Interview with Anna Patricia Kirby (@akmorphs)

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

What really drew me into owning and breeding ball pythons was Brian Barczyk and his youtube channel. Seeing the passion he had for all of his animals, but mostly his snakes fascinated me. I would watch his videos while I walked on the treadmill and every time he showed a ball python I kept finding myself saying “well that’s kinda cute”. His egg cutting videos are what sold me. It blew my mind to know that you could breed certain snake genetics together and create the world’s first combinations, and the excitement he had when cutting his eggs could pump anyone up. After watching for about a year, I was hooked. I decided one weekend after watching his latest ball python egg cutting video that I was going to get a ball python. I googled reptile show because I had seen billboards advertise them before around my area, and wouldn’t you know it – one of the largest reptile shows was happening the weekend I search. I got into the car, with my reluctant husband, drove to the show, and picked up my very first ball python! 

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

The most interesting thing to happen so far to me getting into this business is being recognized at reptile shows and conventions not only for my animals but for my custom reptile pieces as well. I’ve had Billy Rows, owner of Mutation Creation, reached out to me personally and create custom one of a kind piece for his facility that you can view personally on his YouTube and Instagram pages. I love having people come up to me at shows and tell me they’ve seen my art on Instagram and they love it, or they’ve seen my collaborations on YouTube videos and just had to come over and say hi. Meeting everyone and being able to connect over a hobby is amazing in itself.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

I recommend everyone new or old in the hobby to stick to projects and morphs that interest them. You don’t jump into this hobby to make a quick buck. That’s not how it works, and since most females take on average three years to be breedable you’re going to waste more money in hopes of making money. You need to stick to morphs that interest you. Stick to something you want to wake up to every day and find joy from it. If you don’t have anything in your collection you’re excited about growing out, then you will eventually question why you’re even in this hobby and eventually fade away. 

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

I am grateful for Billy Rows, owner of Mutation Creation for being so open and honest about breeding ball pythons. I am also thankful for Brandon Hernandez who is a long time ball python breeder and current military personnel who has been able to help me out with even the simplest of problems. 

I met Brandon, or technically, Brandon yelled my name at my first reptile show and came over and introduced himself as his Instagram handle. He was the first person to recognize who I was at a show and talk to me face to face. He’s helped me choose with breeding projects I wanted to get into, long term goals and plans, and he’s helped me out with technical equipment for all of my snakes.

After meeting him at the show I’ve even driven 2.5 hours up to Oklahoma to visit him in person and view his collection. He also breeds her own rats, and thanks to him, I’m also starting to breed my own rat colony to help feed my growing ball python collection. He is just full of knowledge, and since he’s active in the military he’s traveled around the world with his collection – no exaggeration. So he’s experienced quite a few mishaps here and there and believes that sharing knowledge is priceless. He’s learned from his mistakes and hopes to save others from making the same mistakes as well. 

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

I have been blessed to be able to bring goodness to the world thanks to the success in my custom snake art pieces. I have been able to raffle off several gift cards to help people in need, and have donated my art and time to others who have had an extreme hardship due to the current world pandemic.

I am currently auctioning off two custom art pieces at the online Charity Auction for JT Tomlinson. He and his family lost their home and their entire reptile collection (over 200 animals) on June 12th due to a house fire. JT Tomlinson is the founder and owner of ReptiChip Premium Coconut Reptile Substrate, which is one of the best substrates you can use on ball pythons and other reptiles. 

As a community, we’ve come together to help raise funds to restore some livelihood to the Tomlinson family. So far we’ve currently raised $22,540 and the pot continues to grow.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

A life lesson quote I live by was said by Ken Poirot and he said “I gave up many times but I never quit.” I believe this quote can be inspirational to everyone at least once at some point in their life. 

There have been many things I’ve tried; sports, hobbies, education, career opportunities. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified when I went out and tried something new. The point that I went out and tried is what matters. I might not have been very good at it, and there were quite a few things I tried that I probably shouldn’t have (knitting being one of them), but I now have the experience and knowledge to know personally that I wasn’t good at something, or that I’m okay-ish at another skill. 

Giving up means you at least tried; Quitting means you never gave it a chance. 

I’ve come to grow and learn that giving up is okay, and sometimes for the best. However, you should never quit at something just because it’s difficult or it’s not going the way you want. You need to fight through it, and even at the end of whatever you’re doing doesn’t work you can at least say you gave it your best shot. 

It’s better to try than not try at all, and that’s what I’m doing with my art and my growing snake collection. I want to be able to say I tried, and know I did my best, then regretting never giving it a shot, to begin with. 

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

You can follow me easily on these three platforms: 

www.instagram.com/akmorphs 

www.facebook.com/akmorphs 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_rdZkAhfsWSvBL2CesHquQ

 Snapchat: AKMorphs 

Twitter: AKMorphs

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