When I was a kid I loved dinosaurs. As I got older I found out that there were actually dinosaurs that you could keep in your house – reptiles. I begged my parents for a pet snake for years before they finally broke down and agreed on an iguana. I named it George which became ironic a few years later when George had 47 eggs. Fearing an identity crisis I decided that the name should stay.George stayed for a while too. She lived for over 12 years.
In 2002 I started my first business. It was called Great White Reptiles. The goal of the business was the breeding of Albino Iguanas. When I started it had never been done. There were about 10 Albino Iguanas in the world at the time and I had the largest one. At the time they were worth anywhere from $5,000-20,000 each. I also had every known heterozygous for Albino Iguana in the world. It was quite the breeding operation with 37 iguanas in my parents’ basement.
I was successful in breeding the heterozygous offspring and sold them all over the world. I never actually hatched out an Albino Iguana but I developed a lot of useful husbandry data through the process. I worked with veterinarians at the National Zoo in DC and at UGA to understand the Iguanas and conduct research.
In 2006 I sold the breeding stock to a breeder in South Florida. A few years later he was able to successfully breed the iguanas and hatched out some Albinos. Today they sell for about $3,000 each. I also sold the business to another breeder in Tampa who was not as successful with his attempts.