Turtles as Pets: New Species to Try in 2014

Turtle enthusiasts are, in my experience, among the most intense of all reptile keepers. Passionate (and financially well-off!) friends of mine have maintained astonishing collections – upwards of 2,000 specimens in several cases – and their desire to learn remains undiminished. In recent years, refined breeding techniques have introduced and re-introduced many fascinating species to the pet trade. Today I’d like to cover several that might interest folks with varying degrees of experience. I’ll review others in the future…until then, please post notes about your own favorites (“new” or “old”) below, as those mentioned here are just a small sample.

 

Peacock Slider, Trachemys scripta venusta

Peacock Slider

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Magnus Manske

Also known as the Meso-American Slider, this aptly-named beauty truly is the “peacock” of its family, and one of the most spectacularly-colored of all American turtles. Hatchlings must be seen to be believed (unfortunately, the only photo I was able to use does not do the species justice; please click here for other photos), and they fade but little with age. The numerous dark-centered, orange-ringed spots that decorate the olive to bright green carapace are unique in the turtle world, and they are off set nicely by the yellow-striped head and legs.

 

The Peacock Slider’s range extends from southern Mexico (Veracruz) through Guatemala and Belize to El Salvador and Honduras. Within much of this area, it can be quite common…image having this as your local “pond turtle”! Like its cousin the Red Eared Slider, the Peacock spends much time basking on logs, plunging (or “sliding”) into water when disturbed.

 

Unfortunately for those with limited space, this is the largest of the 15 Common Slider subspecies, with females sometimes topping 19 inches in length. Otherwise, it is quite hardy and may be kept and fed as are Red Eared and other sliders (please see the article linked below for detailed information). A male (the smaller sex) might get by in a 55-75 gallon aquarium, but females need tanks of 100 gallon capacity, or commercial turtle tubs and ponds.

 

Keeled Box Turtle

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Torsten Blanck

Keeled Box Turtle, Cuora (Pyxidea) mouhotii

This subtly-beautiful turtle has been largely ignored by hobbyists and zoos alike, but it is now gaining in popularity.

 

Also known as the Jagged-Shelled or Indian Thorn Turtle, it bears a unique carapace which is flattened on top and decorated with 3 distinctive keels. The shell is clad in varying shades of brown, tan and rust, and is serrated at the rear edge. A hinge in the plastron of the adults allows the head and front limbs to be sealed tightly into the shell. They top out at 7 inches in length.

 

The Keeled Box Turtle ranges from southern China and eastern India through Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. It is not well-studied in the wild, but seems to be restricted to forests and other habitats with thick plant cover.

Interestingly, they are reported to be largely nocturnal. However, a 30+ year-old pair under my care were content to forage by day. Night viewing bulbs will help you observe those that may be slow to give up their nocturnal ways.

 

Their care follows that of most American Box Turtles (Terrepene spp.), but in demeanor they are much shyer. Mine thrived on a diet comprised of vegetables, fruits, crickets, earthworms, pink mice and commercial turtle chows such as Zoo Med Box Turtle Food.

 

Pairs must be watched closely, as males often bite females during courtship. A typical clutch contains 1-5 eggs, which hatch after an incubation period of 95-110 days at 82 F. Please see the article linked below for further information.

 

Yellow Spotted Sideneck

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Obsidian Soul

The Yellow-Spotted Sideneck Turtle, Podocnemis unifilis,

This attractive South American turtle commonly appeared in the US trade in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Scarce in the decades since, it is now making a comeback. It sports a yellow-rimmed, olive-gray carapace, with large, bright yellow or orange-yellow spots decorating the head.

 

The Yellow Spotted Sideneck inhabits northern and central South America, from Guyana, French Guiana and Venezuela to Columbia, Ecuador, northeastern Peru, northern Bolivia and Brazil; it may also be present on Trinidad and Tobago.

 

An active, semi-aquatic turtle that reaches 12-18 inches in length, the Yellow-Spotted Sideneck is best kept by those with room for a 100+ gallon aquarium or a commercial turtle tub or pond. Dry basking areas and ample UVB exposure are essential. Youngsters are largely carnivorous, adding plants to the menu as they mature. Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle Food,specifically formulated for Sidenecks and similar turtles, may be used as a cornerstone of the diet. Please see the article linked below for additional information on the natural history and care of this spectacular turtle

 

Hi, my name is Frank Indiviglio. I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquariums, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook.   Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable. I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly. Thanks, until next time, Frank.

 

Further Reading

 

Yellow Spotted Sideneck Turtle Care

 

Keeled Box Turtle Care

 

Slider, Map and Painted Turtle Care

 

The Best Small Snake Pet? Suprise! The Brown Snake

Northern Brown Snake

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Westportchickenboy

The first wild snake I encountered as a child, on a dead-end street in the Bronx, measured a mere 10 inches long. However, it excited me as much as did the huge anacondas and pythons I visited regularly at the Bronx and Staten Island Zoos, and the American Museum of Natural History. That particular Northern Brown or DeKay’s Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi) escaped, but you can bet I searched nonstop until I found another! Happily, this adaptable little serpent continues to hang on in the most unlikely habitats…each year I receive several in need of rehab, collected in busy Manhattan neighborhoods. This overlooked snake has much to offer reptile enthusiasts. It can be comfortably-housed in a 10 gallon tank, does not eat rodents, and it’s the young are produced alive, eliminating the hassle of egg-incubation. Brown Snakes are ideal candidates for naturalistic terrariums stocked with live plants, and when kept so they will exhibit a wider range of natural behaviors than can be expected from large snakes – it’s just far easier to provide them with all that they need. As a career herpetologist, I’ve gone on to care for and observe in the wild the same huge snakes that entranced me so long ago…yet I still maintain Brown Snakes, and watch them in my yard at every opportunity.

 

Brown Snake Description

Slender and graceful, the Brown Snake averages a mere 9-13 inches in length, although exceptionally-large individuals may reach 20 inches. The largest I recall handling measured 14.5 inches.

 

Most are clad in various shades of brown (no surprises there!) or tan, but some individuals sport an attractive reddish or yellow hue. Brown Snakes are often confused with Garter Snakes, but may be distinguished by the two lines of black spots that run along their backs.

 

Range and Habitat

The Brown Snake is one of North America’s most widespread and common snakes. The seven subspecies range from southern Canada through much of the USA through Mexico to Guatemala.

 

Northern Brown Snake

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Maberlyn

Equally at home in fields, swamps, forest edges or suburban yards, the Brown Snake’s secretive ways also allow it to survive in parks and overgrown lots in urban areas. It is often the first (and, in NYC, the only!) snake to be found and brought home by curious children.

 

In undisturbed habitats, it shelters below leaf litter, fallen logs and rocks. Big city Brown Snakes utilize old tires, boards, sheet metal and other rubbish as hiding sites, and often do very well if left alone. Not long ago, I uncovered a very dense population sandwiched between a busy commercial area and a major roadway in Queens, NYC. I was once called to a busy Bronx street to remove one that was uncovered when a stoop was being demolished. Given the nature of the area, this individual likely spent most of its life within the concrete channels of that stairway! Amazingly, I’ve also found Red-backed Salamanders living in similar situations.

 

The Terrarium

A single Brown Snake will do fine in a 10 gallon aquarium; a 20 gallon will support 2-3 adults. The tank’s screen lid should be secured by cage clips.

 

Unlike most snakes, Brown Snakes do not fare well on newspapers, or in bare enclosures. Their terrarium should instead be furnished with a mixture of a rainforest-type reptile substrate (i.e. Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding) and coco-husk; I like to add dead leaves as well. Many individuals will shelter below the substrate, but caves, bark slabs and cork bark should also be provided.

 

Pothos, Chinese Evergreens and other hardy plants, or naturalistic plastic plants, will help your snakes to feel comfortable. Once they settle in, you can expect to see a wide variety of behaviors.

 

Light, Heat and Humidity

Heat bulbs or ceramic heaters should be used to maintain an ambient temperature of 72-78 F and a basking temperature of 83-85 F.

 

Both humid and dry areas should be provided. A cave stocked with moist sphagnum moss makes an ideal moist retreat.

 

Although UVB light is not essential, some experienced keepers believe UVA exposure, and low levels of UVB, may be beneficial for other diurnal, insectivorous snakes. The Zoo Med 2.0 would be a good choice if you wish to experiment.

 

Brown Snake Breeding

Well-adjusted Brown Snakes often delight their owners by reproducing. Five to thirty young are born alive at various times from spring through fall. Measuring only 3 to 4 ½ inches in length, newborns might easily be mistaken for earthworms were it not for their alert demeanor. A short cooling off period and reduced light cycle may encourage breeding, but this does not seem essential.

 

Consuming salamander

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Bdempster

Diet

The natural diet includes earthworms, beetle grubs, slugs, caterpillars and other soft-bodied invertebrates. In some habitats, Red-Backed Salamanders and the young of other woodland species, and small or newly-transformed frogs, are taken as well (please see photo). Pets do fine on a diet of earthworms, waxworms, calci-worms and butterworms; mealworm pupae, housefly larvae, and canned silkworms are accepted by some individuals. I also collect and offer cutworms and other smooth caterpillars, beetle grubs and slugs (please see articles linked below).

 

While vertebrate prey is not needed, some believe that insectivorous snakes should be provided with calcium supplements. I’ve not found this necessary for individuals kept on a varied diet anchored with well-fed earthworms. For snakes fed a more limited diet, a once weekly dose of ZooMed Repti-Calcium, or a similar product, might be useful.

 

Brown Snakes do best when fed several small weekly meals. Allowing earthworms and other invertebrates to establish themselves in the terrarium will provide your pets with hunting opportunities, and yourself with much of interest to observe.

 

Temperament

Shy and always on guard (they are on the menus of a great many predators!) these little snakes can rarely even be induced to bite. Stressed individuals may release musk, but most take short periods of gentle handling in stride. However, they are lightly-built and are best considered as a poet to observe rather than handle frequently.

Hi, my name is Frank Indiviglio. I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquariums, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook.   Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable. I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly. Thanks, until next time, Frank.

 

Further Reading

 

Collecting Insects for Captive Reptiles

 

Garter Snake Care

 

The 5 Best Snake Pets

Leopard Gecko or Bearded Dragon? Choosing the Best Pet Lizard

Bearded dragon

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by André Karwath

Leopard Geckos and Bearded Dragons have stellar reputations among lizard enthusiasts. In fact, they come as close to being perfect pets as any reptile can. However, there are major differences in their habits, activity levels and care needs, and it’s important to be aware of these when choosing a pet. When an animal is active, how much its care will cost, the space it needs and other factors will affect your pet-keeping experience and your new lizard’s quality of life. In the following article I’ll compare Leopard Geckos and Bearded Dragons in all relevant areas. Detailed care information is provided in the articles linked under “Further Reading”; as always, please also post any questions or observations you may have.

Reptile Handling
Most lizards are best considered as “hands-off” pets, but both Leopard Geckos and Bearded Dragons break this rule. Although individual personalities vary, both adapt well to gentle handling, and are not stressed by human contact.

Activity Levels
Neither is overly active, but both have fascinating behaviors that are well-worth watching for. Bearded Dragons are out and about by day, at which time they bask (their most common “activity”!), feed, and display to tank-mates.

Leopard Geckos, being nocturnal, are ideal for owners who are “night owls”. They will become active in a dimly lit room, or you can equip the terrarium with a black or red reptile night bulb (lizards do not sense the light produced by these bulbs). Leopard Geckos sometimes emerge during the day as well, especially if food is offered.

Life Span
A Leopard Gecko in the St. Louis Zoo’s collection lived for a record 28.6 years. The published longevity for a Bearded Dragon is 15 years, but there are unofficial reports of individuals approaching age 20.

Leopard gecko

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Jerome66

Lizard Reproduction
Both species breed reliably, and a wide variety of color morphs are available. Please see the articles linked below for detailed information.

Cost
Bearded Dragons require larger terrariums and higher temperatures than do Leopard Geckos, and must be provided with a source of UVB radiation (Leopard Geckos and other nocturnal lizards get along fine without UVB bulbs). Therefore, Leopard Geckos are the less-expensive pet, in terms of supplies and electricity use.

Terrarium Size (single adult)
Leopard Gecko: 10-20 gallon (larger is preferable)
Bearded Dragon: 30 gallon

Temperature
Leopard Gecko: 72-85 F, with a basking site of 88 F
Bearded Dragon: 75-88 F, with a basking site of 95-110 F

Lizard Diet
Leopard Geckos are carnivorous. Young Bearded Dragons feed largely upon insects, adding plants to the diet as they mature.

Both require highly varied diets comprised of vitamin/mineral supplemented roaches, silkworms, crickets and other invertebrates. Bearded Dragons also need various greens and, perhaps, a high quality commercial food.  Mealworms and crickets alone, even if sprinkled with supplements, are not an adequate diet for either lizard. Please see the articles linked below for more information on diet.

Bearded Dragon

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Frank C. Müller

Health Concerns (Pet and Pet Owner)
Intestinal impactions that result from the ingestion of sand and gravel are perhaps the most commonly-encountered health concern (both species). This can be avoided by the use of cage liners, or by feeding your lizards in large bowls, via tongs, or in a separate, bare-bottomed enclosure. Young lizards, being clumsy hunters, are more likely to swallow substrate than are adults.

Diseases related to poor nutrition are common among lizards maintained on crickets and mealworms alone, and in Bearded Dragons that do not receive adequate UVB exposure (Vitamin D3 is manufactured in the skin, in the presence of UVB). Both species sometimes refuse food in the winter, even if kept warm (please see this article for further information).

If a moist shelter is not available, Leopard Geckos sometimes retain the eyelid lining after shedding. Please see this article.

Atadenovirus infections are becoming increasingly common among Bearded Dragons. Unfortunately, the resulting “Wasting Disease” or “Star Gazing” is incurable. Please see this article for further information.

Salmonella bacteria, commonly present in reptile and amphibian digestive tracts, can cause severe illnesses in people. Handling an animal will not cause an infection, as the bacteria must be ingested. Salmonella infections are easy to avoid via the use of proper hygiene. Please speak with your family doctor concerning details, and feel free to post below if you would like links to useful resources.

Hi, my name is Frank Indiviglio. I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquariums, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook. Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable. I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly. Thanks, until next time, Frank.

Further Reading

Complete Guide to Bearded Dragon Care

Complete Guide to Leopard Gecko Care

Breeding Leopard Geckos

 

 

The World’s Most Colorful Snake: 100 Flower Rat Snake Care

Mandarin Ratsnake

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Papas2010

Although various American ratsnakes have long been pet trade staples, Asian species have received far less attention from snake enthusiasts.  Among them, however, we find a fantastic diversity of colorful, interesting species, some of which are now being bred in captivity.  My favorite is the magnificent Moellendorff’s Ratsnake or 100 Flower Snake (Orthriophis moellendorffi).  It’s other common names – Red-Headed Ratsnake, Flower Snake and Trinket Snake – are a testament to its striking coloration.  Considered by many to be the most beautiful of all ratsnakes (“designer morphs” included!), Moellendorff’s Ratsnake care is now fairly well-understood…and it may well become the next “break-out” species from Asia!

 

Please Note: Unfortunately, I had difficulty finding photos that would reproduce well for this article.  The youngster pictured below is not as colorful as are many.  The other ratsnake species pictured here will give you some idea of the beautiful colors and variations exhibited by this fascinating group.  Please click here to view other photos of the 100 Flower Snake.

 

Juvenile100 Flower Snake

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Etienne Boncourt

Description

The Chinese name for this striking creature – 100 Flower Snake – seems to me to be the most appropriate of all.  A dazzling variety of blotches, which vary in color from rust-red to black, mark the body.  Areas of red or orange usually adorn the head, and re-appear along the lower third of the body.  The jet black eye is encircled by brilliant orange.

 

Individual 100 Flower Snakes exhibit a mind-boggling array of variations to this basic pattern…even, it seems, within the same geographic area.   In fact, breeders are generally unable to predict what the youngsters will look like!  Adults reach 5-8 feet in length.

 

Natural History

Field studies are, lacking, but over-collection for the food trade is said to have placed this snake in jeopardy.  As far as is known, the 100 Flower Snake is limited in range to southeastern China and northern Vietnam.

 

Copper-Headed Ratsnake

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by steve kharmawphlang

It is most frequently found in and near limestone caves on rocky hillsides, and among nearby bamboo thickets.  Lightly-wooded fields and riverside brush are also utilized. Hopefully, further studies will shed more light on its range, habits and conservation needs.

 

Scant published observations indicate that the 100 Flower Snake preys upon ground squirrels, rats, bats and other small mammals, birds and, perhaps, lizards and frogs.

 

The Terrarium

100 Flower Snakes seem stressed by small enclosures, and should be provided with proportionally larger accommodations than their American counterparts.  While a 55-75 gallon aquarium will suit small individual, larger adults are best provided custom-built cages measuring at least 6 x 4 x 4 feet.  Stout climbing branches should be provided.

 

Cypress mulch is preferable to newspapers as a substrate.

 

Heat and Humidity

100 Flower Snakes seem adapted to cool conditions, and fare best at temperatures that are relatively low by snake standards; wild individuals shelter in caves and forage in the early morning and evenings. An ambient temperature of 70-77 F should be established, along with a basking temperature of 78 F; a dip to 68 F at night may be beneficial.

 

Some keepers indicate that their snakes show a decided preference for subdued lighting.

 

Shedding difficulties often occur in overly-dry environments.  A humidity level of 50-60% is ideal, but dry basking areas must also be available.  A hygrometer and small reptile mister may be useful in maintaining proper humidity levels. The need for dry and moist areas and a varying temperature gradient argues in favor of providing this species with the largest possible enclosure.

 

A dry cave or other shelter, and another stocked with moist sphagnum moss, should be provided.

 

Diet

Despite their size, adults should be fed smaller meals than would be offered to similarly-sized individuals of other species.  Although we still have much to learn, it seems that adult rats may cause digestive problems.  Fuzzy rats (“hoppers”), rat pups and pink or fuzzy mice are often favored.  Some individuals prefer chicks, but usually accept chick-scented rodents.

 

Reproduction

Captive breeding is infrequent but on the rise…this trend will undoubtedly continue as more snake enthusiasts become aware of this beautiful snake.  A 2-3 month cooling off period at 58-62 F seems to stimulate breeding behavior. Clutches generally contain 5-8 eggs, which should be incubated at 80-82 F for 80-90 days.

 

Handling

Individual tolerance of handling varies almost as much as does their color pattern!  As with most snakes, wild-caught animals may remain defensive for quite some time.  It appears that the 100 Flower Snake is a retiring species that prefers to be left alone.  However, captive-bred individuals usually adjust well to careful handling.  As with all snakes, caution must be exercised when they are being fed or handled.

Hi, my name is Frank Indiviglio.  I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquariums, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.

 

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook.   Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable.  I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly.  Thanks, until next time, Frank.

 

Further Reading

 

Natural History and Captive Care of the Taiwan Beauty Snake

 

Keeping Red-Tailed and Jansen’s Ratsnakes

The World’s Most Venomous Snakes: Working with Mambas and King Cobras

Black mamba

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Tad Arensmeier

The dangers posed by a specific snake species depends upon a great many factors (please see below).  It is clear, however, that venomous snakes are a serious health concern…according to a recent study, each year’s 4.5 million venomous snakebites result in 100,000 deaths and 250,000 permanent disabilities (figures are approximate, please see the article linked below for details).  Certain large constrictors have also caused fatalities. In the course of field research in Venezuela, I observed a Green Anaconda attack a co-worker in what clearly was a feeding attempt.  Please see “Further Reading”, below, to read about both this incident and a recent study of human predation by Reticulated Pythons.   Today I’ll focus on the 2 most dangerous species that I’ve found most challenging as captives – the world’s largest and Africa’s longest venomous snakes, the King Cobra (Ophiophagus  hannah) and the Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis).

 

A Note on “The Most Dangerous”

Widespread species that adapt well to human presence, such as Puff Adders, bite far more people than do, for example, sea snakes and others that might have more potent venom, but which rarely encounter humans.  Wild Black Mambas readily colonize farms and villages, benefitting from the increased availability of shelter and food (rodents, nesting birds).  King Cobras, on the other hand, tend to live in more undisturbed habitats.  Venom evolution, a snake’s size, the availability of antivenin, individual sensitivities and a host of other considerations also complicate the issue.

 

Here I’m mainly considering captive care (in zoos…venomous snakes should never be kept in private collections!).

 

King Cobra skull

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Mokele

Large, Alert, Fast and Smart!

Cobras and mambas are classified in the family Elapidae, which contains 354 members.  Among them we find several species that are considered to be high-strung and aggressive when confronted.  While King Cobras and Black Mambas often retreat if able, encounters in homes, barns or, in my case, zoo exhibits, may lead to attacks.  And the large size attained by each increases both the potential strike range and the amount of venom that may be delivered by a bite.

 

Another difficulty presented to zookeepers is the fact that cobras and mambas are hard to move via a snake hook.  Incredibly-fast and quick to figure out what’s going on, they more often than not land on the floor when being “hooked”.

 

For safety’s sake, I try to rely upon hunger and other “hands-off” tricks when relocating these formidable creatures (please see below), but that is not always possible.  While rummaging through a storage area in the Bronx Zoo’s reptile house, I once found a homemade shield used decades ago by keepers entering the King Cobra exhibit.  One keeper in particular was said to become very concerned if the cobras seemed hungry, or their cage needed servicing; armed with his shield, he would enter quite often (the King Cobras under my care moved into their shift cage when I needed to enter…or else they remained hungry!).

 

“Curious Cobras”

Those who work with King Cobras often describe them as “curious”.  I can’t disagree, although when servicing their exhibits I found this trait to be un-nerving, to say the least!   Actually, all cobra species I’ve cared for exhibited an unusual degree of alertness, and responded immediately to what was going on around them.  For example, both Egyptian and King Cobras, perhaps sensing my footsteps in the service area behind their exhibits, would rear up and face the small sliding window I looked through before opening their exhibit doors.  As I slid back the window’s cover, a cobra was nearly always peering back at me…in a lifetime of working with snakes, I’ve not seen this done by any other species.

 

King cobra

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Hari Prasad

My most harrowing King Cobra incident involved an escaped individual at an airport.  Fortunately, I went the “brains over brawn” route and emerged unscathed – much to the disappointment of the several young onlookers who expected a battle!  Please see this article for the details.

 

How Do You Get a Black Mamba into a Pillow Case?

This disturbing question confronted me when I was called upon to ship the Staten Island Zoo’s resident specimen to another institution.  If anything, mambas are faster and harder to deal with than cobras…individuals cornered in homes have quickly caused multiple fatalities.  An adult can deliver 120 mg of venom in a single bite, and the lethal dose is only 10-15 mg, so this is not a creature to be taken lightly.  Again, I shamelessly used under-handed tricks to accomplish my task…please see this article for the details.

 

King Cobra and Black Mamba Natural History

While much is made of the dangers posed by these snakes, less attention is paid to the details of their lives in the wild.  Mamba and cobra diets, breeding behaviors, threat displays and colonization of human-dominated landscapes are especially fascinating, and quite unique.  I’ve written about their natural behaviors in the articles linked below.

Hi, my name is Frank Indiviglio.  I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career spent at several zoos, aquariums, and museums, including over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook.   Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable.  I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly.  Thanks, until next time, Frank.

 

Further Reading

Anaconda Attacks: Notes from the Field

Human Predation by Wild Reticulated Pythons

Venomous Snakebites Worldwide

King Cobra Natural History

Black Mamba Natural History

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