By way of introduction, my name is Jim Sargent and I own and operate Split Rock Reptiles (“SRR”), located in the Houston area of Texas. My interest in reptiles (snakes) began when I was in Elementary School in northern New Jersey. There, I was introduced to an interest in these animals by my science teacher, Mr. Stan McElnea, whose back classroom wall was covered with stacks of aquariums full of snakes: Eastern Hognose snakes, Eastern Kingsnakes, Milk snakes, native snakes of New Jersey and even some Pythons! I always sat in the very back row of his classroom so I could get a good view of those fascinating animals-especially at feeding time. I offer many thanks to Mr. McElnea for planting the seed of reptile curiosity, passion and wonder in a young 3rd grader so long ago.
Many years later (late 1990’s) while riding my Mountain Bike on a cool and sunny December day in the woods near my home in Texas, I came upon an Eastern Hognose snake that was sunning itself near the base of an Oak tree. I stopped, got off of my bike and went up to the animal to get a closer look (curiosity…). To my surprise, the snake began to puff up like a Cobra, hissing, and striking and making quite a fuss. Remembering the words of Stan McElnea “Eastern Hognose snakes are non-poisonous and don’t usually bite”, I made the decision to catch it and try to keep it for a pet. I gently pinned its neck to the ground with a small stick, grasping the snake behind the head and placed it in my wide-mouthed, empty water bottle on my bike for safe keeping on the way home. The seed had germinated! I now had my first snake, aptly named “Puff”. I was now faced with a great challenge: how to feed a toad eating snake in the middle of winter! The research (wonder…) began and with the recent birth of the internet, I found the website Kingsnake.com and went to the Hognose Snake Forum page and posted my questions and predicament there. Most replies to my query came back stating that it would be better to return “Puff” to the wild, as it would likely not feed and probably die in captivity. Then, one day, I got a response from Dr. Neil Ford, Professor of Biology at The University of Texas at Tyler. His recommendation was to warm “Puff” up to 80 degrees for 11 days and then try the technique of scenting a live fuzzy mouse with a toad (toads are the primary food sources of the Eastern Hognose). Most folks on the forums at that time advised me that I had a “one in a million” chance of getting an Eastern Hognose to eat mice. Undaunted, I purchased a toad from a local pet store and proceeded with Dr. Ford’s recommendations. On warm-up day #11 (New Year’s Day), I rubbed the toad’s head and neck on a fuzzy mouse and gently placed the scented mouse in “Puff’s” enclosure. I stood back and watched with amazement as “Puff”, tongue flicking repeatedly, slowly crawled over to the mouse and proceeded to gobble it up! I had beaten the odds and was positively, absolutely thrilled (passion…). I eventually weaned “Puff” off of toad scented mice and offered her unscented thawed mice which she ate happily for years and years to come. The knowledge and experience from that toad scenting adventure with “Puff” still helps me today with baby snakes that are reluctant to accept their first meal.
Over time I added to my collection by attending local, state and national Reptile Shows to purchase new species of snakes to create small, focused breeding colonies. I also met some really interesting people at these shows who later became customers and good friends. Successful pairings of selected breeders soon began to yield multiple clutches of eggs to be incubated until hatching time. To this day, watching hatchlings emerge from their eggs is still one of my very favorite times. Each baby snake is like a gift, it’s almost like Christmas!
So that’s the story of how Split Rock Reptiles got started. About the name…it comes from my first memory of fishing with my Dad and my two brothers, at a place called Split Rock Reservoir in northern New Jersey.
We offer captive bred Colubrid and Python offspring for sale to fellow reptile enthusiasts (beginners to advanced keepers) who share the same passion and appreciation for these rare and beautiful animals. Our focus is, and always will be, on quality, not quantity. All hatchlings and juveniles for sale have been produced by SRR unless otherwise noted. We do not buy collections and sell off unwanted animals, nor do we buy clutches of hatchlings at wholesale prices and market them at retail prices. We offer our animals on a first come, first served basis. We make a point of selectively breeding only the very best animals to ensure production of a variety of vigorous, vividly colored and patterned offspring that measure up to our own selection criteria and expectations. We are personally invested in the health and well-being of every hatchling, juvenile and adult snake we own and treat them with the care and respect they deserve through dedicated animal husbandry practices.
Our reputation and customers are our greatest assets. We strive for 100% customer satisfaction and are often rewarded with repeat customers. We guarantee that no animal leaves the SRR facility unless it is 100% healthy, mite free (we have no mites), properly sexed and feeding consistently to our satisfaction. All animals are shipped in new insulated boxes with appropriate cold/heat packs to ensure their safe delivery to their new home. We are always available to our customers for post-sale “Tech Support” regarding specific questions about your SRR animal through email.
We guarantee our animal’s genetics with written documentation stating the animal’s identification number, hatch date, sex and the genetics. We also provide the parentage (Sire and Dam) that produced the animal(s). We only guarantee the genetics for breedings of animals produced by SRR. We cannot guarantee the genetics of SRR animals bred to other animals not produced by SRR, especially those that are claimed to be heterozygous for various traits (desired trait: non-visually apparent in the recessive state).
The best way to contact us is through email: [email protected]. Be sure to state your specific reptile interest in the subject area of your email. To speak with us directly about a reptile purchase, please call us at 713-530-0647.