Home | Snakes | Non-venomous Snakes | The Natural History and Captive Husbandry of the Taiwan Beauty Snake or Chinese Ratsnake, Orthriophis (formerly “Elaphe”) taeniurus friesei – Part II

The Natural History and Captive Husbandry of the Taiwan Beauty Snake or Chinese Ratsnake, Orthriophis (formerly “Elaphe”) taeniurus friesei – Part II

Click: The Natural History and Captive Husbandry of the Taiwan Beauty Snake or Chinese Ratsnake, Orthriophis (formerly “Elaphe”) taeniurus friesei to read about the Natural History of the Taiwan Beauty Snake

Captive Husbandry
Taiwan Beauty SnakeSpace and Physical Requirements
Taiwan beauty snakes are quite active and require a larger cage than other similarly-sized snakes – they do not do well when cramped. A cage with sufficient height for climbing is a must – both for your pleasure in observing the animal, and for the snake’s well-being. A cage with the dimensions 3’(l) x 3’(w) x 5’(h) would be the minimum required by a 5 foot long individual.

The cage should be well perched with stout branches. Taiwan beauty snakes will also utilize vines, moving about them with a speed that leaves little doubt as to their abilities to capture squirrels, birds and other elusive prey. Hagen Bendable Vines interspersed among the branches will allow your pet to show off its natural behaviors to their best effect.

Taiwan beauty snake prefer an arboreal hideaway, and will readily take advantage of a forked branch hidden behind a screen of plants (Hagen Large Hanging Terrarium Plants are ideal). Particularly shy individuals will appreciate a piece of rolled cork bark wedged among the branches.

Light, Heat, Humidity
This species does not require a source of UVB light, but there is increasing evidence that UVA light is important in stimulating natural behavior and possibly in maintaining over-all good health. I suggest equipping your snake’s terrarium with a Coralife Reptile Bright Spotlight, which will supply both heat and UVA radiation.

A temperature of 80 F at the basking site will suffice – Taiwan beauty snakes do not seem to seek out the higher temperatures favored by some other tropical species. The ambient air temperature should fall 74 and 78 F.

Members of this genus favor slightly humid environments, but will suffer fungal and other skin disorders if not able to dry out as well. A light misting once or twice each day should suffice.

One Taiwan beauty snake that I kept invariably came to drink from the hose each morning when I misted her cage, but most will prefer a water bowl. The bowl should be large enough for soaking, as this species is prone to shedding difficulties if kept too dry. Be sure to spray the cage a bit more frequently at shedding time as well.

For arboreal snakes favoring humid environments, I use a substrate that holds moisture for awhile, but which dries out completely within a few hours after being misted. A mix of Keeper’s Choice Hardwood Bedding and Hagen Forest Bark Reptile Bedding works very well in this regard.

Many arboreal snakes, such as the red-tailed ratsnake (Gonyosoma oxycephala), show a strong preference for feeding on birds, but I have not seen this with Taiwan beauty snakes. They do fine on a diet composed of mice and small rats.

Captive Longevity
Captives have lived in excess of 15 years.

Handling and Enrichment
Some individuals do adjust well to gentle handling, but in general this species is far better suited as an exhibit animal. Even well-habituated animals must be handled frequently, and starting from a young age, if they are to remain tractable. Taiwan beauty snakes do not take well to being grabbed and restrained, which complicate removal from the complex, branch-filled environments that suit them best.

Their high activity levels suit them well as subjects of observation, and in a large, naturalistic terrarium these snakes will provide you with fascinating glimpses into their lives. They appear much more alert than many species, and will investigate unusual movements around their cage. You can capitalize on this propensity by “scenting” their cage with novel odors – i.e. a snake or lizard shed, an egg – so that you can observe their reactions (in zoo circles, this is long-known practice is now termed “enrichment” and is currently very much in vogue).

Taiwan beauty snakes may breed spontaneously, but consistent results have been obtained following a brumation (cooling-off) period of 3 months or so at 65-68 F. Most breeders chill their snakes between December and March, but this time period is likely not set in stone. Mating usually occurs within a month after the snakes are returned to optimal temperatures, with 6-10 eggs being deposited 40-60 days thereafter.

The eggs hatch in 55-62 days when incubated at 80-84 F and 95% humidity. The hatchlings average 12-16 inches long, and shed within their first 2 weeks. In contrast to many arboreal species, they do not prefer or need lizards or treefrogs, and will accept pink mice readily. Captives (this may vary in the wild) reach sexual maturity at approximately 18 months of age and 4.5 – 5 feet in length.

You can read more about the natural history and taxonomy of Asian ratsnakes at:



  1. avatar

    Hi I’ve recently rescued a Taiwan Beauty Snake. I’ve never had one before I keep a royal python in a 6ft by 3ft by 5ft vivarium will the Taiwan Beauty Snake co habit with my royal python ok.
    cheers Jason

    • avatar

      Hello Jason, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      That’s a nice-sized enclosure for a Taiwan beauty snake, but I would not suggest housing it with your royal python. The two species are from different parts of the world, and micro-organisms carried as part of normal gut fauna by one might be deadly to the other.

      Also, the beauty snake does better at slightly cooler temperatures than the royal python, and needs a different se-up, as it is highly arboreal.

      Normal handling and feeding activities that your python has likely adjusted to will be stressful to the beauty snake….there are exceptions, but generally they do best when disturbed as little as possible.

      Finally, although other snakes are not recoded as a common food item of royal boas, there’s always a possibility the python might decide to sample the much thinner beauty snake. It’s difficult to draw general rules about snake diets…one anaconda I collected in Venezuela as part of a research project regurgitated a smaller anaconda, the first record of such a meal for that species.

      You may want to consider keeping the beauty snake in the large terrarium and re-housing the royal python…beauty snakes that I have kept in large zoo exhibits have done very well when given lots of room to climb and move about.

      Please let me know if you need anything further,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    We were interested in getting two of these snakes which are currently being housed in the same small tub at the store. They have always been together according to the store clerks and I was just wondering if they will continue to be fine if we get the pair of them and house them in a much bigger terrarium.

    • avatar

      Hello Becky, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      Beauty snakes usually get along well together, even same-sex groups, as long as they are given enough space.

      The only concern I’d raise revolves around feeding. It is always difficult to feed 2 snakes in the same enclosure. Often they grab the same rodent…this is especially troublesome where constrictors such as beauty snakes are involved, as they usually wind around each other and are difficult to untangle. Also, when excited by the scent of food they may strike at any movement, and so may bite one another.

      The best solution is to remove 1 snake to a separate feeding enclosure…beauty snakes sometimes refuse to eat when disturbed, however. Also, they are difficult to remove from among branches, etc.

      It might be easier to provide a very large enclosure, so that the snakes can possibly be kept apart within in at feeding time. Ideally, 2 people, each with a feeding tong, should participate, so that both snakes can be kept busy with meals at the same time.

      Please let me know if you need anything further, and good luck.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar


    I recently purchased a baby taiwanese beauty and was wondering how they are to handle? I have had many rat snakes in the past with no problems, but have seen mixed views about them online. Thanks in advance for your opinion if you have time. -Shawn

    • avatar

      Hello Shawn, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. I’ve found them to be high strung in general; I recall 2 over the years that would “tolerate” handling, but just barely. Frequent handling as recommended to habituate snakes works best with species already suited for close contact. Taiwanese beauty snakes, if given plenty of room (esp. height), will adjust to your presence and stay out of your way while you are cleaning and all, but in small quarters usually strike; try working with the snake for awhile, but even if it calms down remain cautious, as they are prone to bite at the slightest provocation.

      Another problem is that, if kept properly – lots of height, branches, vines – they are difficult to reach and handle without a wrestling match. They do not fare well in easily-serviced terrariums as do many North American rat snakes – more of an animal for a large, well-provisioned cage.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    hey there,
    I just purchased a year old Taiwan Beauty Snake. Its in a good sized space, but with plans to build a rather large space for it.
    I’ve only had it home for about 24hrs, but its remained coiled up under it’s cork bark. i assume it’ll take awhile to adjust. Do you know when it may come out and start to settle into its home? I assume it’ll come out to eat when it’s time to feed.
    Great Blog!

    • avatar

      Hello Niall, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

      They usually take quite awhile to settle in, several days to several weeks, depending upon the individual. Providing an arboreal retreat, i.e. a clump of artificial plants or cork bark roll is sometimes useful, as they often feel more secure when able to get off the ground.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    Thank you so much for this article. There’s an astounding lack of information on such a beautiful snake, especially when compared to the volumes of web pages on Balls and Corns! We took in a mature female Taiwan Beauty Snake about six months ago. Although the previous keeper stated she was close to her maximum size at around 4 feet, she’s grown outrageously fast, and has gained about half her girth in that time. She seems voracious, and would probably eat every day if allowed to. I had only kept lazy boas before and never a rat snake, so the change in pace has been very entertaining. She’s extremely active and curious!

    I have to agree on regular, even daily handling if you want to interact with them at all. I’ve gotten a bite for sounding a bit too much like a rustling rat while cleaning out her enclosure, after about a month of no regular handling. I don’t mind keeping reptiles more as “look but don’t touch”, but it’s valuable information for people who feel otherwise.

    Anyway, thank you again for the information on enclosures. Ours doesn’t spend much time on the vines I’ve provided, but it’s getting time to upgrade the tank size and this article has helped me decide on a taller vivarium. I’d like to incorporate a very small water feature in the corner, would this pose any conflicts?

    • avatar

      Hello Meagan, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words; you’re observations will be helpful to other readers.

      Snakes often defecate in water bowls, so be sure anything you put in is easy to remove, clean. Also, try to avoid a set-up that will cause you to spend extra time working in the terrarium – even well-adjusted individuals become stressed in the close confnes of a cage if too much is going on around them.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you for the article, I have just read through all the comments. I have an adult male at about 1.6m just over 5 feet. in excellent condition and he is extremely tame. I regularly handle him and he loves climbing all over me and exploring.
    This is our first year in attempting to breed and it is very difficult to get information about breeding. Your article has been a great help and hope to have some healthy babies in 3-4 months time from now. We had two positive locks in the last two days and will alternate him in with her for 3 days and out 3 days for 5 cycles.
    Any tips on successful breeding will be greatly appreciated. They are growing in popularity in South Africa and I have previously only dealt with live bearers so the whole incubation process will not only be a first but also very interesting.

    • avatar

      Hello Eben, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words. Nice to hear that you are working with this species; please let me know how all goes.

      You seem to be on the right track. Perhaps this article on egg incubation will be useful – you can use the 1:1 ratio of water : substrate described in the article. A small commercial reptile egg incubator will be useful as well in order to maintain the appropriate temperature.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Thank you Frank.

    Incubators are very expensive in South Africa so we resort to making our own home made incubators.

    The most common too make here is too use a cooler box which is well insulated. Placing a big glass jar inside filled with water and a fish tank heater (set at 29C / 82F) inside. The eggs is placed inside the cooler box in a smaller container with the substrate. The Glass jar is filled daily thus keeping humidity between 95% and 100% inside the cooler box and the water also keep the temperature constant during power failures which we do experience often.
    To prevent water droplets that forms on the “roof” of the incubator to fall on the eggs and make them wet causing other problems we make a small teepee tent from plastic that sits over the eggs, so any water dropping down is diverted away from the eggs and into the substrate, a small drainage whole in the bottom of the container for the eggs prevents too much water in the substrate.

    This type of incubation has been very successful with a number of species that a friend of mine breeds, but he was not sure at which temperature the eggs should be incubated at for this species.

    I will keep you posted with the progress and if interested will send you pictures of our “incubators” The more experienced breeders builds their own using fridges etc. that is also well insulated.

    Thanks for your advise it helps me a lot in preparation.

    • avatar

      Hello Eben, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the feedback. A similar style is used here…although the drip guard idea is new to me; thanks…I’ll pass it along. Way back before heaters and night-bulbs were available I used fish heaters in jars to warm terrariums at night…not ideal for that purpose, but worked in some situations.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    Last year I ended up with a 7ft Taiwanese bought by someone on impulse who realized after buying he couldn’t care for it. He said it was an aggressive snake that didn’t like handling…which is what I have read. But the snake (Morpheus) is the most docile snake I have ever seen. He simply does not act like a snake! He wants to be held, he will resist going back into his aquarium. Even though he likes to wrap around me, he also likes to get into trouble by tying himself around things and knocking things over. He’s quite a handful! He has only nipped once, at my friend who keeps him at her pet store for trying to get off shed skin. He then threatened to bite me when I went to put him up, slightly opening his mouth. I have found that it is possible for a snake to bite without using teeth, like they are “gumming” you. I would like an explaination for that odd behavior. Another odd thing he does is get in my hair and occaisionally bite my scalp. Most snakes want to go in my hair, but biting is something usually only my cat does when I wear certain shampoo. He occaisionally rubs his face against my cheek like a cat. He usually makes a little hiss like noise too, but never backed by any aggression. As for not liking being restrained, he doesn’t like it, but he tolerates it. He tolerates just about anything. Right now my main concern is that he has refused food for about 3 weeks. He normally has a big appetite. I am wondering if it is because it is winter. I know some snakes, like Ball Pythons will occaisionally refuse food. There isn’t really enough info out there on the Taiwanese. My mother says the snake misses me, as I haven’t been over as often. Snakes aren’t supposed to be like a dog or cat, but I have gotten him out just in case. I was suprised that he did not strike out of hunger like snakes normally do. My Cornsnakes will strike when hungry, and they’re one of the most docile species! He just doesn’t act like a snake. He’s afraid of hamsters and my friend’s Chihuahua. He’s weird. My friend says that’s because he’s my snake 🙂

    Any info on my snake’s oddness will be appreciated.

    • avatar

      Hello Lauren

      Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, we cannot accurately apply what we know about domestic mammals to snakes. Their individual personalities do vary greatly, and they are capable of learning quite a bit, but do not relate to us in terms of companionship as might a dog or cat. Allowing the snake near your face, or to bite your scalp, is a very bad idea. Snakes respond to scents and vibrations that we cannot detect, and act accordingly. Pets of 30 or more years will bite, often for reasons we cannot determine. Bites can develop serious infections, due to the bacteria inhabiting the mouth, and should always be reprted to your doctor.

      I don’t mean to discourage you…Many snakes can be wonderful, interesting pets, but it is in their and your best interest to be treated in accordance with their true natures.

      Taiwan Beauty Snakes do not normally slow down their feeding in winter as do temperate zone species (unless household temperatures are dropping…perhaps at night?). Females that are developing eggs will refuse food; other reasons can include medical problems such as an intestinal blockage, or an upcoming shed. If it does not feed within 4-5 weeks, a vet visit would be in order.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    Hello, Frank. I found your web site by accident – I hope you can help. I have a female Taiwan Beauty. Age unknown – she was given to me. She’s 9 feet long in a 48″ terrarium with a hide box and large water bowl. Every two weeks, she usually consumes at least four or five thawed frozen mice, sometimes more.

    Since April of last year, she began shedding at frequent intervals, i.e. 4 weeks, three weeks – and this has continued. She is getting ready to shed again, probably in another week, four weeks from her last shed. Each shed is perfect with no particles adhering to her body and completely intact.

    I’ve attempted to increase humidity by providing a plastic hide box with moistened moss. She rarely enters it, and seldom uses her hide box. She’s very docile and accepts handling when used as an education animal at exhibits and outreach programs.

    I have other snakes – a 18 year old kingsnake began frequent shedding a month or so before he died of apparent natural causes. A 16 year old corn has also been shedding every four to six weeks also. Could advanced age account for this?

    I’d appreciate your comments. Thank you very much!

    • avatar

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your interest. Rapid shed cycles are most often due to skin ailments (fungal, bacterial) or the presence of external parasites, most commonly snake mites. However, I have noticed snakes of a variety of species to do this, w/o symptoms of fungal infection, etc. Age could likely be involved, as you suggest..shedding is a vary complex process, and as the various systems in the body start to slow down/weaken (I won’t draw the obvious parallels to us, but I have experienced them!) shedding can certainly be affected. Several vets I’ve worked with at the Bx Zoo have theorized that rapid sheds could also be in response to internal disease, parasites, etc., and they usually run fecal tests just to rule those conditions out. A vety exam, tests etc would be useful, just in case there is a non-apparent condition. Pl let me know if you need help in locating a local herp vet, and pl keep me posted.

      Sorry I could not give you a definite answer…we still have much to learn. Best, Frank

  10. avatar

    Thank you for your prompt response. I should have mentioned previously that I took the Tai Beauty to a highly qualified exotics vet who found nothing at all wrong, neither internal nor external. And always perfect sheds.

    Considering the size of this animal, I’m guessing she may be much older than I originally thought – and what I was told by the person who gave her to me. People do tend to exaggerate — size (larger) and age (younger)! 🙂

    So – the mystery continues. I’ll let you know if there’s ever a diagnosis, and if she continues on this path for a long time.

    Thanks again!

    • avatar

      Hi Barbara,

      Size and age…indeed! We once spent a great deal of money for a “30 ft long” Retic that turned out to measure just over 20 (photos misleading, snake was held in Borneo).

      In that case, could very well be age related. Keep providing good care and all should go as well as possible. They live much longer in captivity than wild, perhaps more than organs etc. can easily stand. Please check when you can, and let me know if you need any articles (blog search engine not great);

      Best, Frank

  11. avatar

    Hello, Frank. This is an interesting update on my Taiwan Beauty who demonstrated monthly shedding. She’s still doing it – perfectly each time.

    Since first reporting this to you, several months ago I was given a Vietnamese Blue Beauty snake. No info was provided by the previous owner. It’s a mature male with the feisty attitude typical of these ratsnakes (although NOT exhibited by my Tai Beauty who is gentle as a corn snake). He has become handleable (with caution) after the first few moments of removing him from his cage.

    The Viet Blue began shedding at monthly intervals also – perfect intact sheds. I checked with the former owner who admitted he stopped keeping records long ago, but seemed to recall monthly shedding.

    Might this be typical of these Asian ratsnakes? The only difficulty is getting my female Tai Beauty to consume food between going into shed. No problem with the Viet Blue – he’s always hungry!

    I wonder if any other keepers of this species have noted a similar phenomenon.

    Thanks, B

    • avatar

      Hi barbara,

      Thanks for the interesting update and glad all is going well. Regular sheds sometimes occur when conditions are stable (AMOUNT OF FOOD ETC) esp in younger animals, but there are no speices-specific patterns that I’m aware of. What is the feeding difficulty you referred to?..not sure that I understand…

      Best, Frank

  12. avatar

    Oh – sorry that was vague. I meant only that b/c of frequent shedding, there’s about a three week window in which to feed before going into shed mode and often she isn’t particularly interested in food. Not the male – never him! 🙂

  13. avatar

    I have had my Taiwanese beauty for almost a year now and wen I got it I was told by the seller it was a male. However over time I have been told by some reptile specialists that it must be female as it is over 9ft long. Is there a easy way I can find out the sex of my snake?

    • avatar


      That’s a large specimen; must be very impressive.

      Size is not reliable where captives are concerned…for example, I and colleagues have marked hundreds of wild male green anacondas and have yet to find a male much over 10-12 feet, and all are slender in build; this is as all natural history books report as well. Yet I’ve cared for 4-5 long term captive males at the Bronx Zoo that exceeded 15 feet and were as stout as any female.

      Females’ tails taper gradually from the vent down (towards tail tip). In males, the taper is quite sharp and distinct, due to the presence of hemipenes. But it helps to have seen many examples of both sexes in order to judge in this manner. They can also be probed, but this should only be done by a well-experienced person with the proper tools.

      Enjoy, best, Frank

  14. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I just recently (about a week ago) purchased a baby Taiwanese Beauty and she’s done quite well, letting me handle her, just hanging out occasionally.

    However today was the first time I fed her, she ate the mouse up quickly, and after a while I took her out to hold her for a while. But she started licking my hand a lot, then started to slowly open her mouth as if to bite me?
    I didn’t touch the rodent at all though, and carried the bag it was in only in my right hand (which she tried to nibble the back of my left).

    So I’m just wondering if I ought to be concerned? Does it seem like she ate enough, will she continue to bite me, do you think?
    I’m fairly new to snakes and just want to know what to do.

    • avatar

      Hello Brook,

      The snake may have picked up on an airborne scent (amazingly keen senses in that regard) and then bitten whatever was closest. Also, when in feeding mode most snakes are likely to bite when handled, or to strike at movements, even if scent is not involved…many accidents happen in this way. It’s best not to handle at all for several days after a meal; regurgitation is common when snakes are handled after eating, and many become defensive as there is an instinct to retire and digest; this is likely even among calm,long-term pets.

      Feeding schedule depends on temperature and other factors, but snakes can adjust metabolism if needed; one weekly meal should be fine; hungry snakes tend to prowl about, etc…please keep me posted, and send temperature, size details if you wish, best, frank

  15. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you for a very informative read. If you wouldn’t mind, I would like a little handling advice for a 4-5ft taiwan beauty who has practically never been handled. It’s history is completely unknowm to me, other than that its last owner kept it as you might a corn snake, but was too afraid to ever handle it. It has not been sexed – handling for sexing is, as you may understand, a little difficult. It hadn’t even been given a name!! Unfortunately I have had this snake left to me by someone who should have known better in the first place, but here I am. I feel a hypocrite, as I would never advise someone to keep an animal they were not prepared for but I genuinely don’t want to imagine how it may have turned out had I not taken it in.

    I do have some experience with snakes – I keep a few more suitable pet species (corn, western hognose, etc) and do as much reading as I can, but wouldn’t exactly say I am an expert by a long shot.

    I would like to look into the possibility of getting this snake used to handling as a positive experience rather than something to be afraid of. While I realise that some may never be ‘tamed’ if I may use that word, and I did read from your December 2009 post that this might not be possible, I would like to at least give it a chance, if I can.

    Of course, this is a bit of a step up from getting a young and relatively harmles corn snake acclimated!

    Would you mind giving me some advice on how to approach this task? Essentially, how would you go about this if you had to?

    Sorry if my question is vague. For some focus:

    -Would gradual exposure over a period of time help make the snake more calm before attempting to handle? (Eg staying near the open door, placing my elbow inside, placing my fist nearer, gradually). (Elbows are less delicate than fingers!)

    -Alternatively, would a more direct approach be more effective – simply reaching in and picking up the snake despite the practical certainty of strikes?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated – I may come across a little cold in writing (I try to be precise!) but I do greatly care about him/her.

    On a lighter note, any gender neutral name suggestions would also be more than welcome!

    Sorry for the long post, and thank you for time…


    • avatar

      Hi Chris…not cold at all….I have a 45 year old musk turtle w/o a name! (naming herps was un-heard of way back when). They really are best kept in large homemade cages with some height..this allows snake to stay out of the way while you clean etc. No point in risking bites…many people tend to laugh off non-venomous bites, but that is a mistake ; I’ve had severe infections (be sure your tetanus shot is up to date, and check with doc if skin is broken by a bite). Individuals vary…some calm down, but this generally happens in large cages – in typical home situations, an aggressive specimen will remain so, due to the stress of being closely confined. If you need to remove the snake for cleaning etc., I’d work with a hook..approaching snake etc tends not to work with most. Visually, only possible way to ID would be to get a look at the tail from beneath…rapid taper in females, gradual in males, below the cloaca, as for corns, etc. Sorry I could not be more optimistic, but in a large cage the snake can be a very interesting animal to observe, just not suited to handling, best, Frank

  16. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    In the end it’s the snake’s welfare that is paramount. To be honest, having the backing of professional opinion on this matter is comforting. If a good home can be made with minimal contact and the snake is happy then that is the main thing. (Also thank you for addressing the matter of approaching a defensive snake – the validity of it had been bugging me for some time). Sound advice on bites here – I have never been unlucky enough to suffer a serious infection from one, but never crashing a car shouldn’t stop you wearing a belt. I suppose it is easy to become lax.

    Time to draw up a DIY project!

    Thank you again,


    • avatar

      Thanks for the feedback, Chris. re approaching and all…try to avoid those you insist on treating snakes as though the were fur-less dogs or similar – you and the animal will have a better time of it if they are treated as their natures demand. they can learn, etc, but there is no possibility of drawing useful parallels between them and birds mammals – or us (as many try to do!). Good luck with all, enjoy, Frank

  17. avatar

    I just wanted to mention that I have now had 7 Taiwan beauty snakes and 2 blue beauties. As far as handling goes I’ve had no real issues with any of them. Some were acquired as adults and some as babies, and while some started off flighty and maybe had the slightest bit of attitude all adjusted to handling fairly quickly. It should be noted though that as they calm down and come to a rest on your body they will get warmer absorbing your body heat and some get quite anxious when much above 80 degrees F. The pair that I have now are over 8ft and 9ft and have both been used in professional photo shoots with out incidents. Of course as mentioned they are very active and it takes some time for them to settle in once gotten out of their enclosure, but no aggression or defensive behaviors. I think that these guys get a bad rap for handling because people want them to be like a ball python and just lay there and they aren’t that kind of snake.

  18. avatar

    Hi I’m getting a 4 year old pair of tai beauty snakes tomorrow, I have been told they are a breeding pair I was wondering up to what age can they breed till? The internet is very vague about this species and have found your blog very interesting, iv only had a corn snake before so any information would be greatly appreciated thanks.

    • avatar

      Hi Stacy,

      Thanks for the kind words. Not much info has been published on breeding ages, as far as I know. A related Asian species I kept at the Bx Zoo (Gonyosoma oxycephala) bred until age 12 or so. Some of the info here will be applicable. Enjoy and please keep me posted, frank

  19. avatar

    Hello sir, I actually wanted to ask you about a different old world rat snake, sorry I wasn’t sure where else to post. I was just wondering if you could share any information or experience, as far as husbandry goes, with Japanese rat snakes (elaphe climacophora). Anything would be appreciated, thank you so much.

    • avatar

      Hi Mike,

      The care requirements for most Asian rat snakes will be very similar. Japanese rat snakes can make great display animals and can come in a variety of color hues. In my own personal experience, climacophora tend to have a slightly higher preference for lizards and eggs as a food source, so scenting rodents might be needed for the first few feedings.


  1. Pingback: The Natural History and Captive Husbandry of the Taiwan Beauty Snake or Chinese Ratsnake, Orthriophis (formerly “Elaphe”) taeniurus friesei - Part II | Pet Reptile Supplies

  2. Pingback: Beauty Rat Snake (Orthriophis taeniurus) - sSNAKESs : Reptile Forum

About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top