Snakes alive! Jessamine County man has a passion for raising reptiles and rodents

Spirit of the Bluegrass

NICHOLASVILLE, KY. (WDKY)– A lot of us love our house pets– dogs, cats, fish or birds. But when John Kartner heads to his house, he’s greeted by pets many people wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

He calls breeding snakes a “full-time hobby.”

“It becomes habit-forming. It’ss addictive, ” Kartner says.

He started out with five snakes about five years ago. At last count, he had 205 of the lowdown creatures living in a room just off the kitchen.

He’s heard the arguments against living with so many creepy crawlers.

“People say, ‘I don’t see how you can sleep with all those things in your house. What if they get loose? You’re gonna die one night because one is gonna strangle you around the neck.'”

He’s not worried. So far, nothing bad has happened, except for a couple of bites.
“I’d rather get bitten by a snake then go to the hospital and get a needle. I’m just funny like that,” Kartner said.

But he doesn’t deal with venomous snakes.
“I don’t want to take a chance.”

He cross breeds the snakes, hoping to produce unusual colors and patterns.
“It’s like Christmas, waiting to see what’s coming out of the eggs,” he said.

Some snakes John wouldn’t part with, but others are for sale through a Facebook site called Hilltop Reptiles and Rodents.

The rodents are in two sheds in the yard– filled with hundreds of mice and rats. If you raise snakes, you have to feed them.

Kartner knows this isn’t for everyone, but you might be surprised how many people breed snakes. He knows of five others in central Kentucky.

” I don’t really make a lot right now, but I enjoy the passion of it,” he said.

And he’s happy to share that passion with anyone who finds snakes striking… in a good way.

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