Updated: Sep 23, 2019
High end. What does that mean exactly? On the surface it would be easy to assume that the animal(s) called "high end" are somehow superior to those that are not...right?! If a Sunset Northern Blue Tongue Skink is considered "high end" then in theory it would be superior to a Classic Northern Blue Tongue Skink in health, longevity, fertility, fecundity, vigor, size, behavior, and the list goes on... However, this is distinctly not the case in most, if not all, situations.
High end blue tongues do not live longer than classic animals. They do not have more babies, they are not healthier overall, they do not have any measurable behaviors that are somehow better. Simply put they are not measurably "superior" in nearly every category except one....availability. High end animals are less common for various reasons (unique color, uncommon species, unique pattern, etc) and because they are less common, the free market of supply and demand dictates they are more costly.
Therefore, high end means the high end of the price point. That's it. High end animals are priced higher because something about them is more desirable than other skinks, 99% of the time that difference is the pigmentation in their skin. They have a unique color, pattern, or mixture thereof. That's it. Sometimes the term "higher end" has to do with the rarity of the species but most certainly not to do with the overall quality of the specimen. The term "high end" is most often skin deep.
When someone deals in "high end" skinks they may or may not have healthy animals, they may or may not provide quality customer service, they may or may not have a plethora of good or bad issues. All we know is the animals are priced higher.
Higher end is just a softer way of saying expensive, meanwhile eluding to the misnomer of higher quality.
Don't get me wrong I have absolutely nothing against selling animals at higher prices if the demand dictates such. I'm 100% for that actually. As a small business owner I'm all for a free marketplace whereby the market dictates the price points and where customers have the freedom to purchase or not purchase from a business based on their free will perspective of services rendered or goods provided.
In my case the services are my website, YouTube Channel, Patreon, personal support for customers, and care sheets. The goods I provide are the animals I produce and sell. Some might be priced lower, some might be priced higher (aka high end), ...but above all I believe wholeheartedly that ALL my animals are high quality.
Yet, sadly too often people mistake the term high end to mean high quality. The ole saying, "You get what you pay for," does not always apply in reverse when dealing with reptiles. Sometimes paying more yields great results and sometimes paying more yields disastrous results.
There is ZERO correlation between high end and high quality when it comes to blue tongue skinks.
A low priced animal can be high quality. A high priced animal can be low quality. Thus, a high end animal has no correlation between price and quality.
If high end prices are what dictated quality of the animal then all standard wild type animals known commonly as "classics" would be "poor quality" animals since they are not classified as "high end" by most skinkers in the trade.
I define a quality blue tongue skink as an animal that:
is alert and active
is raised on a nutritious diet
has good body weight (not malnourished nor overweight)
has the behavioral traits desired by the customer (docile, curious, feisty, etc)
is disease and parasite free
has lineage to some extent (the more in-depth the better the quality)
comes with customer support
Nowhere in there did I say expensive or cheap. Price doesn't dictate quality.
So my friends, be aware of what people are saying and how they are saying it when trying to make a sale. Look for quality and then go for whatever traits you want. Please don't be fooled into thinking that high end means high quality...it doesn't.