The Community Spotlight interview is giving a spotlight to every level of breeder or hobbyist in the reptile industry a chance to introduce themselves, tell us a little bit about them, their interests, and learn more about them as a member of the community. My responses to some of the answers given will be noted in italics. Please be mindful that the italics writing is me, and not the interviewee.
Please welcome our second ever community spotlight, Oodles A' Noodles!
Name: Brandon Hernandez
Business Name: Oodles A' Noodles
Location: New Market, TN Social Media: LinkTree
Brandonnnnn, welcome to the blog!
This is so surreal to have you interviewed on the blog. I remember you were the first person to go "ANNNAAAA" at Arlington and scare the crap outta' me. Then you turned out to be one of my best friends in the industry, and I couldn't be happier!
Q: Now what year did you start your reptile journey?
A: I have kept for my whole life, but I made the choice to breed ball pythons in 2013 and produced my first clutch in 2014.
Q: Was there anyone that inspired you to get into reptiles or were you a kid who just loved all animals?
A: No. I just love animals.
Q: What was your first reptile purchase?
A: A normal female ball python
I wouldn't have guessed it would've been just a normal ball python!
Q: Where would you say you are at in your reptile journey? Are you a hobbyist, a breeder?
A: I breed ball pythons and ASFs as a full time job. I feel like I’m still in the beginning. I'm very happy with my ball pythons, but I’d really like to get pretty hard into some other species so that diversity while exiting, is going to be another step toward in a journey that I hope never ends.
Q: Depending on where you’re at now; where would you like to be in 3 – 5 years? A: I would like to be at the point where I have consistent employees with the animals so I can give more focus to other areas in the industry.
Q: What’s your cheapest and highest valued animal?
A: My cheapest is a male specter harlequin and the most expensive I think would be a female clown pied maybe? That’s a tough one.
She is a STUNNING example of a Clown Pied. I'm so happy you were able to snag her from Kathi and Val over at White Feather Balls!
Q: What type of projects are you working on?
A: DG Monarch, Clown Pied, Monarch, VPI Axanthic Puzzle, DG Pied, DG Clown and Monarch Clown.
Q: Do you have a project that just hypes you up?
A: I’m not there yet but monarch puzzle is the project that would excite me to work the most.
A Monarch Puzzle?? That just sounds like a fire project already 🤤
Q: What’s a project that you want to get into or plan to get into at some point?
A: Honestly after it’s like bred a while and there are some really good again examples I think sunset would be a sweet project to work in clown pied.
Q: If you could purchase one reptile to join your collection, and money wasn’t an issue, what would you purchase?
A: Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman
That would be something you'd want ha-ha-ha
Q: Do you have a mentor or a group of like-minded people who you talk to for advice?
A: I have a few ppl I can turn to if I ever need an opinion. Keep the circle small.
Q: Would you ever want to mentor someone new starting off in the industry?
A: No. I have a few times. I am pretty up front about helping people with the basics. I don’t mind helping people but I do this as a profession so if their goals don’t align with doing this as a full time job I’m not the person for them. Also, I have my own collection to take care of so as I will help anyone who needs it a full on mentorship isn’t something I’m interested in.
Q: Do you breed your own rodents? If so, what do you breed and how did you get into that? A: African Soft Furred rodents. I think I learned about them volunteering at a vet clinic. My snakes love them and they have shown great results so it’s all I feed now.
I've personally nicknamed you the ASF Godfather. Everything I know about ASFs came from you, and even my original colonies came from you. I remember being so scared about selling the ASFs my first time at Arlington (which was a disaster in itself) that you called me up and quizzed me on my knowledge for ASFs bahaha.
Q: If you do breed – any advice to those thinking of breeding their own rodents?
A: Don’t mess around. Start ASAP! Being able to do 2 things and that’s 1. Be self sufficient in feeding your collection as well as selling some rats on the side so they pay for them selves and all you are putting in is time and 2. Being able to grow your animals the way you want to are so valuable.
Q: If you do breed – any advice to those thinking of breeding their own rodents, and any recommendation on products to use and/or where to purchase products?
A: I keep my ASFs on hemp bedding. I use the reptile basics water system. Wooden racks with ARS tubs.
Q: What do you think the most difficult thing is about getting into/joining the reptile industry?
A: There are so many skills that you need to have or learn through experience. Some things like popping a ball pythons you can see in videos and pictures but you actually have to do it to learn to do it.
*flash back to the multiple sessions of you showing Robert how to pop snakes*
Q: What is something you’d like to see change within the community?
A: The acceptance of the inevitable changes to come.
Q: What’s some advice you’d give to someone just starting off?
A: Save your money and invest right the first time around. That goes for your infrastructure as well as your animals.
Q: Do you have a favorite hobbyist/breeder?
A: Big fan girl of John Dague (JD Constriction)
*fans face* Who isn't a fan of John??
18. Have you ever been to a reptile show? If so, care to tell us which one and some information on anyone interested in attending their first show?
A: Yes. All NARBCs, coldblood, HERPS, many more. They are always a fun time. Be ready to spend money or leave your card at home.
Q: Is there anyone you look up to in the industry?
Q: If you could meet one person from the industry and tour their facility, who would it be?
A: Brian Gundy. He is who I want to be when I grow up.
Q: Do you think we’ve discovered all the morphs for ball pythons?
A: No. There are just so many new ones being proven every year. I’ve only ever seen it ramp up or level out but never decline.
Q: If you could name your own dinker project, what would you name it and why?
A: I have a thing I’m dinking around with. I’d try to name a mutation off of what it does or what it looks like. So it depends on the gene.
Q: Do you believe the ball python community is more prone to drama more than any other reptile, why or why not?
A: Nah. I have friends in other snake communities and they say it’s the same just on a smaller scale. The ball python community is so big.
Q: Are you a member of the MorphMarket community forums?
A: Yes. Invaluable information.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Q: How did you come up with your reptile handle name?
A: Eating ramen on a couch.
Q: Are you a member of USARK?
A: Yes!!! I couldn’t do what I do with out them
29. What’s been your favorite memory in the reptile industry as of today?
A: So, I hatched this cool DG Crypton combo this one time and MorphMarket posted it on their Instagram the next day. To me I thought it was so awesome that I hatched something cool enough to be recognized out of all the ball pythons on MorphMarket. I guess I felt like It sort of validated what I was doing.
Q: What’s a fun fact we should know about you?
A: I LOVE Pokémon and anime.
To those who thinks he's kidding - he's not. He really does LOVE Pokémon and Anime.
Q: Is there anyone you’d like to give a shoutout to?
A: Robert Kirby for always being such a great dude and supportive husband.
Q: Tell us your best joke.
A: Hey you know what’s dead? The ball python industry.
Brandon thank you so much for answering all of our burning questions, and letting everyone get a glimpse of the man behind Oodles A' Noodles! Robert and I can't wait to see you at the next show, and as always, we look forward to seeing what cool shit you hatch out in the upcoming 2023 season!
Until next time,