Pantherophis guttatus (corn snake / red rat snake)
Origin: southeast America, northern Mexico
Length: 100 to 180cm
Age: 15 years
The wild red rat snake is colored red, orange, brown and black, with a black and white checkered ventral side. There are all kinds of color forms in captivity.
Experience: Novice snake keeper
Food: Live or dead prey. Main prey animals are mice and rats.
Feed adult: every 5 days
Feed young: Every 3 to 5 days
Water bowl: Yes
Change the water: 3 times a week
There is the choice of offering the prey alive or dead. It is advisable to offer dead food. This is more practical and prevents the food animal from injuring your snake. In addition, it is recommended to offer the food animal with a pair of tongs and to feed your snake outside the enclosure. This ensures that your hand is not associated with food and prevents your snake from grabbing your hand during feeding. If you do go for live food, you must supervise the feeding. The prey can also injure the snake. Feed the rat snake separately, because when two snakes catch the same prey they can injure each other and sometimes eat each other themselves. The ideal prey is about as wide as the widest part of the snake.
The water bowl in the enclosure must be large enough so that the hose can lie in it in its entirety. and will help to keep the humidity level in the tank, the ideal humidity is between 40% and 60%.
A hygienic living environment is important to keep your red rat snake healthy. To achieve this, the accommodation will have to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning once a week is enough. In addition, to prevent the build-up of bacteria, the entire accommodation must be cleaned and disinfected a few times a year.
to get your red rat snake used to contact with people it is advisable to pick up and handle the animal from time to time, but how do you handle a snake, make sure you support the animal at the beginning of the body and halfway to the ends of the body. Never squeeze your hose while handling as their vertebrae are fragile and can break easily. Also make sure your hands are washed and don't smell like food. Finally, do not handle your snake when it is molting and do not handle the animal when it has just eaten. The young snakes or snakes that have not been handled before can be defensive and can attack. The snake is not poisonous, but it is better to avoid bite marks. After multiple handling, the hose will get used to it and become less defensive.
Minimum stay for 1 couple: 100 x 50 x 50
Laying surface: 0.5 m2 and 1 raised platform per hose on which the hose can lie with its entire body.
Day temperature: 24-28C
Night temperature: 18-22C
Hours of light: 12 hours
Humidity degree: 40% -60%
Ground cover: Newspapers, bark, sand or beech chips
The rat snake is a snake that occurs in a variety of areas and therefore needs a varied terrarium in captivity. They like to climb and need climbing opportunities. It is therefore advised to take a terrarium that is higher than 60cm so that the snake can actually climb. The climbing options can be offered in the form of climbing branches. In addition to climbing, they also like to bathe, you can do this by providing a water bowl that is large enough for the snake to lie in with its whole body. Keep in mind that the container is heavy enough so that the hose does not knock it over. The rat snake can be very shy and therefore needs plenty of hiding places. This can be offered in the form of a plastic cave or a piece of cork, make sure that these are large enough that all the hoses in the enclosure can hide under them. The red rat snake also likes to toss and turn, you can offer this by offering thicker bedding.
Before the stay there are some extra things that need to be taken into account. The red rat snake is able to squeeze itself through small cracks. Keep this in mind and make sure that there are no small cracks in the enclosure that it will fit through. In addition, ventilation is required to keep the air fresh and it is advisable to place the stay out of the bright sun and as vibration-free as possible.
Hunting method: Strangulation snake.
Lifestyle: Semi-arboreal & day / night active
The red rat snake is an active snake and adapts easily to its environment. They are good climbers. Make interesting and lively pets in captivity.
Points of attention red rat snakes can be defensive, especially in the enclosure. Pay attention to this when handling your hose to avoid unnecessary injury. Regular handling will eventually tame and calm the snake.
Costs and Purchase
Legislation: No documentation is needed to keep a red rat snake.
One-off costs: This includes the costs for the accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. All together this can cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros. The final amount depends on the quality and size of the products.
Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, which is several tens of euros per year.
Unexpected costs: Costs have been incurred when your snake happens to get sick or your equipment breaks down.