER! THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!
I completely promise you this.. It's the exact reason we are doing this, to avoid that crap!
Hasn't that already happened? Or is this a different animal network?
You're thinking of Animal Planet. I believe the new one is Animal Network.
I'm happy to hear that I was mistaken. thank you.
yes, this is AnimalBytesTV... a new network produced by animal lovers.
Hi Brian, While I understand the appeal of snakebytes, I worry that the same sort of show, but directed at all animals, only encourages an atmosphere of acquisition and keeping of captive animals, rather than that of conservation of those already in the wild. Certainly I have nothing against herpetoculture or keeping animals, but it seems like the potential for a conflict of interest exists when the guys selling animals are making shows about animals. My first question then, is do you plan on making this new series about wild animals, with focus on ecology and conservation, or are you focusing more on captive propagation?
My second question is, given the huge gap in knowledge between professional biologists and the hobbyist crowd, how are you ensuring that your information is accurate?
First off, I agree that this could be an issue. The network will not be focused on private breeders of these animals, but the conservation part. Most of our shows will not focus on anything to do with pets or breeding, but education about wildlife. We are only working with professionals and although there are always varying opinions of what the "truth: is, we will out our faith in our producers and do the best to provide proper information. Very good point.
Thanks for the response. I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. I know you probably have contracts with producers and everything, but if you need contacts with the folks in herpetology, I'm happy to put you in contact with the people who are producing the peer reviewed literature. A real, educational show in a climate of absolute garbage on TV is certainly a noble endeavor.
I would always love to have the help! Please reach out to me!
Do you attribute your success to the length of your hair?
First off, my wife and I are HUGE fans of Snakebytes! What inspired you to start that up? It was a great idea, and I look forward to every installment. Can't wait for AnimalBytes!
Thanks so much for your support! I just wanted to reach people with my passion for animals. That's now what this new network is all about! Reaching more than just reptile people with a positive messages. I want to world to love animals the same way I do!
Well your enthusiasm is infectious, I'll tell you that much. My wife says you're going to be the new Steve Irwin - and from here, I can't disagree with her.
It was funny to watch her go from being disinterested in snakes, even my ball python, to loving them based on watching your videos. Keep it up!
those are some very kind words and I can not thank you enough for them. I'll keep trying to change peoples minds with the animals I love so dearly!
Is their any snake that really scares you?
No snakes or really animals scare me, but I totally respect them and understand the potential danger with some. I am afraid of a lot of things though, just not what normal people are:)
Then what are you afraid of?
spiders, bridges, windmills, deep water...
Hi Brian! First I wan't to say yay you for having an equally odd last name. As a fellow XXrczyk it's nice that most snake people at least have an idea how to pronounce my name because of your name!
Now, I wanted to ask--I saw an episode of SnakeBytes last July where you were showcasing boa constrictor morphs, which was awesome because that's what I keep. You were holding an IMG (Azabache) and said that Peter Kahl proved out the IMG boa as a co-dominant. Is there some Super Azabache boa I am missing, or was that just an oops? As far as I know that is just a dominant gene D:
In honesty I am not sure that Pete even knows. He tell me there is a super, but I honestly do not know.
Where is Chewy?
Eaten by a salty
How does your career affect your dating life? Do many potential partners get turned off by someone who apparently loves snakes this much?
I'm lucky to have a wife that has supported me for years of this insanity. But I know a lot of guys and girls that have great dating lives. It's a great conversation starter!
It's a great conversation starter!
I dunno, the "Want to meet my snake?" line doesn't work well for me.
It's all in the delivery! Maybe I'm packing a nicer snake then yours?
What's the next animal to be added to your tattoo sleeve?
GIRAFFE! lol... On the 20th of July! I'm so excited!
What do you say to people who are afraid of snakes to change their minds?
I understand them firstly. I never push it on them, I just try to educate them and encourage them to face their fears like I have with other things. In time I can change anyones opinion of these amazing animals!
Do you do tours of your facility to the average person?
We do all the time, but I travel a lot, so it's by appointment only.
Hi Brian, do you have any thoughts about the proposed legislation banning retics, BCs, and the remaining anaconda species that has just been reopened for public comment? Any thoughts on the likelihood of this passing?
I think there's a good chance of it passing. I also think there's a good chance of USARK killing it. We need to support and donate to USARK to dave those species and others in the future!
Any opportunities within AnimalBytesTV for recent college graduates?
We're always looking to expand and grow the network! So let me know how you can help out!
Everything you do is SO inspiring for recent graduates, as myself, who love animals and are trying to find their "place" in the world.
well, I'll look forward to hearing from you
Would you ever do a video on crested geckos? :)
Yes, I'm working on this now... Hopefully within the next month I'll have one out!
Have you ever wanted to do something else than what you do, and what would that something else be? And also, where is Chewy?(how is he doing and so on)
Love your show by the way, have followed it for some years now, keep it up.
Thanks for all the support. I want to do so many things in life, but most of them evolve around animals. I'll always work with them forever. My future will have a lot of filming and traveling in it in search of animal adventure! And I'll bring you all along for the ride!
I have a husky named Arthemus and a German Shepard named Zeus!
Hi Brian! I love when you do videos about leopard geckos. What do you recommend I do about a new juvenile leo who won't eat even a week after coming home? (Husbandry and temps are perfect. He drinks water and poops. Little bugger just won't eat even after trying chicken baby food!)
Try as many types of food as you can. Make sure it has a good hide and stress levels are down. I'll do a video about this! Stay tuned!
I read this in your voice lol. Thanks for the reply! He won't even eat wax worms, which are known to be leopard gecko crack. The only thing I can think of is that he's still stressed from being shipped. (Shout out to Reptiles by Mack)
haha.. funny stuff! The Macks are great people!
I've got a triple header for you :) What can Animal Bytes TV offer that you can't find on mainstream nature shows? How do you plan to compete in an already saturated entertainment market? What demographics do you expect to be the most interested in Animal Bytes? I love Snake Bytes and I can't wait to see how it all works out!
The mainstream networks have went away from nature shows and went into sensational reality shows. We can bring what animal and wildlife lovers want. I don;t think that market is saturated at all, as a matter a fact I think it's under appreciated by broadcasters. Our demographic is whoever loves nature and animals. I think it'll be a slam dunk!
Hey Brian. Always wondered if you had any reptiles that you keep in a private collection solely as pets? Maybe something you keep at your house?
I don't keep anything at home because I'm at my shop all the time when I'm in town. But I would love to set up a cool Emerald Tree Boa terrarium!
What is this micro-scale ball python that I keep seeing from Facebook on NERD. Is it a different type of scaless head ball, and do you think the super form will create a scaleless ball python?
yes, it is totally different. I have no clue if there is a super and what that will be. We'll have to wait a few years to find out, but it's cool!
Hi Brian, I love SnakeBytesTV and am really looking forward to AnimalBytesTV.
As a snake lover and keeper myself I really appreciate the snakes and morphs that you showcase from your collection. You've gotten yourself into some amazing projects and have gotten in on the ground floor of plenty.
So my question is: What project, morph, or animal do you regret passing up on, and why did you pass on it?
Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA.
Wow,, there are so many things I wish I would have gotten into. I was offered the first Banana ball that was imported and I passed. That cost me millions of potential dollars. But I live without regret! Thanks for your support!
Hey Brian, what is your favorite "underrated" starter snake. Everybody and their grandma starts out with a garter, ball, corn or king but I think Kenyan sand/Rosy boas or Western hognoses are great for beginners as well. Can you think of any lesser known species with simple upkeep and minimal setup that would be good for new(er) enthusiasts?
Not really.. I think those mentioned are so popular because they are the most common and best starters. There's tons more to choose from as someone gets a little experience.
Dude when are you coming down to England next? I'd love to meet you!
i hope to be there in September! I ll do some meet ups!
How big do you think the scaleless snake might become sales wise? Also big fan i watch it everyweek.
Thank you for watching! I think they will be beyond huge! I think everyone that is into designer snakes will have to have one! They're insane!
I look forward to your new channel! I've been watching SnakeBytes for a while now and I love how enthusiastic and knowledgable you are.
I was wondering, how do you feel about recent shows on animals on tv today? There has been a lot of controversy about it being staged, etc. Do you feel like what they've done recently has been inadequate in terms of teaching and informing?
This is the whole purpose for AnimalBytesTV. To get away from the direction the networks are going. I have filming with a lot of these networks and trust me the direction is not what an animal lover wants. We can change that and give fun educational and entertaining shows like we all love so much! Thanks!
Great meeting you! I think there's so many directions you can go in to dedicate your life to animals. From biologist, to zoo keeper, to breeder, to film guy. You just have to love it as much as I do! Hope we can stay in touch! Let me know if I can ever help out!
Thanks for doing this Brian! You are the man!
What was the hardest part of starting up as a breeder and at what point did you say "Hey, I'm making enough to support this hobby and make a living off this!" ?
I thin the hardest part was just doing it. believing in your dream when everyone else thinks youre crazy. Just do it! The rest always works out!
Why haven't basic morphs such as the albino ball, which have been around since 1992 not fell under the $100 mark on the market yet? If after 22 years, this common recessive morphs still cost in the $300 range, how will hobbyist afford the newer morphs? It just seems thats most of the morphs are unobtainable to the grand majority of hobbyist unless they want to spend thousands of dollars on a snake
I think there is a base price where people will buy them as pets. Once an animal hits that price they stay there for a while. Albinos sell great for $250-$300 so the demand at that price is higher than the supply.
hi brian! i LOVE your show! i have 2 ball pythons, and my younger one has always been more high needs and aggressive. she was actually given to me by someone who couldnt handle her anymore. however, it seems like no matter what i do, she is just high strung and wont mellow out. she will go off food if she is handled more than 3 times a week. do you think it is better to handle her often to get her to hopefully mellow out and risk going off food or just leave her alone in her cage and let her be her (aka aggressive)?
This is such a tough one. If and when it's feeding well. You can offer it a little more food and it'll help calm it down,but of course the more you handle it the chances of stress and it going off food increases. Hang in there, it'll calm down!
I was fascinated by the scaleless ball pythons you hatched, but haven't heard anything more about them. How are they doing? and have they proved to be as hardy as a regular ball python?
I have updated them a ton on Vine and YouTube as well as instagram. They;re doing great and getting big. No real changes from a normal Ball Python. we keep them a little more humid during shedding. Check those updates out!
Of course... I am actually attached to most of my animals. Some are more person pets than others, but I love all my animals. I just can't pick a favorite kid though:)
Brian, you've been in the business a long time. My question is this: Are there any animals that you've decided to work with that you honestly regret taking the plunge with?
Not at all.. If I decide I don't want to work with an animal then I stop working with it, but that's pretty rare. I love them all!
Thanks for starting your channel, I learned a lot from just this past year or so watching SnakeBytesTV, and it inspired me to keep my own reptiles.
I want to write to the appropriate people with relevant and accurate information regarding the addition of the Boa constrictor, Reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, Green anaconda and Beni anaconda to the Lacey Act.
I've already commented on the forum that USARK linked in their newsletter here (http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015), but is there anything else I can do?
It's a tough thing and the best we can do is to follow USARK and follow their lead! I am always a big supporter of their efforts and we need others to follow suit!
So good to see you making so much progress with SnakeBytes, Brian! Been a fan since day 1. You're strategy is pretty genius. I think you will be surprised to see how successful AnimalBytes will become. You do so much to correct the media folk-lore and push conservation. My only question is, how big are your scaleless BP's now?
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! They are about 500 grams now! Looking awesome!
I've never heard of you or Snakebytes before, but now I have something to look forward to watching on TV! (Finally, something educational!) I'm also a reptile lover and own a bearded dragon myself.
What is your opinion on the short-term/occasional use of UVB lights in Leopard Gecko enclosures?
What's your opinion on Western Hognoses? I'd love to get because their small and adorable, but I'm having a difficult time convincing my parents. They are also endangered in Illinois and require a permit to own.
Thank you for your time and for this wonderful AMA! :D
good to meet you! Leos do not need UVB, so giving it to them does not hurt, but you do not need it. They are nocturnal and rarely see the sun in the wild. Hogs are great,but you do need a permit there. Some people do have reactions to their bites, but I never have. Stay in touch!
Have you ever dealt with crypto? How did you manage it? Do you have a way to test all of your animals? I think I remember reading you have a vet on staff for any problems you might have. How often do you find snakes dead in their enclosures? How do you deal with the problem? I'm very curious how a large facility might deal with outbreaks.
It's imprtant to keep good protocalls for things like this. We've seen a lot and with the way we keep our animals we're pretty safe. We do a lot to prevent things
Do you have exotic mammals like monkeys? Would you ever get any?
No, but I love all animals! I hope to open a zoo soon and work with all kinds of exotics... I will be shooting a vid with Magic of Rahat next month with some monkeys:)
I don't know if you answered this in your post cause I was too lazy to read the text (sorry I'm tired and it's decently long) but do you work with alligators, and if so how freaking cool is it?
I have a few gators and have really fallen in love with crocodilians. I hope to work with more in the future!
Have any of your animals tried to use your credit card without permission?
only the most diabolical ones. Mostly the hairy primate named Josh.
Brian, i know you work with ball pythons and corn snakes, leopards and bearded dragons, and you occasionally feature a few other animals on Snakebytes that you work with. which animals have you not featured? and which do you wish would get more attention? i.e which animals do you feel are under rated in the trade.
i for one am partial to arboreals, and have been breeding them for about 2 years.
do you have plans on moving into more sensitive species?.
ALSO new pics of the scaleless ballpython, and an updated shot of the sunset ball!
I work with tons of animals that rarely make the show. And honestly I want ALL animals to get attention. They're all special in my eyes! I love arboreal stuff by the way!
Do you get grants for your work? Or how is most of it sponsored? Also, how did you first get into the field?
I have never had a grant. But I fund everything through the sale of our babies. I hope to get a different revenue stream with SBtv and we're looking at opening a zoo as well.
I stumbled across your YouTube channel some years ago. I'm terrified of snakes but I can't stop watching them (on TV, internet or with a thick glass between us at the zoo). Great job you're doing! I'm especially fascinated by giant snakes. Did you ever meet an anaconda in the wild?? shudders
thank you so much! I really appreciate your support! I have yet to travel to the amazon, but it is HIGH on my to do list! I'll film and you can shudder:) It's awesome that you;re facing your fears.
Why do snake handlers always have a ponytail?
not all of them, only the cool ones:)
Hi Bryan! Huge fan. Do you keep any venomous snakes? If so whats species? and if not.. what species would you like to own if any?
I do not, but I love hots! I really would want to work with any Elapid as well as Gaboons. But I love all the pit vipers as well. Who am I kidding, I want them all!
Hey Brian! I just recently started SnakeBytes, and I really enjoy the show. I was just wondering, do you keep any tortoises in your collection, and if you do, which ones are your favorites?
I have a few Sulcata and I love them to death! I'm a huge tortoise nut and you'll love our show called Kamp Kenan on ABtv!
How do I say your last name?
Often times the enclosures breeders keep their snakes in are much smaller than what is considered the recommended (or necessary) size for a species. Since breeders usually are the ones to set the standards for snake care, including tank size, this seem hypocritical to me. How do you, and other breeders, justify keeping snakes in cages that 'pet owners' would be criticized for?
I think that snakes need much smaller cages than people think to be happy and healthy. Watch next weeks show as I demonstrate this. Actually most pet owners have their snakes in far too large of cages causing stress on the animals. I'll explain more in next weeks show.
2 part Do you or would you ever give tours at BHB? What qualifications does your staff needs to have(if any)to work with the snakes/ hire me plz?????
Ww have people in all the time by appointment. We hire passion animal people and are always looking for good crew. Feel free to get in touch!
How do you identify all the different morphs you breed? Especially when they're new morphs... For example the trick gene compared to the nova gene?
it's getting harder and I think some of these morphs are the same with different names. I wish we could all agree on things like butter and lesser being the same animal. But as you get more then 4-5 genes in the moroh, it becomes close to impossible to know for sure.
Out of all the snakes you've worked with. What is your favorite ball python morph?
I just can't pick.. It's like asking a mom to pick their favorite child. I love them all:)
Hi Brian! I've met you at a few reptile shows, specifically NARBC. What's your favorite convention to go to? And favorite morph of any snake?
Hi, I love the NARBC shows for sure, but the Super Shows in Cali are awesome as well. The Japan show was insane and I can;t wait to get back there. I can never pick on morph. Sorry
Is it possible, as a student going into their first year of college majoring in Biology, that I would be able to get a career doing what you do/working with people like you? For as long as I've been alive, it's essentially been my dream job to be a herpetologist.
Do work for someone like me is very possible. We are always looking for great help and others like me are as well. To start up a business yourself is much harder. Times have changed since I started and now it would take millions of dollars to get to where we are. But certainly follow your passion and never give up on that dream! Let me know if I can ever help out!
Hey Brian! First off, I'm a huge fan of Snakebytes.tv and you have helped me grow my passion for snakes each week. I can't wait to start breeding my two corn snakes and I have all of your breeding episodes saved for down the line with them to help a first timer.
My question since you've worked with all kinds of animals, venomous and non, is have you ever had a particularly close encounter with one that has made you second guess working with them in the future?
Thank you for your support! I've had some gnarly encounter, but I would never stop working with them. If I ever get hurt or even lose my life to an animal I'll be okay with that. It's what i love! I just hope the cameras are rolling:)
Can't wait for the show! Which of your snakes garners the most caution when handling???
Thank you! I think Satan is still the most dodgy animal I work with, but I love that nut!
Brian, You got to see my Olive female at a show recently... I have, what i hope to be an interesting question for you...
Have you ever considered starting up a feeder breeding section of your business? For those of us who want to keep things that eat geckos or frogs and amphiuma without actually breeding them ourselves?
I love Olives! I've never wanted to get into the feeder side of things to be honest. I hate seeing animals die and I don't want to be the guy to produce them to have them fed off. I get that reptiles need to eat, and certainly we feed a ton off, but I just get too attached to animals to sell them as feeders:)
How come you own so many giant pythons but no anaconda?
We have a couple anacondas, but they are small still. growing them for our future zoo!
I love Snakebytes. I personally don't keep snakes or many of the other animals you show on the show. I keep Turtles (Belize Sliders and Red Eared Sliders) . I was wondering if you have any Turtles around the shop or have ever kept them as pets?
I love turtles! I have a few sliders at the shop as pets and wish I has more time and space for other species.
Yay! I'm so glad this is happening ;)
Got any time management techniques you'd like to share? You juggle a whole lot of commitments at once and I'm sure it'll only increase with the launch of ABtv. Do you have any kind of method to the madness or do you just take everything as it comes?
I am very good at juggling a million things. I think you have to be to run as much as I do. I'm high energy and love to challenge myself. Although life has been very insane lately! lol Deep breaths.....
And that you! Just realized this was you:)
What is the rarest snake you have ever encountered?
The Oenpelli Python in Darwin Australia! Amazing creatures!
What is the most poisonous vs. most painful snake bite that you have ever received?
They all hurt less than you think. But in honest getting bitten by Monitor lizards is pretty painful!
Is there a particular species of snake that is generally more aggressive than others? Is there a generally friendly species?
Some are, but for the most part the majority of snakes can be tamed. But there's a few that are buggers!
I absolutely love snakebytes and im super excited for animalbytes!my question is now that you have so many snakes do you still feel a connection with everyone of them?
It's different than when I had a small collection, but I do connect with a lot of them and I try to always keep as close to them as possible. It's the one downside of having a lot of animals. But I have a great crew!
Hey Brian, i'm excited for the launch of AnimalBytesTV. Do you have any plans for it to cross over to mainstream TV or happy to keep it on youtube for the moment? What can we expect from the upcoming content?
We plan on always staying online, but we will hopefully commission shows to certain networks when it's the right decision. But the future of all entertainment is the web and we want to own that space for animal programming.
Are snakes slimy? they look slimy
Far from it, they are silky smooth and dry. They only appear slimy. Youd love the way they feel!
Hey Brian, thanks for doing an AMA.
I'm wondering if you're getting into the dwarf and super dwarf retic localities, they're a fantastic investment right now and some of the projects are insane, if you are into them, what are you expecting in the next few years ?
Also, have you ever had a serious bite from a big snake ? I got tagged by my female green anaconda when she was about 10 feet, and she wrapped up on my arm and held on for a good 10 minutes.
I'm not sure I agree on the investment potential for those animals. I love them, but I think they are a niche animal and prices will come down fast. I do think they're awesome though! I have taken a lot of bites form big snakes. The food bites are by far the worst! YIKES!
I used to watch SnakeBytesTV all the time, but I stopped when it was getting too literally "snake bites tv". Every episode was full of your workers getting bit bloody and everyone else laughing about it. I thought it was in poor taste and could both deter new people from entering the hobby and add fuel to the groups who are actively trying to ban reptile ownership. Have you tried to get away from that sort of content, or is there a reason you place such an emphasis on it?
I'll see you at Tinley this October! Sorry again about that one time we gave Chewy all that 151...
We have not had that type of programming in almost two years. I hope you'll watch again. I think you'd be happy with the change in the way we produce the show now. We do not have sensational bites unless they happen naturally and never provoke snake bites. Please catch back up.
Hi Brian, you are almost a god for me! Oh well I was this lucky that my first snake was a cornsnake that has the pattern-gene "masque", do you have any snakes with that gene? and how much would one of those cost in America?
I remember you have talked about a hedgehog. Do you have one yourself and if yes, are we going to see him/her some time? Keep up the good work :D
Thanks so much for the kind words! Means the world to me! I do not work with that mutation, I'll have to look that up? I have a few hedgehogs and they rock! I'll update them in the show soon for you!
First, my husband and I are such huge fans of the show as well as your company! I'd like to thank you so much for the way you present large constrictors in your show. They are so demonized in the media and feared by people who don't understand and it makes me so happy to see all of your large snakes happy, healthy, and (with some exceptions) tame.
My question for you then, If you had the connections and the resources, would you like to visit Africa to do an AnimalBytes episode?
Thank yo for all your support! Means a lot to me! I do plan on making a few trips to Africa in the next 12 months to film and explore! Stay tuned for some fun adventures! Thanks again!
What country would you love to visit next? And for what animal would you travel there?
There's few places I don't want to visit, but I'm excited to get to Namibia later this year... I want to see the entire World and as many animals as I can!
What happened with the shipment of dead and underweight boas you sent to jake in Manchester?
Did you ever refund or did you just keep ignoring him?
you mean the ones that Jake screwed me out of $40,000 for... You tell me?
Do you inject yourself with small amounts of snake venom as an immune-type ajuvant to boost your resistance to venom - i.e. the devastating and long-acting phospholipases components of elapids and viperidae?
I saw a show where a guy working with black mambas dosed himself with small amounts of venom because he would get "tagged" every so often.
I don't but I think it's really interesting when people do. There's so many benefits to health with venom.
Snakes? Why'd it have to be snakes?
Can you promise that Animal Network will not devolve into a reality TV spewing shitpile, and will instead provide educational television?
That'd be super awesome.
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