Originally Posted by eminart
Good stuff, man. Love the cottonmouth photo. And keep us updated on the coachwhip. It has recently crossed my to try to collect a couple of neonate racers and see if I can acclimate them to captivity. You just don't see cbb racers.
Indeed not, Coluber are unfortunately unpopular in the trade. That's why I jumped on the Eastern Coachwhip. They have reputations for being extremely flighty, bitey, and hard to get feeding. All of these issues are much easier to deal with when you start with a hatchling, and would probably become much less pronounced after a few generations in a captive breeding program. People who do keep them say they are relatively intelligent, very alert and active, and very food oriented once established. The picture above is a yearling Eastern Yellowbelly Racer I collected as a hatchling last year. The first thing I noticed was that it was not very "stretchy," that is to say that it had trouble getting even the tiniest of newborn pink mice down. This is no Rat Snake or Python. And if it had any trouble it was very quick to spit it out. So I started feeding it the thighs of adult mice, that worked much better. The first few weeks it took to assist feeding pretty well, as long as I held the snake in my hand until it got the mouse leg down, and as long as I didn't move a muscle. Some days it extremely nervous and spit the food item out repeatedly until I gave up and force fed it, some days it gobbled it down with such tenacity you'd think it was angry with the mouse leg. Before long it took to tease feeding, as long as I held it in hand so it couldn't run. As it grew I would tease feed it the first mouse leg, then follow it with additional legs as it ate so it ate them in one long piece, as if it were eating a snake. Currently it takes rat legs or small fuzzy mice off the tongs in its tub. Sometimes it does still take a bit of teasing, but once it grabs the food item you're not getting it back lol. I keep it in a larger tub than I would a Kingsnake or other colubrid, but otherwise care is very similar and very easy. I definitely wouldn't recommend one to a newbie, but with a little patience and know-how I think these guys will make great captives. I'm excited to how they behave as adults, they should be great display animals as active as the are.