Welcome to Herpin Time Radio One of the best Reptile and Amphibain Shows. WE cover all topics about Herps both in captivity and the wild. Check us out at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/herpin-time

JD Field Herping while on HTR 

Justin Holding a nice Female Eastern Painted Turtle 


Hobby Highlights - Justin Guyer of Guyer Genetics

December 11, 2013 at 12:48pm

1. What first made you interested in reptiles?

I was born a dinosaur freak and as a child I collected every single dinosaur toy and book that I could get my little hands on.Growing up in southern Illinois I was catching animals such as box turtles and frogs and toads for as long as I could remember. I was taught to avoid snakes and not handle them though. That changed when I was five years old and walking barefoot in my parent's yard. I stepped on an eastern garter snake and it bit me on top of my foot just as hard as a garter can bite. Which isn't very hard. As I watched the snake slither away I thought "That didn't hurt." and then it was ON! I was catching every single snake, lizard, or anything that I could catch and taking it inside to show someone with interesting results that you can probably imagine. At the same time in my youth, there was a vernal pool out in the middle of the field behind my parent's house that I was constantly playing in. It was full of larval salamanders, tadpoles, and crayfish. I was back there every chance I had.

My father was a farmer and my brother and I were often taken to the fields with him while he ran a disk or planter, or whatever. I would jump off of the tractor that he was running and go play in the nearby woods and creeks where I found a multitude of fascinating creatures to interact with and observe.

Dad was a big part of my reptile obsession, even though that was not his intention. I can recall getting off the school bus once and him showing me a mason jar with a baby garter snake in it that he had found. I helped him release the little snake after he showed it to my brother and I. I can recall another time in my parent's back yard when Dad pointed out a garter snake near our sewer that was eating a toad. I would not have seen that if he had not pointed it out to me.

I can remember once when my father took my brother and I to a reptile education presentation that a woman was putting on. She had a rather large boa constrictor and I remember her saying that it had come in on a shipment of fruit as a half frozen baby and that she had cared for it for many years. The boa had some scars on its tail where she said that a rat had bitten it earlier in its life. I remember touching that snake and realizing how amazing of a creature this was. I don't recall the woman's name, I couldn't even tell you if she is still alive seeing as how this presentation was 30+ years ago. I have no way to tell her thank you. So I will pay it forward with my own involvement in teaching people about reptiles and other animals.

2. How long have you kept reptiles and what all do you have? 

 I reckon that it was 2001 when I started keeping reptiles as pets seriously. My son was five years old and he told me that he wanted a pet lizard. I said ok and we went to a pet store and I bought the cheapest lizard that I could find which was a green iguana. It lived for about two months. I think that this was the turning point. I went back to that pet store and bought every single book that they had on green iguanas and read them all from cover to cover. When I was done with that, I read them again. When I felt ready I purchased another green iguana. She is now almost thirteen years old. After a while I decided to try something else as well, so I purchased a bearded dragon. After a while I decided that I wanted to try keeping a snake. I knew a man by the name of Harvey Ricker who ran a small corn snake breeding operation. I purchased a snow corn snake from him but while at his shop I saw all of the other color and pattern mutations. I couldn't get them out of my head. I would literally toss and turn at night thinking about all of the awesome variety of snakes that I had observed. It wasn't long before I bought another, and another, and another. Then I decided to breed them and hatched my first clutch of corn snakes in 2005. When I first saw a little snake nose push its way out of an egg, I was DONE. I was addicted!

But let me back up a little to give you the full story here. I purchased a computer and dial up internet access to aid in the paranormal research that I was heavily involved with at the time. I recall having a question about the reptiles I was keeping that I could not find the answer to. In my search, I discovered the world of internet reptile forums. Here were people who shared my passion! I found my HOME! I was amazed at the amount of information that was available! Here I was communicating with people who had been working with these animals for much longer than I had been. People who I felt knew more than I ever could possibly know! I dove in like a crack addict. I crammed the information like a college student preparing for finals. After a few years of that I found myself sitting at a campfire near snake road in southern Illinois with many of the people who I considered mentors, and they were all treating me like an equal. I remember sitting there drinking a beer and listening to the campfire talk and thinking to myself "This is where I belong".

Today I run a successful reptile breeding operation known as Guyer Genetics. I currently work with and breed over 32 species of reptiles. Mostly North American colubrid snakes, but also some tortoises and boids.

3. What was the first reptile you ever kept?

I was never allowed to keep any of the reptiles that I was catching in my youth except for a few eastern box turtles which later in life I learned was a big no-no.

I have to blame my father again for this. I can recall him buying three green anoles for my brother and I to keep. We had them for quite some time and I loved interacting with the little guys.

4. What is one reptile you would love to work with and why? 

Wow, you're putting me on the spot with this one. Talk about a tough question to answer!

These days I find the focus of my breeding operation shifting from working with the various genetic morphs to working with rare species that I feel really need to be worked with because there just aren't many of them left in this world and I don't want to see them disappear under my watch.

I would say Lousiana pine snakes, but I recently aquired some of those. Or maybe outer banks kingsnakes, but I know who has those and I am about to aquire some of those. Maybe eastern indigo snakes, or long nose snakes, or regal ringnecks? No wait, I know! I would really like to work with some of the species of North American legless lizards because I don't know anybody who is breeding those.

5. Why do you think some people fear reptiles and what can we do to change that? 

People fear what they don't understand and reptiles are very different from us and to many people, very alien.
Education is the answer to fear. Education dispels fear in all forms. People fear what they don't know or understand. So I think that through educational presentations, television, and social media we need to work hard to get the truth about these amazing animals that share this planet with us out there. 

6. What got you interested in starting herpin time radio?

Lol. You need to hit up Jd Hartzel on this one! Jd has been a very good friend of mine in the reptile world for a number of years. Almost a decade.

One day in May 2011 Jd and I were chatting with each other on Facebook. He told me that he wanted to start this reptile talk radio show but he didn't have a co-host. Without any more being said, I just said "I'll do it." and the rest as they say is history.

But Jd is really the one who started Herpin' Time Radio.

For years I listened to other reptile talk radio shows while I was doing my work with my animals. I NEVER thought that I would be doing such a show in my life. I helped cohost a couple of paranormal talk radio shows in the past, but I NEVER saw myself being involved with a show on this magnitude! I was the guest on a couple of reptile talk radio shows in the past, but I NEVER knew that one day I would be the guy running the studio.

The success of Herpin' Time Radio has been a huge surprise for me. The show has lasted longer and went further than I would have ever thought possible. I am amazed with some of the guests we have had on and with the feedback I get from our listeners. I have to say that HTR is the absolute best thing that ever happened in my life.

7. What is the most satisfying part of your work? 

I love it all! I love working with my animals. I love doing educational presentations. I love being involved in a herp society. I love doing the radio show. I love interacting with the public. But that feeling that comes over me when I see little heads poking out of eggs takes the cake. There is no feeling in the world like seeing a clutch of eggs hatching.

8. Where do you see yourself in this hobby in 5 years?

So much is happening so fast with me, it is really hard to say. But I'm going to keep on rocking and it will be an amazing ride!

Some Great finds while on the Air