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Category Archives: Non-venomous Snakes

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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of non-venomous snake species. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning non-venomous snakes.

Rough and Smooth Green Snakes – Beautiful Insect-Eaters for Planted Terrariums – Part 1

Rough Green SnakeLarger rodent-eating snakes, especially those that take well to handling, have long dominated reptile collections.  However, there is another side to snake-keeping – small, insectivorous species that, unlike their larger relatives, thrive in naturalistic terrariums.  Of these, my all-time favorites are the Rough and Smooth Green Snakes (Opheodrys aestivus and O. vernalis).

The captive care information below refers mainly to the Rough Green Snake, which is more commonly kept, but applies to the Smooth Green as well. Read More »

“Help, My Ball Python Won’t Eat” – The Troublesome Habits of a Popular Pet – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article to read about theories that may explain this species’ (annoying!) habit of fasting for long periods.

Feeding Techniques

If your snake goes on a “hunger strike”, try leaving a (dead) mouse or small rat in the terrarium overnight, hiding it within a cave (“finding” the food seems to stimulate some snakes) or moving it about with a long-handled tongs. Read More »

“Help! My Ball Python Won’t Eat” – The Troublesome Habits of a Popular Snake – Part 1

Pet Ball Python, LucyAlso known as the Royal Python (Python regius), this smallest of Africa’s pythons is also the one best suited for captivity…one Ball Python lived at the Philadelphia Zoo for a record 47.6 years.  However, even long-term captives often exhibit the disturbing habit of refusing food for long periods.  This tendency is the source of a great many questions that I receive from both neophyte and well-experienced snake keepers. Read More »

Breeding the Rosy Boa

Rosy Boa EatingSpring is in the air in the Northern Hemisphere, and snake keepers are busy preparing for another breeding season.  Species that range into temperate regions are especially likely to be stimulated to reproduce as the seasons change.  For those interested in boas, I highly recommend working with North America’s beautiful Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata).  Small, hardy and live-bearing, this gem among constrictors is a great choice for both first- time and advanced breeders. Read More »

Snake Escapes – Recovering Cobras and other Snakes in Zoos and Homes – Part 2

coiled snakePlease see Part I of this article for some cobra and python escape stories set in NYC.

The “Ditmar’s Trap”

I first became aware of snake traps through The Reptiles of North America, written by legendary Bronx Zoo curator Raymond Ditmars.  Mr. Ditmars recounted capturing Northern Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon) by securing fish to strings that were anchored to stumps in likely locations…a feat I was later to repeat successfully on several occasions (snakes have trouble backing off prey once it has been swallowed, and Watersnakes are especially ravenous feeders).  If you have collected Watersnakes by hand, you’ll understand the attraction of a method that spares one’s skin!  Read More »

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