Bad Guy Craig Martin - proceed with caution

KBenker

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Through a friend, I’ve become interested in retics, so decided to purchase a super dwarf as my first retic (as a single mom, I didn’t want a huge snake, that would require 2 people for safe handling in the future). In March, I contacted Craig Martin about a yearling female superd warf retic, he was advertising on fauna classifieds. Didn't find any info on Craig in the BOI, as I always check that now. After conversing via text, I agreed to purchase the female and sent the funds via PayPal. He did want me to send via friends & family, but I wanted the purchaser protection so sent the funds, plus the fee (I know, probably should have walked away at that point, but I had contacted another breeder via e-mail and never got a reply). It was too cold at my end to ship right away and while waiting for a warmer day, we continued communication via text message. He sent me pics of some babies he had available and in the end, I ended up purchasing a total of 4 super dwarf retics: the yearling anery, het purple female along with her sire, a 3 year old adult purple albino, het anery, and 1.1 super dwarf platinum anery tigers. Unfortunately, I can’t retrieve the text messages any further back than 3/23, even though I didn’t delete any portions - if anyone can help me figure out how to get those back, that would be great! I made a sizeable down payment and Craig went ahead and sent 2 snakes when we got a break in the weather. The 2 females arrived in excellent condition, he stated the anery, het purple female was about a year and a half, making her a 2014. Both settled in well and I couldn’t be happier with their personalities - I’ve taken the 2014 female on public education outings numerous times since. Upon final payment, I received the 2 males. Now here is where things started going bad. The 2016 male was perfectly fine and is just as easy going as the females. Now to the 2013 adult male. I had been told he was about 6 ft and puppy-dog tame and when I had asked Craig what he had been feeding him, his reply was eats anything anytime - not what I was asking. First thing I saw when opening the bag was shed on his back. I got him fully out of the bag, expecting him to be in shed, but once he was out I realized is was older shed. Now he was pretty flighty and never held still, so I didn’t ever get a good look at his face. I placed him in a sterilite tub with some warm water and closed the lid. When I got him back out, I was able to get the shed off him, then managed to get him into a clean tub to let him settle in(I had ordered a 4 ft animal plastics tank, which was delayed). . Next morning, I open the tub to check the water, since the snake was pretty flighty going in. That’s when I notice the messed up mouth. Of course at this point I wasn’t sure if he came that way or if he did that in the tub overnight. I didn’t contact Craig at this point, as I was put off on his reply about feeding and decided to just deal with it. Couple of days later, when I checked on him again, he had managed to get sani-chips stuck all along his gum line and rubbed a sore spot on his nose. I called a friend, who keeps burmese and retics, to come help me. First off, I get tagged trying to inspect his mouth closer. My friend then grabs him, so I can clean out the mouth. Poor snake totally freaks out and urinates and defecates all over the place. Since my friend thought she saw bubbles, I go ahead and make a vet appointment. Things didn’t go too bad at the vet, but antibiotics are prescribed. He’s since been moved to a 90 qt tub on paper towel, still seems to be rubbing a bit. My daughter and I managed to get the antibiotic injections done and the big tank finally arrives. Once he moves in there, it becomes pretty obvious that he’s more like 8 ft, definitely not a 6 ft snake. He goes into shed at that point, has been eating weekly without hesitation. Once out of shed, I resume feeding and finally, there’s poop for the first time in the 4 ft tank. Pretty close to the center, near the front of the tank - just behind the support bar on the ap tanks. Finally in the afternoon, he’s in his hide after he had been lying near it for most of the day. I get my snake hook and move the garbage can closer to clean up. As soon as I slide the door open, he pops his head out of the hide and starts towards me slowly. I grab the hook to nudge him away from me, as he attacks the hook and wraps around it like he’s going to destroy it, while throwing his lower body out the wide open sliding glass door. I end up pushing the snake hook towards the far corner from me, while using my other hand to “stuff” him back in and finally get the door closed. Now I can deal with flighty and don’t have to handle every one of my snakes, but don’t want to keep one that I can’t even clean up after. I placed an ad on fauna and facebook to sell the male. Craig contacts me, wondering why I’m selling him. He does offer to take him back and give me a motley baby instead. I had been hoping for something along the same genetics to go with the anery, het purple female. When I contact him about the motley, Craig says it’s not doing to well and offers a het lavender male and tells me that lavender is compatible with purple, also that he’ll be getting the pied in a couple of days. However, he’s not willing to give that as “trade” for the purple albino male. Once I get the male back to him, I ask for a refund rather than wait for another baby. He adamantly refuses and threatens to send the purple albino male back to me, so I agree to just wait for another baby. Now I just realize he stated “getting the pied in”, so I ask more about the purple albino male. Turns out, it wasn’t his personal snake to begin with, he had gotten a group and that male didn’t fit into his projects. At this point, I was still willing to give him the benefit of doubt and assume he had been lied to when purchasing that albino male. But then I see him post ads of that male on fauna and facebook. At least he’s listing him as being flighty, but he states 4 ½ ft length in one, 5 ft length in the other. Not to mention it’s now a 2014! He’s grossly misrepresenting that snake and now I don’t know what to believe anymore. If my 2014 really is his daughter, are mine really super dwarf at all and can I trust him to send me a replacement, that will be a super dwarf. Granted, he did take that male back, but being new to retics, I would never have purchased him in the first place, if Craig had been honest about his temperament. I certainly paid super dwarf prices and was explicit in not wanting anything that would go over 10 ft - we have some county regulations we’re currently fighting, but that may end up the length limit, before requiring a permit with ridiculous stipulations. This is not about the money, though it is a tough loss. Lesson learned - I will NEVER purchase another adult snake online!
Attached are 2 pictures I took of the snake and the 2 ads Craig has posted to sell the snake. Some of the text messages in the next posts.
 

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Did you ask what percentage SD these snakes are and/or the pairings that produced them? For you that will be very important if your county is instituting a 10' regulation; I wouldn't touch anything under 75% SD unless you plan to move soon. My two year old 100% het purple 50% SD females are almost that long. They are just starting to get thicker versus longer so I would not be surprised if both top 10 feet next year.

Yes SD males are often flighty jerks. I have a pure adult, he's eight feet, territorial, and I wouldn't ever fool with his enclosure with him in it. He comes out and is either held by me or my husband, taken outside for some exercise in the yard if the weather is good, or he goes into a temporary tub if his enclosure needs attention and only one of us is available. Of all my snakes he's the most likely to defecate while being handled, even without obvious "sausage butt". He is also the most obnoxiously foody snake I've got, none of my other retics come close. The others, along with the boas, will get into the "hopeful/hunting/begging" stance, but he'll go nuts striking the cage door and even the RHP if he thinks he's getting fed.

Also bear in mind that like teenage boys, chill baby retic males can turn into obnoxious doo-doo heads when they start getting interested in girls.

Not all males push. I have two that don't - the pure SD and a purple mainland - and a platinum tiger that does if he doesn't get out for a slither every few days. It's an individual/husbandry thing. When you get a pusher you tweak their environment until they're happy.

Also just to clarify what you purchased (I added what I think are their birth years):
I ended up purchasing a total of 4 super dwarf retics:
- the yearling anery, het purple female (2014? A yearling should be 2015.)
- along with her sire, a 3 year old adult purple albino, het anery (2013?)
- 1.1 super dwarf platinum anery tigers (Both 2016?)

Now to the 2013 adult male. I had been told he was about 6 ft and puppy-dog tame and when I had asked Craig what he had been feeding him, his reply was eats anything anytime - not what I was asking.
Did you ask him to clarify his response?

First thing I saw when opening the bag was shed on his back. I got him fully out of the bag, expecting him to be in shed, but once he was out I realized is was older shed.
Retics are "enthusiastic" about shedding. As they grow up, shed often comes off in pieces, rather than in one long piece like you would find with a boa or smaller python, even if kept at humidity levels that a BRB would find comfortable. If his eye caps and tail tip were clear and he didn't have a ring of shed anywhere, I would have left it alone.

Now he was pretty flighty and never held still, so I didn’t ever get a good look at his face.
Most snakes are going to be stressed or PO'ed coming out of a shipping box. You still need to inspect them thoroughly.

I placed him in a sterilite tub with some warm water and closed the lid. When I got him back out, I was able to get the shed off him,
This was totally unnecessary and probably just stressed him out more.

then managed to get him into a clean tub to let him settle in(I had ordered a 4 ft animal plastics tank, which was delayed).
Did you ask Craig to hold him until either the AP enclosure arrived or you could set up a better temporary enclosure?

Next morning, I open the tub to check the water, since the snake was pretty flighty going in. That’s when I notice the messed up mouth. Of course at this point I wasn’t sure if he came that way or if he did that in the tub overnight. I didn’t contact Craig at this point, as I was put off on his reply about feeding and decided to just deal with it. Couple of days later, when I checked on him again, he had managed to get sani-chips stuck all along his gum line and rubbed a sore spot on his nose.
As an FYI for the future, all new snakes should go on paper, preferrably pre-treated with mite spray. I assume new critters come with free mites and an RI, and set up the enclosure accordingly the day before the snake arrives.

I called a friend, who keeps burmese and retics, to come help me. First off, I get tagged trying to inspect his mouth closer. My friend then grabs him, so I can clean out the mouth. Poor snake totally freaks out and urinates and defecates all over the place.
Even the most chill retic can throw a fit if you restrain him and mess with his mouth. Mine nailed a vet tech from neck to knee with musk, feces, and urine because she got to hold the back end while the vet was inspecting an abcessed tooth.

Since my friend thought she saw bubbles, I go ahead and make a vet appointment. Things didn’t go too bad at the vet, but antibiotics are prescribed. He’s since been moved to a 90 qt tub on paper towel, still seems to be rubbing a bit. My daughter and I managed to get the antibiotic injections done and the big tank finally arrives.

Once he moves in there, it becomes pretty obvious that he’s more like 8 ft, definitely not a 6 ft snake. He goes into shed at that point, has been eating weekly without hesitation. Once out of shed, I resume feeding and finally, there’s poop for the first time in the 4 ft tank. Pretty close to the center, near the front of the tank - just behind the support bar on the ap tanks. Finally in the afternoon, he’s in his hide after he had been lying near it for most of the day. I get my snake hook and move the garbage can closer to clean up. As soon as I slide the door open, he pops his head out of the hide and starts towards me slowly. I grab the hook to nudge him away from me, as he attacks the hook and wraps around it like he’s going to destroy it, while throwing his lower body out the wide open sliding glass door. I end up pushing the snake hook towards the far corner from me, while using my other hand to “stuff” him back in and finally get the door closed.
This is a food response. Tap/hook training helps, and rubbing a drop of lemon-scent hand sanitizer on the hook really helps to get them to back off; snakes don't like that smell at all.

Now I can deal with flighty and don’t have to handle every one of my snakes, but don’t want to keep one that I can’t even clean up after.

I placed an ad on fauna and facebook to sell the male. Craig contacts me, wondering why I’m selling him. He does offer to take him back and give me a motley baby instead. I had been hoping for something along the same genetics to go with the anery, het purple female. When I contact him about the motley, Craig says it’s not doing to well and offers a het lavender male and tells me that lavender is compatible with purple, also that he’ll be getting the pied in a couple of days. However, he’s not willing to give that as “trade” for the purple albino male.
A pied is a much more expensive morph so I can see why Craig wouldn't make that trade. It's also a morph that is well known for being difficult to handle. Both pied and lavender are mainland morphs that will grow to well over 10'. Neither of these would be appropriate in your situation.

Once I get the male back to him, I ask for a refund rather than wait for another baby. He adamantly refuses and threatens to send the purple albino male back to me, so I agree to just wait for another baby.
You returned the male not because he was mis-sexed, the wrong morph, or initially presented as sick, but because you can't handle his temperment. With most vendors that only entitles you to store credit on a different animal, and then only if they are willing to take it back. Many will not.

Now I just realize he stated “getting the pied in”, so I ask more about the purple albino male. Turns out, it wasn’t his personal snake to begin with, he had gotten a group and that male didn’t fit into his projects.
Better-known breeders often buy and resell "wholesale" lots, as not every private breeder wants to deal with sellers. Always ask if the seller produced the snake, and if not, how long has he had it and who did produce it.

At this point, I was still willing to give him the benefit of doubt and assume he had been lied to when purchasing that albino male. But then I see him post ads of that male on fauna and facebook. At least he’s listing him as being flighty, but he states 4 ½ ft length in one, 5 ft length in the other. Not to mention it’s now a 2014! He’s grossly misrepresenting that snake and now I don’t know what to believe anymore. If my 2014 really is his daughter, are mine really super dwarf at all and can I trust him to send me a replacement, that will be a super dwarf.
Those are valid concerns and I would want answers to those questions.

Granted, he did take that male back, but being new to retics, I would never have purchased him in the first place, if Craig had been honest about his temperament.
He may be perfectly fine with Craig, who being more experienced, would know how to break a food response, or how to read and handle the snake so it acts calmly.

I certainly paid super dwarf prices and was explicit in not wanting anything that would go over 10 ft - we have some county regulations we’re currently fighting, but that may end up the length limit, before requiring a permit with ridiculous stipulations. This is not about the money, though it is a tough loss. Lesson learned - I will NEVER purchase another adult snake online!
The only way you will be certain of having a retic that stays under the 10' limit will be to purchase very high percentage or pure SD's.
 
Also bear in mind that like teenage boys, chill baby retic males can turn into obnoxious doo-doo heads when they start getting interested in girls.

This is wonderful.

Regardless, the biggest problem I see with this situation is that the snake's size changed on every add. Totally not jumping on Craig's back, the fact that he was willing to work a bit when the snake turned out nasty is great. But there is something to be desired with this whole situation.
 
Regardless, the biggest problem I see with this situation is that the snake's size changed on every add. Totally not jumping on Craig's back, the fact that he was willing to work a bit when the snake turned out nasty is great. But there is something to be desired with this whole situation.

I agree. That is an issue which could, potentially, be a problem. Not only the size discrepancies but also the change, from a 2013 animal, to a 2014.
It is either a "problem" or something that really needs to be clarified, with something very reasonable, as "innocent".

The other issue is the retic's snout. Regardless as to whether, or not, this is a known problem, amongst retic aficionados, it should have been disclosed prior to sale.
I am sorry but the seller stating (after sale/shipping) that there were pics (leaving sole onus, upon the buyer, to having caught/seen the problem prior to purchase) just does not "cut it".

....
 
The other issue is the retic's snout. Regardless as to whether, or not, this is a known problem, amongst retic aficionados, it should have been disclosed prior to sale.
I am sorry but the seller stating (after sale/shipping) that there were pics (leaving sole onus, upon the buyer, to having caught/seen the problem prior to purchase) just does not "cut it".

Want to add that, while I still feel there should have been disclosure, I could be somewhat more understanding, of the non-disclosure (via written/oral form), if there had been a full frontal head shot where the snout issue could, very clearly, be seen.

....
 
I'm not sure how that can be viewed as a minor cosmetic thing and brushed off as something that all retics have, that's pretty major IMO. I wouldn't buy a snake with a face pushed back like that, and I sure as heck wouldn't sell one like that and not even mention it. I understand that it happens but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tell the buyer.

To the OP: retics are very cool snakes and my favorite species that I've worked with so far, but they have a very aggressive feeding response and will literally try to eat anything. If you're not used to handling large snakes I would highly recommend starting with hatchlings or yearlings and raising them so that you can learn their behavior before they're quite so large.
 
Had the snake been returned and the snout issue didn't exist I would agree that a refund isn't warranted and trade/credit would be reasonable but the snout was not disclosed therefore in this case I believe a refund is fair.
 
The Retic

The retic's face almost looks like a middle school kid that's like super dorky smiling huge for the camera :D
 
I'm not sure how that can be viewed as a minor cosmetic thing and brushed off as something that all retics have, that's pretty major IMO. I wouldn't buy a snake with a face pushed back like that, and I sure as heck wouldn't sell one like that and not even mention it. I understand that it happens but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tell the buyer.

To the OP: retics are very cool snakes and my favorite species that I've worked with so far, but they have a very aggressive feeding response and will literally try to eat anything. If you're not used to handling large snakes I would highly recommend starting with hatchlings or yearlings and raising them so that you can learn their behavior before they're quite so large.

I just wanted to add in defense of the seller - the face smashing is normal, regardless of what some people may say it happens a lot and is MOST of the time correctable. You can feed them a big meal, and it will sit and not push. Also, the pushing shown here should correct itself after a couple big meals, and any bent scales should look normal again.

I'm not commenting on the attitude of the entire thing. This is just a clarity post for the face pushing issue. It should not effect the snake in any way unless he never stops pushing and ends up forming a rip / leading to an infection which can happen. . .
 
Had the snake been returned and the snout issue didn't exist I would agree that a refund isn't warranted and trade/credit would be reasonable but the snout was not disclosed therefore in this case I believe a refund is fair.

the extent of that snout damage could VERY easily have happened while it was stuck in a 41qt tub or while it was in the bag pushing during transit.
 
the extent of that snout damage could VERY easily have happened while it was stuck in a 41qt tub or while it was in the bag pushing during transit.
I've never seen that happen in such a short period of time. I don't have a ton of experience with retics but I did rescue one who had a massive hole in his gums from pushing and using a screen top like a cheese grater on his face. It eventually healed up and only looked a little dorky but that was something that had occurred over a long period of time, not 48 hours.

Sent from my N9132 using Tapatalk
 
I have seen retics with "dorky" faces, they seem to have very flexible facial scales. It may have occurred in transit. Regardless, I still want to know why the snake's demenor, size, and age keep changing on every ad
 
I'd like to hear from the seller as well. Has anyone notified him this thread exists and people are awaiting his response?
 
I sent him a PM now in case he wasn't aware.

Been watching his ads, he came out of nowhere with a ton of retics (and some others) for sale which was curious to me.

Looks like on 7/10 Craig also listed this snake up sans photo and mentions the face pushing although it doesn't appear to be mentioned in the other ads the OP posted.
 

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I think the very first thing to ask (as I did on FB) is whether this person, who, as April said, came out of nowhere, even has the proper USARK affiliation to ship retics out of state in the first place. The OP has indicated elsewhere that she does have the membership, as she also shipped the snake.
Either way, one person has both the animal and the money.

Noelle
 
the extent of that snout damage could VERY easily have happened while it was stuck in a 41qt tub or while it was in the bag pushing during transit.
Exactly. OP also stated that she didn't inspect the snake's mouth closely right after she removed him from the shipping box.

She also has every right to be worried about the genetics since this male's age and size has changed from the ad where she purchased him to his ad now, especially since she owns that male's offspring and she wanted a retic that would mature under the 10' limit imposed by her county.
 
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