Orthriophis taeniurus callicyanous       (Rat Snake)

 

Description

This rat snake is found in Asia. Taeniura - China, eastern China (Beijing,Anhui, Fujian, Hebei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi & Zhejiang provinces). Ridleyi - Southern penisula of Thailand & the penisula of Malaysia.

In terms of number of species, there are more rat snakes found in Asia than in all the rest of the world. Most (but not all) have the same temperament and require the same sort of care as the more familiar North American & European species.

This snake is of slender build with an approx. adult length of 250cm (8’). The most common type, found in captivity, are the friesei (Taiwan Beauty). The photo, above, are the taeniura & ridleyi (Blue Beauty & Cave Dwelling rat snake).

It is commonly hunted for its skin (for purses, belts, shoes) & body for medicinal purposes.

The young of this species feed well, grow fast & require diligent handling in order to promote a gentle disposition.

 

Average price

£100 - £500

Lifespan

6 - 23 years

Size category

Small

Feeding requirements

Defrost rat pups/rats of the appropriate size for the animal (1.5 thickest part of body).

Hatchlings/Yearling - 5 day feeding schedule

Sub adult/Adult - 7/10 day feeding schedule

Housing requirements

Vivarium - 5’ x 2’ x 2’ (¾ of the adult size of the snake).

Heatmat - to cover 1/3 of the vivarium floor.

Thermostat - Day/Night or Pulse proportional. *Dth: 31C *Ntl: 21C

Optimum for digestion: 25C - 28C

Furnishings - Hide, Water bowl, substrate (wood shavings, repti-turf),

Basking light (optional), Branches, Plastic plants.

Ailments

Captive Bred animals are, ideally, parasite & virus free. Wild caught specimens can harbour problems & require blood or feceal testing by a Reptile Veterinarian.

Susceptibility to illness

Respiratory Tract Infections. Generally related to improper environmental conditions (too cold, wet, prolonged stress - provision of thermal gradient absent in enclosure).

Signs of Illness & Stress in Reptiles:

Lethargy;  Failure to eat over several weeks;  Regurgitation;  Prolonged soaking in water (may be indicative of parasite infection);  Aggression (if, normally, a passive species);  Prolonged gaping (open mouth);  Loss of muscle tone/strength;  Tremors;  Abcess/blisters/scabs.

Choosing

The Asian rat snake (with the exception of the friesei) are not commonly available.

Look for an animal with a well developed body, no visible cuts or abrasions, clear alert eyes, tongue flicking, no signs of mites or ticks (usually seen in water dish in enclosure), no discharge from the mouth, clean vent.

Energy

These snakes are extremely agile & are excellent climbers. The provision of branches or doweling in the enclosure is required. A typical rat snake with the ability to reach an astounding distance from object to object.

Handling of the snake is desirable at an early age to encourage a positive response to touch. Allow 2 - 3 days post feeding prior to handling.

Distress caused if left alone

A snake is a solitary animal by nature.

Refer: Corn snake care sheet.

Ease of transportation

Simple

Provide a large ‘fun bin’, Contico box, Faunarium or some such suitable container (with air holes & locking handles) to transport your pet. The use of cloth bags (pillow cases) can cause more stress to the animal whilst being transported.

Level of aggression

Medium

A good beginner to the introduction of the Asian species. There are numerous varieties of the Asian rat snake & not all are suitable pets. The young require diligent handling to encourage a positive temperament.

Compatibility with other animals

Not advisable.

Suitable for children

Low

A strong snake which is lively & can be aggressive if incorrectly handled.

 

Hygiene

How we keep our pets can affect our own health.

Cleaning

General removal of debris (food, feaces, urates, blood, saliva etc) which helps reduce the amount of organic matter that contributes to the proliferation of bacteria & disease.

The best method is with hot, soapy water.  Followed by a clean rinse which flushes any loose debris away.  Complete rinse out by use of sponges, cloths or paper towels.

To disinfect (use as manufacturer advises on product), generously apply solution to the  clean surfaces with a saturated cloth, sponge or spray bottle.  Leave for 10 minutes ( 15 - 20 is better).

To sterilize - leave solution for 30 minutes (check instructions on product dilution ratio).

Rinse out thoughly prior to re-introducing reptile to vivarium.

N.B.  Never mix Ammonia & Bleach.  If using bleach to disinfect utensils, sink, water bowls.  Carefully rinse all soap residue as many dishwashing soaps contain ammonia.

A separate set of cleaning equipment should be allocated for animal/reptile use.

Do not use soaps or cleaners which are abrassive, contain pine scents or phenols.

Reptile disinfectants can be purchased through animal supply catalogues or pet stores.

Always instruct children to wash their hands after touching animals or reptiles.

 

*Dth Day Time High

*Ntl Night Time Low