Why I keep them
- Active snakes that can be observed. My adults are often out in view and enjoy basking.
- Easily kept and bred. I have not found them to be susceptible to disease or need special treatment in order to breed successfully.
- Unlike the more common subspecies cliffordi, these have a good deal of color.
I have kept the successfully using tubs and heat tapes, but given this is a species that will do more than just hide, I keep my adults in 4x2x1 Animal Plastics enclosures. These enclosures are cheap (150$), lightweight, and come with glass doors (anything that scratches is a real pet peeve of mine). The ambient room temperature is upper 70s and a 40 watt heat panel has proven more than enough heat to create a 90-95F hot spot and heat the enclosure to 80-82F on the cool side. I do suspect the RHP and enclosure creates a slightly dry environment as they do drink water and use their hide/egg laying box periodically.
I have found that breeding is pretty simple requiring a male and female snake, otherwise I have not found any special conditions are needed. I live in a four season state, so despite my keeping the room 70s year round, the snakes seem to know when it's time to breed. Another breeding I have spoken with cools his snakes down into the 50s for a few weeks to cycle them.
I have heard that some people had problems with the snakes not using the laying box. I have not had any issues with this. I use a large box that they use all year long for shedding filled with lightly damp ecoearth substrate. It is quite obvious when egg laying will occur as the female patrols restlessly and goes in and out of the box, sometimes excavating areas a few days prior to laying.
It seems that none have been imported recently so the biggest challenge is just obtaining animals to get started with. I would encourage anyone looking for a new project to consider this species as they are well worth the effort to track down.