For sale: white squirrels, talking crows. Not cheap.
Wed, 05 Jun 2013 21:34:20 GMT —
Would you pay $1,000 for a squirrel? How about twice that much for a crow?
It's rare to find talking crows or white squirrels being bred in captivity, but Russ Cavender of Longs is doing it and making a good profit at it.
Cavender is best known as The Snake Chaser, the guy who removes creepy things from people's backyards around the Grand Strand, but he's also an animal breeder.
"I've never heard of anybody successfully breeding squirrels in captivity, especially these white ones, and I think I'm the only one. Pretty sure, I've never heard of anybody else," Cavender said.
It started seven years ago, when a friend gave a white male squirrel to Cavender and he decided to breed it with a grey female.
Since the white color is what's known as a codominant gene, Cavender says there was a 50-50 chance the babies would turn out white.
He got lucky.
"I think I successfully bred 9 or 10 over the last six years."
Before you get out your checkbook to buy a white squirrel, consider that Cavender has a standing offer of $950 on the next offspring.
The last one sold for $1,200, shipping included, and the price keeps going up.
"People want stuff that no one else has," Cavender explained. "This is unique."
Cavender's current breeding male is a beautiful creature that looks cuddly and harmless, but there's a reason Cavender keeps the animal in a cage and will not try to pick it up with his hands.
Squirrels bite, as Cavender has discovered to his dismay.
"And it's not fun. It hurts. It really, really, really hurts," he said.
Cavender also breeds pied crows, a bird native to Africa that Cavender says can learn a vocabulary of up to 100 words.
The price for one of those?
"They're going for anywhere from $2,000 to $2,500."
Cavender's backyard is a virtual zoo, including African tortoises and a blind deer. He says he loves being the Snake Chaser, but if he had a choice, he'd raise animals for a living.
At $2,000 a crow, who can blame him?