Redtailboa.net  

Go Back   Redtailboa.net > Caresheets/Articles > Intermediate keeper series

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-06-2007, 12:09 AM
morti's Avatar
morti morti is offline
Your Sick Uncle Morti.
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 11,906
Send a message via AIM to morti Send a message via Yahoo to morti
The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes



The purpose of the Intermediate Keeper Series of articles is to provide a brief introduction to certain snake species that require slightly more advanced care than the absolute most common species. These are not meant to be care sheets, but a brief overview of natural history, care, and most importantly: What makes these animals interesting captives for the intermediate keeper.

Spilotes pullatus pullatus is a colubrid with an identity crisis. By that I mean there are several accepted common names. The most common is “Tiger Rat Snake” (even though they are not really rat snakes, but more closely related to Indigos and Cribos). I have also heard them called “Mexican Rat Snake”, “Tropical Rat Snake”, “Tropical Chicken Snake”, and “Thunder and Lightning Snake”. We tend to just call them Spilotes, because they are monotypic (ie: the only snake in that genus is S. pullatus and its subspecies).


Spilotes range as far north as Mexico and as far south as northern Argentina, extending pretty much throughout Central and South America. Most naturalists I have spoken with who have found these in the wild tell me that they are pretty much always in trees when they are found, leading to their classification as highly arboreal. In captivity, we find that they seem to spend equal time on the ground and in the branches.

These snakes are large and impressive, with a record size of 14 feet long. Average adult size is near 10 feet for males and 8 feet for females. These potential sizes make this the largest colubrid in the western hemisphere. Due to their large size, huge caging requirements, and tendency to be quite territorial, they qualify as intermediate species. I highly recommend using a good hook to get them out of their cage, or you will most likely lose some blood. Once they are out, however, they are usually pretty handleable. They should be handled with care though as they can be quite flighty both in hand and when disappearing out of the enclosure. "Aww... what a pretty... Hey, where'd it go?!?"


So what makes these worth the extra effort? Behavior! The first thing people who are not used to this species tend to comment on is the long, slow tongue flick. They extend their tongue fully and slowly flick it up and down several times. It is so very different than the lightning fast flicks of most species that it will take you by surprise. After you have observed them for a while, some other unique characteristics will stand out: When threatened, they will rattle their tail and flatten their neck like a cobra, but sideways. It is really impressive to witness. Their courting ritual is also… bizarre… but hey, I could go for pages talking about nothing but their behavior!

Care in 200 words or less.

We keep our pair of adults together all year in a 4’ long x 2’ wide x 3’ tall enclosure with newspaper as a substrate and lots of branches to climb. We keep them paired in the same enclosure because we have found that they need to establish territory to breed. Maintain a daytime temperature of 88-90 with a night time drop to around 75 – 77. Keep the humidity at around 55 – 65%. They will drink from a water dish, but they seem to prefer to drink droplets from misting them and the enclosure. These snakes have a lightning fast metabolism and will defecate 2-3 days after feeding. We feed 2-3 appropriately sized prey items every 5 days for juveniles and every 7 days for adults.


I would recommend Spilotes to Boa people… People who have kept boas and know how to do it properly will probably do pretty well with Spilotes. The hard part is always the temperature and humidity. Get that right and they are really rewarding, hardy captives.

This article was written by and is property of Donnie “Morti” Smith and PrimaReptilia. Any reuse of all or part of this article without express written permission is prohibited. All photographs in this article are also property of PrimaReptilia. All Rights Reserved. PrimaReptilia - 2007.

Last edited by morti; 06-06-2007 at 12:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-06-2007, 12:23 AM
TimOsborne TimOsborne is offline
Regular RTB User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 427
Send a message via AIM to TimOsborne Send a message via MSN to TimOsborne
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

a great article for a truely fascinating species!!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-06-2007, 02:15 AM
SoberGuy SoberGuy is offline
It's getting old...
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,182
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Nice write up! It's always good to hear more about the less popular species.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-06-2007, 04:04 AM
bleeding_sarcasm's Avatar
bleeding_sarcasm bleeding_sarcasm is offline
I am an RTB Addict !
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: East Bay, CA
Posts: 1,781
Send a message via AIM to bleeding_sarcasm Send a message via MSN to bleeding_sarcasm Send a message via Yahoo to bleeding_sarcasm
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Very nice! Inspires me to do up a few write ups as well!
__________________
Tamara Locke

"The library is like a huge, disorganized library, where most of the books are written by idiots and liars."


Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-08-2007, 04:18 PM
pcncb's Avatar
pcncb pcncb is offline
Resident Hungry Man
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,184
Send a message via AIM to pcncb
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Awesome!!! Not too many species better than Spilotes out there. Truely an amazing and unique species
__________________
~Jake~
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-05-2007, 04:44 AM
dirtborder's Avatar
dirtborder dirtborder is offline
Master tailwhip dodger
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mississippi, U.S
Posts: 447
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Very Interesting! I didn't know that they were more closely related to indigos, than ratsnakes. Thanks for putting forth the effort to write this up.
__________________
"If you don't feed it when it is hungry, it will attack and constrict your hand"-Razeraze

"The question you have to ask yourself is should this animal end up meaner than a hornets nest, will you still be able to properly care for it?"-Razeraze
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-18-2007, 03:34 PM
GUYANAROB's Avatar
GUYANAROB GUYANAROB is offline
Get Some!!!!!!!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: CAZENOVIA, NY
Posts: 693
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

i like the neck flare, very impressive.
__________________
1.0 GUYANA RED TAIL
1.1 CORN SNAKES (AMEL AND LAVENDER)
1.1 DUMERILS BOA
1.1 HET ALBINO WESTERN HOGNOSE

Keeping the rodent population in check one week at a time.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-18-2007, 05:21 PM
DannyBoy's Avatar
DannyBoy DannyBoy is offline
Sharp Teeth=CAUTION!
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 2,340
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Nice Morti!!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-15-2009, 04:07 PM
Dundee85's Avatar
Dundee85 Dundee85 is offline
Regular RTB User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 66
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Interesting that the males get larger than the females, a bit of a switch-er-oo.
__________________
Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-15-2009, 04:11 PM
morti's Avatar
morti morti is offline
Your Sick Uncle Morti.
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 11,906
Send a message via AIM to morti Send a message via Yahoo to morti
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dundee85 View Post
Interesting that the males get larger than the females, a bit of a switch-er-oo.
In many species that have "Male Combat" as part of the courtship ritual, males get larger than the females. It is an evolutionary advantage to them.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-15-2009, 04:11 PM
LdyDrgn's Avatar
LdyDrgn LdyDrgn is offline
Guidette
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 8,580
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Dundee, this is true for most colubrids.
__________________
Just keep walking and ignore the monkeys...
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
"To be an authority, one must first accept authority." Colonel Burvelle, Shaman's Crossing written by Robin Hobb
Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.

iHerp. Do you?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-15-2009, 04:18 PM
Dundee85's Avatar
Dundee85 Dundee85 is offline
Regular RTB User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 66
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Hmm... didn't know that. Learn something new everyday on this forum. So you're saying my female corn won't get as big as a male?
__________________
Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

Last edited by Dundee85; 05-15-2009 at 04:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-15-2009, 05:14 PM
LdyDrgn's Avatar
LdyDrgn LdyDrgn is offline
Guidette
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 8,580
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

More than likely, she will remain a bit smaller.
__________________
Just keep walking and ignore the monkeys...
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
"To be an authority, one must first accept authority." Colonel Burvelle, Shaman's Crossing written by Robin Hobb
Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.

iHerp. Do you?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-06-2009, 07:10 AM
HERPHAPPY's Avatar
HERPHAPPY HERPHAPPY is online now
Regular Rattlebrat
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 14,983
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Good stuff...you also see a long slow tongue flick in some pissy rattlesnakes....had a Mojave that did that. It's all about ATTITUDE...
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-16-2011, 04:36 PM
RattlerTZ RattlerTZ is offline
Newbie to RedTailBoa.net
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

Very good write up!! Nice to see people taking interest in a large colubrid snake
__________________
http://www.timsreptiles.co.za

Last edited by RattlerTZ; 12-16-2011 at 04:38 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-23-2013, 01:39 AM
frogmom's Avatar
frogmom frogmom is offline
I Really Need a Life !
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,561
Re: The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition Two – Tiger Rat Snakes

This post has been here a long time.
I just found it !
I love this snake.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Intermediate Keeper Series: Edition One – Short Tailed Pythons morti Intermediate keeper series 16 12-02-2010 06:38 PM
Intermediate Keeper Series natas Redtailboa.net News 10 06-07-2007 10:29 PM
Tiger Rat Snakes??? Pork Chops N' Corn Bread Colubrid 12 11-29-2005 08:25 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2000-2010 Redtailboa.net. The comments are property of their posters,