My name is Jay Mitchell. I have been in love with wildlife for as long as I can remember. I have always had a broad range of interests, but it wasn’t until I was 20 that my partner brought me my first snake. He is a corn snake named “Chino”. He was a as small as a large worm when I first got him. I would weave him in and out of my fingers while I watched TV after work every day. He was so placid and interested in everything around him. It was a pleasure to watch him grow.
After a year of owning Chino, I wanted to increase my reptile collection. After much research I discovered a fantastic looking snake - the Ball (Royal) Python! - after investigating species more I discovered the designer morph. I was well and truly hooked! All I wanted to do was to discover more about this wonderful snake. I brought every ball python book I could get my hands on, even if they repeated themselves, there was always a different way of explaining about keeping this snake or breeding. I was so keen to learn more. So, I purchased my first male, pastel, ball python atchling from a fellow member on a reptile forum. He was so yellow and fat; such a cool looking and even tempered snake. (I wanted more!!!!!) Many more!!
As I researched into breeding I discovered the genetic side of the hobby. However, this was shrouded in mystery and younger enthusiasts were confused as to what snake would be produced when breeding different morphs together. So, I decided to write a visual article about the simple genetics of ball pythons. I sent this article to David Alderton at Practical Reptile Keeping magazine and it got published. It was an amazing time for me! - as I was getting my name into this mega industry that I wanted so badly to be a part of. Like most hobbyists you want to be the next Darren Biggs, or Kevin McCurley. I thought it was the first step and I had to take the next step to keep the dream going.
So what was the next step for JVK Reptiles and Racks? - I started to invest in the racking. I designed our tubs and decided to get them to a vacuum forming company that would help me in my quest to manufacture the tubs. The tubs that I had always wanted here in the UK. We did it after much investment into tools and tones of ABS plastic. We have a product all of its own. I believe these tubs make a big different to the snakes and especially ball pythons. As soon as I put all my snakes in to these tubs they would EAT like mad and just became more comfortable in their surroundings. I can only describe this in the way that when you get to know your snake you can tell if they are stressed, or look more relaxed. These tubs just bring out that relaxed behaviour.
So the next step was to start the company and get the website built and rent out a unit for the building of the racks. Over the next months, with so much help from all family members, particularly my lovely partner and my father in building the business, we will get there building these high quality racks for the UK and EU public.
Why “JVK”? - as in JVK Reptiles And Racks – it is a the combination of my families initials me, Jay, my partner and son. We build these racks in the South East of England.So if you see me at any of our reptiles shows here in the UK, or the EU, by a stall or walking about most likely talking to everyone, with a JVK R&R t-shirt on say “Hello” it will be very welcomed.
The reptile industry is such a close partnership between breeder and hobbyist. At the end of the day we all want reptiles in our homes for many more years to come, so support each other and share information and keep the knowledge exchange going and the passion in the air.
Thank you for reading,
Regards, Jay Mitchell & Family