The Florida Reptile Ranch


It’s not a common thing to see a professional athlete who loves and breeds reptiles. The fact is, my love for reptiles extends just as long as it does for baseball. When I was a boy, I used to spend countless hours looking and searching for reptiles in and around the mountains of East County San Diego. My first snakes, were in fact two gopher snakes that i found and adopted as pets.  Before too long, I had acquired a small collection of snakes ranging from rosy boas to king snakes. By the time I was 12 years old, my father had started a club baseball team that traveled the country, and I no longer had the time to take care of my reptiles. I was forced to give them up to focus on year-round athletics, which really led me to where I am today, a professional baseball player for the New York Mets.

Later.....In the fall of 2007, terrible wildfires roared through San Diego, CA. they burned most of the area behind my fiance’s house on Lake Hodges in Escondido, CA. In December, my fiance, Erica , and I hiked a common trail behind her house to survey some of the damage. Every bit of brush and tree had been burnt completely and it seemed as though no life existed anymore. that was, until we noticed a coastal rosy boa in the middle of the road trying to get some sun in the chilly morning. I knew this wasn’t good, as it wouldn’t be long until the hawks circling above would snag this poor guy, so we took the half burnt snake in to nurse it back to health. After treating the rosy boa for it’s burns and mites, she began eating and slowly gained weight and strength. Today, the now healthy boa is now an educational ambassador for a rehabilitation center that travels to schools to educate young children about reptiles.

Shortly after our rosy boa rescue, my love for reptiles quickly came back to me. I did a quick internet search to see if there were any ball pythons available for sale, and I noticed a male lemon pastel ball python. I had no idea what a Lemon Pastel was, so I decided to search a little more and sure enough, I was completely blown away by all the new ball python morphs! Things sure had changed from the Basic normal ball python i remembered when i was a kid. I went on to purchase that lemon pastel and my addiction for ball python morphs had began...

Brant Rustich