Eastern gray ratsnake query

Captive care and husbandry discussions.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » June 27th, 2014, 7:44 am

Hi, everyone.
I have two male CB eastern gray ratsnakes. One is about 15 yrs old, a little over six feet, and very thick. The other is about 4 feet long, thinner, age unknown (was a rescue from a terrible owner). They are currently housed in separate enclosures.
Can they safely be housed together in a 75 gallon terrarium? I do not want them to be stressed.
Thanks in advance for your guidance.
Tamara

User avatar
justinm
Posts: 3423
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by justinm » June 27th, 2014, 10:13 am

I would say there's a small amount of risk, I've seen Ratsnakes each other snakes. If well fed and maintained I wouldn't think it would be a big issue. Definitely feed in a separate enclosure though, that will minimize a lot of risk.

User avatar
BillMcGighan
Posts: 2308
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by BillMcGighan » June 27th, 2014, 3:00 pm

The short answer, Tam, is that the males will get along fine in that size cage, though Justin’s warning is very worth taking seriously.

Even after feeding them separately, wait a while (at least ½ hour) for the meals to register and take the feeding frenzy away, before putting them back together.



Speaking of just North American Rat Snakes, The “obsoletus” group and the “guttatus” group generally have no problem with each other. Conversely, putting Trans-pecos Rat Snake males and Fox snake males together, especially if a female is present, often means fights and stress.




Of course, there is always the “old guy” long-winded discussion, so quit reading now.

There is controversy amongst the different facets of herpetoculturists.

Both lines of thought have merit:


One line of thought is to always keep snakes individually where their health, growth, sheds, feeding and breeding can be strictly monitored and controlled. Big breeders use these allot and it makes good commercial sense. It’s much more convenient for feeding and makes breeding a closely predictable event.
Many, maybe most, hobby keepers use this “single animal per cage” method for convenience and similar reasons. One, the best, is that, if an animal gets sick, it is already quarantined and treatment can be focused on the sick animal.
Ophiophagic snakes are exceptionally risky, but, even here I know a pioneer Kingsnake breeder who used communal cages.


Other line of thought is mostly by hobbyists who use display cages, especially in Europe, and want to create as natural life cycle as possible to observe. These are communal cages.

The down side is the feeding issue, and, if one animal is sick (regurging or loose stool), you don’t know immediately who is sick.


My personal approach for my NA collection is mostly a communal cage of a pair per cage. Feeding is monitored closely, a hint of health issue is dealt with by treating everyone in the cage, and breeding happens when they choose. Often, I don’t even see them breed, but there is no doubt when females are ready to lay eggs.


Image

User avatar
jayder85
Posts: 369
Joined: January 1st, 2012, 7:14 am
Location: Pike County KY
Contact:

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by jayder85 » June 27th, 2014, 6:09 pm

Bill hit the nail on the head and drove both points home. My personal animals are all kept seperately, even those of the same species. Yet, at the same time, many of the display animals at work are kept communally. I keep a Black Rat and a Corn together on display because they do well together, they are both KY native snakes and it is a great comparison display. I just feed them seperately. The Louisville Zoo have kept a Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake together for years. Their keeper is a good friend of mine and there have never been issues. I also keep a large enclosure at work with Grey Treefrogs, a Box Turtle and two Rough Green Snakes together with no incident. A key factor is ensuring that they have plenty of room to get away from one another.

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » June 27th, 2014, 7:05 pm

Thanks, fellas, for the insight. I appreciate getting the benefit of your experiences.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4327
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by Kelly Mc » June 27th, 2014, 7:39 pm

Not just One, but Two beautiful serpents got lucky, in a circle of special people.

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Eastern gray ratsnake query

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » June 28th, 2014, 5:47 am

Thanks, Kelly.

Post Reply