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Old 11-27-17, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Elaphe schrenckii FAQ

First I want to state that all these responses are based on my experiences and nowhere do I say that it's the only proper way to keep these snakes.

I just get asked these questions a lot by people from all around the world so I thought I write a quick FAQ. Most of the time the messages start with "I can't find much info about them and what I found is rather general... I would like some more specific informations if you would be so kind to answer to my questions". So here we are! Hope someone will enjoy it.




Q: What are the most extreme temperature ranges that Elaphe schrenckii can tolerate?


A: The perfect range for these snakes is between 70F and 83F (21C to 28C). From our experience they will be fine as low as 68F (20C) and as high as 102F (39C), so if you live in colder/warmer climates and worry about power shortages or a/c problems youíll be fine for a few days if they stay in these temperatures. That being said you should try to reach the perfect ranges of course.

Q: What are the best enclosure dimensions for adult snakes? And what type of enclosure is best?

A: For adult pair youíll want the minimum enclosure of 5 x 2 x 2 feet (150 x 60 x 60cm). It may seem big but they are active species that will use all the space you can provide. If you have only one adult snake then you can go a little smaller, like 4 x 1,5 x 1,5 feet (120 x 45 x 45cm). I would recommend either glass or wood enclosures with sliding doors. Any rack type tubes, rubs etc. are too small for them as well as donít provide any space to explore around.
Of course hatchlings and juveniles can live in smaller enclosures as well as in tubs/rubs as a temporary enclosures.

Q: Can you give me a general idea about their temperament? And are there any differences between males and females? Also, are there differences between hatchlings and adults?

A: Most of the snakes I had or heard about could be described as very calm, brave and inquisitive. They will often watch the humans on the other side of the glass or go to hands that are cleaning in their tanks. They donít try to run when you want to pick them up, on the contrary you should probably watch yourself as they will go check whatís going on and can mistake you for food sometimes J

As far as I can tell there are no differences between males and females, my females were a little more food driven than males but I donít know if itís a rule for the whole species or just my luck.

There are hovewer differences between hatchlings and adults. Hatchlings are often shy and will try to run from your hands when you try to pick them up. They will calm fast once on hands. In my experience itís all connected to the size of the snake. At one point they just decide that they are now a big, adult snake that canít be hurt by anything at all and thatís when you get to fully enjoy interacting with them as they become the brave, inquisitive snakes that everyone mentions when asked about this species.

Q: How often and for how long can they be handled? What are the signs of being stressed? Are they okay with being handled a lot?

A: They are one of the species that I would recommend to anyone who looks for a ďpetĒ that can be handled frequently. Since they tolerate colder temperatures you can handle them as long as you want (unlike the more tropical species). Of course they are still reptiles, not dogs so I would say that handling for half an hour is okay, but for 3 hours may be a little excessive.
hey do like to move around and explore so they will use the chance to see the world, but they can still be stressed with too much activity happening around them (like big crowds, very fast active kids etc).

The signs of being stressed are similar to other snakes. They will hiss and ďpuffĒ if they donít want you to pick them or try to hide in the darker corners if they had enough handling.

Q: Again with the handling issuesÖ do they dart/run/flight around like crazy or are they calmly wandering around? How long should I wait after feeding to safely handle them?

A: As hatchlings they can be flighty (depends on the individual, some are calm right out of the egg and others need time to calm down). That being sait I certainly say that they are a lot calmer than some of the other species like king snakes or beauty snakes that like to ďspasmĒ around trying to get out of your hold. As they grow up they calm down and just wander around sniffing at everything.

As a rule I wait 48h after feeding to make sure they wonít throw up the foodÖ or use me as a toilet

Q: How many morphs are there?

A: At the moment there are 4 recognised morphs: wildtype (black with yellow markings), melanistic (all black), albino and anerythistic (black with white markings).

Q: I heard you can give them fish and quail eggs, is it true? How often can they eat it?

A: Yes, they will eat fish, quail eggs and quail chicks (the chicks are only for adult snakes). You can enrich the diet with these ďtreatsĒ every few feedings safely. Just make sure the fish donít have thiaminese.

Q: What type of light should they have? And how much humidity they require?! No one ever mentions exact humidity with these snakes!

A: They will do okay with normal LED bulbs but they will certainly benefit from UVB light. The lack of uvb wonít cause health problems like metabolic bone disease in lizards but if provided the snakes will often bask under it.

Q: Do they need to brumate? Do they go off food in winter?

A: In my experience they donít go off food as a rule. Ours were eating perfectly even when paired up for breeding. There are however individuals that will go off food for a few weeks in winter. In that case you may consider brumating but itís not strictly necessary.

That being said I know that brumation is good for the health of our reptiles and should be done for every species... Iím at fault here as I donít brumate ours since we donít really have means to do so at the moment. You should probably read about it more and make your decision.
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