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Old 07-28-17, 01:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Been researching for two years plus, while convincing the girlfriend that snakes are not vicious creatures, she has now seen that first hand. Thing is I'm just not fascinated with corns but I do want a placid enough snake to accustom my kids to the reality that snakes are not viscous, and then as they meet more defensive ones I can teach them that it's a defensive or food oriented behaviour rather than aggression. I know some kings in general, Elaphe Schrenki, and Subocularis are generally placid and easy to keep too, I'm not interested in royals, colubrids only, but I read, of the pituophis genus, Gophers are pretty placid and easy to keep... Of those mentioned, what, in general, would be best, no corns though and no pythons just the others mentioned, experiences etc with these snakes I'd appreciate hearing too, thankyou
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Old 07-28-17, 02:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Snakes can be unpredictable, they could potentially bite at any time, as I personally have found out, so you always have to keep that in mind.

I've heard the joke, "if you like pet rocks, get a Ball Python", and that may be true to some extent since a lot of them will "ball" up and hide, but others are more outgoing. My Albino King is great, but even she bolts back in her hide if I show up suddenly; and while coaxing her out for a friend the other day, she hit the glass trying to get at my fingers that I was tapping on the edge of the door. Other than that little fiasco, she's been great and I let her out all the time, and she is not head shy at all. It all depends on the snake, how often you handle, when you handle, etc.

Go to shows, hold their snakes, see if the one you want is "bitey", but always plan for the worst. And always, keep them away from your face unless you want to get accidentally tagged.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Pits are great snakes to keep. The care is really simple, they get quite a bit larger than most other colubrids, come in some cool morphs, and they eat like monsters. I'd highly recommend a bull or gopher snake as a first snake and even though babies can be a little feisty most of them outgrow their defensiveness pretty quickly. Best wishes with whatever you choose.
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Old 07-28-17, 03:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

I gather that in general ScubaDiver but I hear Subocs and Russians are tamer than most in general too but yeah I know individuality is usually a factor, thankyou for sharing your experiences dude much appreciated, yeah kings seem to be really individualistic lol
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Old 07-28-17, 03:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

El Ziggy that's what I'm hoping for, maybe start off with a Gopher and move on to Bulls and Pines as I get used to them, I might get others too but my girlfriend doesn't know that yet lol, she's ok with me having one though haha!!

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Old 07-28-17, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

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Originally Posted by Scubadiver59 View Post
Snakes can be unpredictable, they could potentially bite at any time, as I personally have found out, so you always have to keep that in mind.

I've heard the joke, "if you like pet rocks, get a Ball Python", and that may be true to some extent since a lot of them will "ball" up and hide, but others are more outgoing. My Albino King is great, but even she bolts back in her hide if I show up suddenly; and while coaxing her out for a friend the other day, she hit the glass trying to get at my fingers that I was tapping on the edge of the door. Other than that little fiasco, she's been great and I let her out all the time, and she is not head shy at all. It all depends on the snake, how often you handle, when you handle, etc.

Go to shows, hold their snakes, see if the one you want is "bitey", but always plan for the worst. And always, keep them away from your face unless you want to get accidentally tagged.
Keep in mind at shows, snakes are normally in a cooler environment, which makes them slower and more docile. When you get home and warm them up, that's when you'll see their real temperament and if they are bitey.
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Old 07-28-17, 05:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

True, true, like some of the adventure shows that show people handling snakes...most were take out of a fridge and handled before they could react, fight, bite, or flee.

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Keep in mind at shows, snakes are normally in a cooler environment, which makes them slower and more docile. When you get home and warm them up, that's when you'll see their real temperament and if they are bitey.
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Old 07-31-17, 08:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Russian rat snakes are very curious, personable animals. Mine are the closest I've ever seen to a truly friendly snake. I can put my hands in their cages and they'll willingly approach and climb right on to go for a ride. Occasionally I have even difficulty feeding them because they are more interested in climbing up the feeding tongs to see me than in eating the rodent on the end. They are semi-arboreal and need a fairly large, tall enclosure with lots of branches as they are quite active and will use every bit of space you give them. Mine are now 18 months old and about to graduate to their adult cages, which are 3 feet long, 1.5 feet deep and 3 feet high. They enjoy a large water bowl so they can go for a swim. They like to people watch and will study you as you move around the room. 2 out of my 3 were friendly and fearless from the get-go even as hatchlings. 1 was nippy and took about a year to settle down. As hatchlings their coloration is muddy brown and blah. As adults they are iridescent black with bright yellow markings and look a bit like mangrove snakes without the nasty bite. They like cool temperatures. I also recently found out that they need to be brumated for at least a couple of months in the winter whether you intend to breed them or not (I had mistakenly thought brumating them was only for breeding but this species requires it, period). Their personalities are remarkable though.

Trans-Pecos rat snakes / subocs are super mellow, gentle snakes. They're neat-looking too, with naturally buggy eyes and scales as soft to the touch as lambskin leather. They often have flashes of iridescence on their heads. I have 2 captive bred and 4 wild caught. A friend who is licensed to collect them in Texas caught those 4 in Brewster County recently and you'd never know they were WC snakes. They chill out in my hands, same as the captive bred ones. He said he picked them up off the highway at night when they were soaking up the leftover heat from the asphalt (and fixing to get flattened by passing cars). They just looked at him as if to say, "Where are we going today?" No struggling, no biting. They take at least a 40 gallon breeder size tank and do best with good ventilation and low humidity. They are one of those species that's actually better off in an aquarium with a screen top because PVC tends to hold too much humidity for them. Small water bowls are better as 1) they don't drink much and 2) big water bowls = more humidity. They also take smaller meals than you would expect for their size. If you look at a suboc and think it should be eating large mice, feed it mediums instead. If you feed them a meal that is too large they will regurgitate it. With those few quirks in mind, they are quite easy to care for.
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Old 07-31-17, 08:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

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Originally Posted by Trouser Snake View Post
El Ziggy that's what I'm hoping for, maybe start off with a Gopher and move on to Bulls and Pines as I get used to them, I might get others too but my girlfriend doesn't know that yet lol, she's ok with me having one though haha!!
Personally I'd go straight for a bull - gophers are more timid and flighty. Bulls are more balls out.

That said as you've eluded to the is a world of rat snakes out there and you've picked up on some pretty neat species of them.

I'd still get a bull though - very much on my list of snakes to complete the collection with.
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Old 07-31-17, 09:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

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Personally I'd go straight for a bull - gophers are more timid and flighty. Bulls are more balls out.

That said as you've eluded to the is a world of rat snakes out there and you've picked up on some pretty neat species of them.

I'd still get a bull though - very much on my list of snakes to complete the collection with.
I've kept bulls, a couple different gophers, and a few pines as well. I'd agree that once the bulls have some size on them, they are by far the calmest (and typically the largest) of the bunch. I love em all, though!
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Old 07-31-17, 09:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Calm? Sheesh...mine's hell on wheels, hisses at me every chance it gets, and is the most violent with taking a meal from me.

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I've kept bulls, a couple different gophers, and a few pines as well. I'd agree that once the bulls have some size on them, they are by far the calmest (and typically the largest) of the bunch. I love em all, though!
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Old 07-31-17, 09:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Most of the adults are all huff and puff that I've seen/had/handled. When out...they kinda just sit there or move slowly without much of a care. Until they get some size...flighty but still not bitey...sounds like you just got real lucky.
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Old 07-31-17, 09:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

My bulls are sweet as pie.

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Old 08-01-17, 01:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

Always trying to make more Baird's Rat Snake fans.

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Even if you don't get one I hope you consider them for the next!
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Old 08-02-17, 08:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Gopher Snakes, Russian Ratsnakes, Subocs?

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Always trying to make more Baird's Rat Snake fans.

Dragon Armor Scales - Album on Imgur

Even if you don't get one I hope you consider them for the next!
What are Baird's rat snakes like, for example, in comparison to Russians and Subocs?
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