Experience: Average snake keeper
Food: Live or dead prey. Primary prey animals are mice and rats.
Adult feeding: every 5 days
Feeding young: Every 3 to 5 days
Water basin: Yes
Change water: 3 times a week
There is a choice to offer the prey animals alive or dead. It is advisable to offer dead food. This is because it is more practical and prevents the food animal from injuring your snake. In addition, it is advised 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 grasping your hand during feeding. If you go for live food, you must supervise it during 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 even eat eachother. The ideal prey is about the same with as the widest part of the snake.
The black rat snakes are real swimmers, so the ability to swim or bathe is greatly appreciated. To achieve this, a water bowl is needed large enough for the snake to be able to lie with the whole body, something bigger themselves they will appreciate. Because the snake will lie in it, the water can get dirty faster, so make sure that the water is refreshed when it is dirty. They also drink that water.
A hygienic environment is important to keep your black 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 enclosure must be cleaned and disinfected a few times a year.
From time to time it will happen that you will have to handle your black rat snake. If you use a snake it is advisable to use a snake hook, if not make sure that your snake is easy to handle. The young snakes or snakes that have not been used before can be defensive and can therefore attack. The snake is not poisonous, but it is better to avoid bite injuries. After multiple handling, the snake will automatically get used to it and become less defensive.
Never squeeze your snake during handling, because their vertebrae are fragile and can easily break. Also make sure that your hands are washed and do not smell like food. Finally, do not handle your snake when it is peeling and do not handle it in the dark.