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Looking for up-to-date Colubrid Care Information

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  • Looking for up-to-date Colubrid Care Information

    If there's anyone here that keeps some of the more common colubrids, would you be willing to recommend a source for up-to-date husbandry information? Obviously I'm doing my own looking, but it took me a while to find good boa information, and I know that most people here truly care about their animals and would probably know about the current best-practices if they keep them...

    The reason friend's father is ill, and is looking for a new home for their snake. My friend thought that it was a milk snake, but based on her description of it, it sounded like a small rat snake (i.e., corn snake) to me. Supposedly he is ~20 years old, so I don't know how long I'll have with him, but I do want to make sure that that time is as good as possible for him.

    Also as far as taking him in, they were planning to feed him today, and I said that I wouldn't really feel comfortable moving him until a week after he has eaten, so if they did feed him today, it would be next weekend, otherwise, it could be the middle of the week. I know that colubrids have a faster metabolism than boids, but it felt like a week would be safer...I was also planning to wait a week after moving him to offer food; is two weeks without food ok for a small colubrid like that?

    There's also the issue of quarantine, for which my plan is to put him in a room across the house from my boas, and not do anything with them without several thorough hand washings after touching him or his cage. Hopefully that's sufficient, although at 20 years in the same house, he would hopefully not have any major hidden illnesses...

  • #2
    Re: Looking for up-to-date Colubrid Care Information

    I've been keeping them so long that I haven't looked anything up in a long while...too long to recommend 'current sources'. Those I kept initially were researched in various places...ever hear of 'books'? LOL

    First you need to find out what it is though...can you post a photo? Describing it as "little" doesn't help if you're comparing it to a boa, and there's many kinds of milk snakes & many kinds of rat snakes as well.

    You should be fine to move the snake about 3 days after he eats, assuming his new location is set up and he's not handled unnecessarily. Your quarantine plan sounds ok to's very unlikely for there to
    be any issues if that was their only snake...especially if he's about 20 years old. Most colubrids will let you know they want food after about 10 days, especially in the warmer months of the year, but waiting
    2 weeks certainly will not hurt. That's great that you're taking this snake in. Colubrids are awesome! And mostly easier than boas...need less heat, & most need no extra humidity...certainly nothing like boas do.


    • #3
      Re: Looking for up-to-date Colubrid Care Information

      haha, "books"? i think i used to have some of those on a shelf somewhere maybe... :P (but really, the only colubrid book have is one on cornsnakes that is about 30 years old and has them under the Elaphae genus. a reference book would definitely be a good thing, though, and i have them for boas...don't know why i didn't even think about books now...).

      i now think that it's probably an eastern milk snake, as that reconciles the milk snake part with the way he was described to me. i had always thought of milksnakes as being just banded, and that a more spotted/argyle pattern didn't exist on milksnakes, but, well, now i know better...


      • #4
        Re: Looking for up-to-date Colubrid Care Information

        For corn snakes, try Kathy Love's book, Corn Snakes: The Comprehensive Owner's Guide (The Herpetocultural Library)

        That would also be acceptable for any of the North American rat snakes, milk snakes, kings, and gopher snakes. There are other sources that are more narrowly focused.

        Best thing would be to post a picture of the snake to be sure we have a good identification before spending any money.