Niche Biz: Exotic Pets

For the last five years, Zhan Guobing has kept a ball python. He first bought it in 2006 in Guanyuan, a market in Xicheng district that features all sorts of pets, both commonplace and exotic.

“I have a small child at home, so I couldn’t get a very fierce snake. I decided on a snake with a relatively docile temperament,” he said.

The ball python, the smallest of the African pythons, is popular among the pet-owners market, Zhan said. The name “ball python” refers to its tendency to curl up into a ball when alone due to its timid nature.

Zhan had friends that kept snakes, even as large as the boa constrictor, which could sell for over 10,000 yuan ($1,569). He said he and his friends often gather to show off their latest acquisitions.

In recent years, keeping exotic pets has become increasingly popular in Beijing.

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