Florian, based in Cherbourg, is one of the few reptile breeders in France.

Florian breeds reptiles in Cherbourg (Manche).
Florian breeds reptiles in Cherbourg (Manche). (© La Presse de la Manche)

IT HAS 9 yearshis parents offered him their first reptiles. Shoulder straps, variety small lizard. At 14, he took care of his first snakes. Fourteen years later, Florian Solaini works daily among snakes and other geckos.

Installed in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (Pen), in a room of about 120 m2, this 27-year-old reptile breeder created his company FG reptiles.

He took the plunge in 2019, after working in the middle insurance and on sale. Today, a young man breeds and raises animals, and also sells young animals.

Since childhood, I have always been drawn to strange, special animals and plants. I’ve always wanted to make this my job.

“Work for pleasure”

Before committing himself entirely to reptiles, professional path, Florian traded animals for a long time as an amateur. “It was still a hobby. But my activity as a person became limited. I wanted to fully experience it and immerse myself in it. This is work for pleasure says the man who has always loved independence.

However, his profession remains ultra-decorated. Only About ten reptile breeders are also counted in France.

From a regulatory point of view, this work is very difficult. We are very far from total anarchy. 99% of people do something very well. The reptile breeder does not improvise. You must be very passionate.

“They put themselves in danger”

Florian doesn’t like people illegally keeping snakes, as happened recently in the Center Channel. First, because they create a bad image of his profession.

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They endanger themselves and others. This is completely stupid behavior. There are many techniques to learn.

Already in 2013, Florian completed a ten-day training course to learn, for example, security gestures for himself and the animal in case the snake escapes.

Before I opened my business, I received a certificate of competence, which confirms that I am sufficiently well versed in the types that I own.

Controlled objects

This document is issued for a list of specific species. “If I want to add more, I have to justify it. For each species, I also have the right to keep a specific number. »

No, reptiles are (often) not dangerous!

Florian’s desire is to demystify everything related to reptiles. “I am very open to discussions, to simplify things. »

According to him, people are often afraid of snakes “for no reason.” “These are charming and harmless animals. Often they are harmless. They are not insidious animals, as one might think, but only very fearful of Man. »

If he never had that opportunity, the breeder would see himself as a participant in a conservation program that would be put in place. “I’ll definitely come! Many reptiles are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This Washington Convention, signed on July 1, 1975, governs the border crossings of some 35,000 animal and plant species. Its goal is to ensure that the trade in these animals and plants “does not harm the conservation of biodiversity and is based on the sustainable use of wild species.” In this regard, many permits are checked at the borders.

Other duty to create a business: get approved Prefecturewhich confirms the adequacy of the conditions.

Animals live in suitable and sufficiently large terrariums, at the right temperature and, in particular, with water.

The snakes are fed once a week with one frozen mouse or rat. Terrariums are cleaned twice a week. ” This is sacred organization ! »

Color, price option

Average, from 1500 to 4000 animals housed in the premises of FG reptiles, which three employees except Florian.

There are only a dozen species, mostly lizards and snakes, but also stick insects and praying mantises, but many different specimens. The interest lies in offering different colors, this is what plays more on the price than the look itself. The rarer the color, the higher the price.

For the snake royal pythons and corn snakes being the most bought, count from 25 to 10,000 euros. As for leopard geckos, which are especially valued as shoulder straps, they cost from 30 to 400 euros. “Installation of the terrarium and equipment costs about 250/300 euros. The maintenance of the animal, as well as food, costs about fifty euros a year,” the breeder warns.

A lot of buyers

If reptile breeders can be counted on the fingers of one hand, then there are many more individuals who own them. Thus, it concerns 7% of the population of France.

This is a very viable business. I sell animals all over Europe and even in China, both to individuals and to other breeders. Only in France do I also contact pet stores.

The interest is such that Florian and his team produce fewer animals than they sell. And yet, they give birth on average 3000 puppies every year ! In the premises of the company, animals live in conditions almost identical to natural ones. “I spend my life learning, especially in the field of animal welfare. Technology develop very quickly, which allows you to get as close as possible to natural conditions. »

happy animals

These include heating equipment and other lamps with UV radiation similar to that of the sun. “It’s very expensive, but it’s very important that the animals are happy. This is the rule of common sense. »

Equipment allows Florian to follow the rhythm of the seasons to their snakes and lizards. “We put them in a cool room for two months to simulate winter and hibernation. With the advent of spring, during the period of their production, the temperature is gradually increased. Thus, the reptiles are in the best conditions for natural reproduction. The laid eggs are then placed in an incubator.

many memories

The moments when eggs break are associated with many memories, both good and bad. “There are setbacks and disappointments, such as when animals are lost for unexplained reasons or eggs do not bear fruit. Conversely, we can have very good surprises! »

In particular, Florian remembers the day when in 2021 his first shoulder straps were born. Nothing out of the ordinary on paper. “But this is my heart, it was a great time when the babies were born!” “A story that doesn’t break!

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