Snakes

KINGSNAKES

Calleigh III and Snowflake Obsidian  
Kingsnakes are "the top of the chain" in the USA. Non-venomous but immune to the venom of other local snakes, they will keep the area free of rattlesnakes while being harmless to humans. Their colour and p
attern identifies where they originate from; Calleigh is a California Kingsnake and Snowflake Obsidian is a Florida Kingsnake.

The original 
Calleigh (2003) was offered to us as an experienced "party snake" instead of payment for work we had done, and was named after Calleigh Duquesne (CSI: Miami) - beautiful and dangerous! Unfortunately she died as the result of a tumour. Calleigh III came to us when her young owners "outgrew h
er", and is so laid back that she really can be tied up in knots.                                                 



Snowflake Obsidian (usually known as Snowflake) was donated to us when he and his home started taking up too much room for his owner.  He is a large snake for a King and unusually friendly and tame.  Sure to be a success with all those who encounter him, we are excited to have the opportunity to demonstrate such a fine and unusual animal.  At five feet (1.7 m) he'll be a good introduction for those not familiar with snakes, but not yet willing to handle something bigger.

Photo from Snakes'N'Adders until we have the chance to get our own.

The Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) is a non-venomous colubrid snake found in the western United States and Northern Mexico. It is naturally found in a wide variety of habitats. 

One of the most popular snakes in captivity, the California Kingsnake can vary widely in appearance due to numerous naturally occurring and captive-developed colour morphs. Most commonly patterned with a ground coulour of black or dark brown with between 20 and 47 white bands or a single stripe doen the middle of the back. It has smooth non-keeled scales and a relatively cylindrical body. They average 3-5 feet (1-1.7 m) in length as adults, and females are usually larger than males.

BURMESE PYTHONS

Citrine and Alexa  
Citrine
 
(2000) is our albino Burmese python. She had breathing difficulties and her owner wasn't prepared to consider vets bills. A magazine article we had seen suggested that aromatherapy might help, and she has made good progress in our care. She has a habit of hooking her tail through her handler's belt loops for safety.  Citrine has done a little "commercial" work, appearing in two music videos. In July 2014 she became an honorary member of The Matchbox Theatre, appearing as an oversized asp in a short piece based around a production of Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra'. At 13 feet (4 m) Citrine's just too big to be termed a dwarf, but she has reached her full size.
Photograph by Leila Ellis

Alexa (2006) demonstrates the natural colours of Burmese pythons, and was named through a public competition we ran when she joined us. Formerly a family pet, she came to us when the youngest child of the family started crawling and trying to open Alexa's vivarium to play with her; even though Alexa is 
a very gentle snake, it was thought safest that Alexa was found another home. Alexa is slightly smaller than Citrine, but still a substantial snake.

The Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the six largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of tropic and subtropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic. Wild individuals average 12 ft (3.7 metres) and individuals over 16 ft (5 metres) are very rare.

There are also dwarf forms on Java, Bali and Sulawesi. At Bali they reach an average length of 6.6 ft (2 metres) and on Sulawesi they achieve a maximum of 8.2 ft (2.5 metres).


Normal Burmese Pythons are dark-coloured snakes with many brown blotches bordered in black down the back. The attractiveness of their skin pattern contributes to their popularity with both reptile keepers. The pattern is similar in colour, but different in actual pattern to the African Rock Python (Python sebae), sometimes resulting in confusion of the two species outside of their natural habitats.

The B
urmese Python is frequently captive-bred for colour, pattern and, more recently, size. Its albino form is especially popular and is the most widely available morph.

ROYAL PYTHONS

Olive, Amber, Zircon, Jasper, Quartz, Marble, Mars, Snickers, Topaz, Holly and Tiger's Eye
Olive
(2008) was given up when her owner became pregnant and felt she could not keep her. She is very much a Daddy's girl, although at around four feet (1.2 m) she can no longer keep warm in Luc's pocket (but she is quite adept at finding other warm places). 




Amber (2009) is a 'Yellow Belly' and came to us from a breeder. She did not reach an adequate weight in time to breed and he was not willing to provide food, heating and accommodation for another year before the next breeding season. Amber is very confident and loves being handled. She's still growing at three and a half feet (1.1 m).
 




Zircon (2006) was one of two snakes given to us by a friend who felt he did not have the time to care for them properly. He likes the hot end of his vivarium. He's around 4 feet (1.25 m) long.
 





Jasper (2002) is a 'Cinnamon' and is the second of the snakes given to us by a friend who could not devote enough time to them. He can be a little quiet but is rather determined. He's around 4 feet (1.25 m) long.

 




Quartz (2007) Is another snake donated to us.  Unfortunately his owner was no longer able to look after him due to increasing school demands.  Still a small python he has a few years of growing left but may never be a big snake.  Not a problem for us as some people prefer handling a smaller snake, he's around three feet (90 cm).



Marble (2007) is a Shatter Pastel python.  He's another snake that came to us from a breeder.  He has a history of respiratory illness and escape - both of which we have encountered before!  At around three and a half feet (1.1 m), he's got just a little more growing to do.




Mars and Snickers (2004) belonged to someone in the military who was posted overseas who left them with his family to look after. Unfortunately they did not like feeding them, so when they came to us they had not eaten for a year. Despite this, they are both very friendly. 

They went to their first show with us un-named, and one of the first people to meet them was a child who could not say 'snakey' but instead said 'snickey' - so that snake was immediately named Snickers and his brother was obviously Mars.

Photograph of Mars by Amy Wood

Topaz (2012) is an albino Royal python and one of the exceptions to our 'rescue' rule - she was bought for one of our handlers as a birthday present. She's quite outgoing, but once she gets tired she makes it known by balling up and going to sleep, and won't come out for anyone. 


Holly (2010) came to us from a friend who decided to specialise is different species of snakes. She's a little shy at the moment, but is fine once she gets into the swing of things. 


Tiger's Eye (2008) has a simple but unfortunate story, his owner was simply not able to afford to pay some bills so had to sell her beloved Spider pattern ball python.  Luckily she lived close to us so we added another python to our ever-growing collection! He's quite small at around three feet (90 cm) and unlikely to grow much more.



As you can see, the majority of our snakes are Royal Pythons - these are proving very popular with everyone so we will in all likelihood continue to add to our collection here.  If you spot one you would particularly like to meet then please request them for your event.


The Royal Python (Python regius) is a non-venomous python species found in Africa. This is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular in the pet trade. They are also known in the United States as ball pythons. Adults generally do not grow to more than 3 - 4 feet (90–120 cm) in length, although some specimens have reached 5 - 6 feet (150 - 180 cm), but this is very rare. Females tend to be slightly bigger than males. 

The build is stocky while the head is relatively small. The scales are smooth and both sexes have spurs on either side of the vent. Although males tend to have larger spurs this is not definitive.

'Yellow bellies' have a deep rich golden yellow colour, blushing that comes from the edgepoint of the belly up to the midpoint of the sides. The belly itself is clear but also has some yellow colouration throughout. 

'Cinnamons' are a deep chocolate brown with irregular dorsal patterns, faded sides and a solid white underside.


RETICULATED PYTHON

Jade
Jade (2011) is a lavender albino and has the potential to grow to become our longest snake. He is a very tame, outgoing and curious snake so is sure to be a diamond (there's a name we'll have to use sometime!) in our collection.  He can often be seen at shows up in the metal framework of our gazebo, making his way slowly around the perimeter. This is one snake that I had to dig deep into my own pockets to buy, but when you meet him I'm sure you'll understand why I just had to have him.  What a character, what a personality, what colours!  At around three years old Jade measures in at twelve feet (3.5 m) and is still growing fast.

Python reticulatus, is a species of python found in Southeast Asia. Adults can grow to over 8.7 m (28 feet) in length but normally grow to an average of 3-6 m (10–20 feet). They are the world's longest snakes and longest reptile, normally not considered dangerous to humans. In spite of a standing offer of $50,000 for a live, healthy snake over 9.1 metres (30 ft) long by the New York Zoological Society, no attempt to claim this reward has ever been made

An excellent swimmer, Python reticulatus has been reported far out at sea and has colonized many small islands within its range. The specific name is Latin meaning net-like, or reticulated, and is a reference to the complex geometric color pattern, incorporating different colors. The back typically has a series of irregular diamond shapes which are flanked by smaller markings with light centers. In this species wide range, much variation of size, color, and markings commonly occurs.

The python lives in rain forests, woodland and grassland in areas with nearby streams and lakes. During the early years of the twentieth century it is said to have been common even in busy parts of Bangkok.

 Oviparous, females lay between 15 and 80 eggs per clutch. At an optimum incubation temperature of 31–32°C (88–90 °F), the eggs take an average of 88 days to hatch. Hatchlings are at least 2 feet (61 cm) in length.

Increased popularity in the pet trade is due largely to increased efforts in captive breeding and selectively bred mutations such as the "albino" and "tiger" strains. They can make good captives, but keepers should have previous experience with such large constrictors to ensure safety to both animal and keeper.


JUNGLE CARPET PYTHON

Maya

Maya (2013) was "dealer overstock".She's a little nervous on initial handling but soon gets into her stride, and is inquisitive and intelligent. A very pretty snake, she's already proving to be a bit of a show-stopper.




Morelia spilota is a large snake of the Pythonidae family found in AustraliaIndonesia and New Guinea. There are 6 subspecies commonly referred to as carpet pythons and diamond pythonsThe average adult length is roughly 2 metres (6.6 ft). Males are typically smaller than females; in some regions females are up to four times heavier.

The head is triangular with a conspicuous row of thermoreceptive labial pits.
The colouring of Morelia spilota is highly variable, olive to black with white or cream and gold markings. The patterning may be roughly diamond shaped or have intricate markings made up of light and dark bands on a background of gray or a version of brown.

Described as semi-
arboreal, they are largely nocturnal, climbing trees and shrubs as well as crossing open areas such as rock faces, forest floors and even roads. However, basking behaviour is commonly observed.


SUMATRAN SHORT-TAILED (BLACK BLOOD) PYTHON

Obsidian

Obsidian (2009) was "breeder over-stock". Sidi is our representative of The Dark Side. She's a difficult feeder, and rather small for her age, but she's making good progress and is one of our 'poster girls'.
 
Photograph by Eleanor Farmer



Sumatran Short Tailed Pythons are native to the southern half of Sumatra and are the smallest species of the blood python complex. These are also known as the black blood pythons, as they are mostly black in colouration with some being completely black. There are two distinct phases of black bloods; the orange headed population which rarely exceeds 3 feet (80 cm), and the black/chrome headed population which can get up to 6 feet (190 cm).  

WOMA PYTHON

Sandstone

Sandstone (2008) is a snake we've been hoping to find for many years so we could not resist acquiring him when he became available.  A nice size and temperament as well as an outgoing personality has made him a hit right from the start.  He's currently around six feet (1.9 cm) and growing. Sure to be one of the gems of our collection - look out for him at upcoming shows!
Please note that this animal was bred in captivity within the UK.

Adult Aspidites ramsayi average 4.5 feet (1.5 m), and may reach a total length of 7.5 feet (2.3 m) in length. The head is narrow and the eyes small. The body is broad and flattish in profile while the tail tapers to a thin point.

The colour may be pale brown to nearly black. The pattern consists of a ground colour that varies from medium brown and olive to lighter shades of orange, pink and red, overlaid with darker striped or brindled markings. The belly is cream or light yellow with brown and pink blotches. The scales around the eyes are usually a darker colour than the rest of the head.

Found in Australia in the west and centre of the country, its range may be discontinuous. The range in Southwest Australia extends from Shark Bay, along the coast and inland regions, and was previously common on sandplains.

This species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A species is listed as such when the best available evidence indicates that a population reduction of at least 50% has occurred over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat. It is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. Year assessed: 1996.

The Adelaide Zoo in South Australia is co-ordinating a captive breeding program for the species, and the offspring raised are being released back into the Arid Recovery Reserve near Roxby Downs in the states north. 

CORN SNAKES

Ruby, Garnet, Jelly Tot, Moonstone, Pearl, Magnum, Coral, Cobra, Stumpy, Kevin, Morpheus, Peaches and Orange Blossom Special

Ruby (2008) and Garnet (2008) came to us from a student who was struggling to feed and heat both himself and the snakes. Often taken out together, Ruby is the darker of the two. 

Jelly Tot is an amelanistic corn snake and was donated to us following his owner "downsizing" his house and new wife not liking snakes.  We don't know his age but he's big for a corn snake and a hefty girth so he would appear to be fairly old.  Due to this age his colours have mellowed to a much lighter, frosted background compared to the vibrant orange of Blossom. We were trying to think of a 'serious' name for him when someone commented that, with his frosted orange and red colouring,he looked like a handful of Jelly Tots - and the name stuck. He's fully grown at around four and a half feet (1.4 m). 

Moonstone (2007) came to us as ex-breeding stock, and is a Blizzard corn snake. She can make it very clear when she wants to play and when she wants to be left alone. She is fully grown at around five feet (1.6 m).




Pearl (2010) is another Blizzard corn snake. Her previous owner was new to owning snakes and "took on more than he could manage" - especially when they bred! It seems that she is not phased by anything (including train travel). She's currently around three feet (0.9 m).

Magnum (2003) is one of a number of snakes we took in from an enthusiast who had decided to "simplify his life". At something over six feet (1.8 m) he's the longest corn snake we've ever met.

Coral (2003) is another snake from the same home as Magnum. We haven't really got to know her personality very well yet, but she's clearly been well looked after.

Cobra is an example of a snake bought for a teenager, who looked after him for a short while until he got bored. He's not the friendliest of animals, and does not come out for public handlings but may be used for specialist teaching. 

Stumpy has had a bit of a rough time before he came to us and is missing his tail, but he's a friendly and outgoing snake, and we hope he will be popular with the public.

Kevin is another injured snake, who has received either a burn or bite to his body. However, he seems to have put this behind him and is an easily handling snake. When we mentioned to one of our volunteers handlers that we hadn't found a name for him she put his head on her hand, looked at him for a few seconds, and declared "He looks like a Kevin to me" - so Kevin he is!

Morpheus was owned by a teenage who started to lose interest in him, and his father suggested he should be donated to us before he suffered any neglect. He came to us in beautiful condition, and with a rather cool name.

Peaches is a very pretty amelanistic corn snake who was owned by an animal 'hoarder', and came to us when everything got to be a little too much for her owner.  

Orange Blossom Special - Blossom for short - (2008)  may be an unfortunate name for a male, but he is named for an American tractor-pull vehicle as much as his amelanistic colouring. He had to be found a new home when his owner's wife became pregnant, and he went through three homes in one weekend before coming to us as his fourth. He's around four feet (1.25 m) and still growing.


The Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata), is a North American species of  Rat Snake that subdues its small prey by constriction. The name "Corn Snake" derives from their natural habitat of cornfields, where they feed on mice and rats. Corn Snakes are found throughout the south eastern and central United States. Their docile nature, reluctance to bite, moderate adult size 4 – 6 feet (1.2 – 1.8 m), attractive pattern, and comparatively simple care make them popular pet snakes. In captivity they live around 15 years old.

Normal or wildtype Corn Snakes are orange with black lines around red coloured saddle markings going down their back with black and white checkered bellies. Regional diversity is found in wild caught Corn Snakes, the most popular being the Miami and Okeetee phases. These are the most commonly seen Corn Snakes. 

There are tens of thousands of possible compound morphs.
 Blizzard Corn Snakes resulted from a  corn caught in 1984. Blizzards are a totally white snake with very little to no visible pattern.

Amelanistic corn snakes lack the brown and black pigment that wild corn snakes have. Because of this they can show colours including red, orange, yellow, or white.

BAIRD'S RAT SNAKE

Beadle 

Beadle
 (2004) is another of the snakes from the enthusiast who was downsizing. He can be a little snappy but we're hoping that, with regular handling, we should be able to take him out to talks and handling sessions.





Pantherophis bairdi is a harmless colubrid snake species endemic to the southwestern United States and adjacent northeastern Mexico. No subspecies are currently recognized. The species was named in honor of the American zoologist Spencer Fullerton Baird.

Adults can reach 1-4.5 feet (0.65-1.4m) in length. The dorsal color pattern consists of an orange-yellow to bright yellow, or a darker salmon ground color, overlaid with four stripes that run from the neck to the tail. The belly is generally gray to yellow, darkening near the tail. The primary diet consists of rodents, although they will also prey on birds. Juveniles often eat lizards.

RUSSIAN RAT SNAKES

Boris and Charcoal
Boris
 (2004) 
and Charcoal (2004) are the final two snakes from the "downsizing"  enthusiast. Boris, the male, can be a bit of a handful but is calming down and should make a good demonstration snake; he certainly stands out with his black and yellow banding. Charcoal, the female, is already friendly and outgoing (although she can be fast), and has very pretty grey and black markings.

Elaphe schrencki (commonly known as the Russian Rat Snake) is found in the Amur River basin; in eastern Mongolia, southeastern Siberia, northern Manchuria, Korea and a colony of escaped snakes in Northern Netherlands. It is the largest indigenous snake on the Korean Peninsula and is typically 4.5-6 feet (1.4-1.8 m) long. The northern, darker, most common variety is known to be more fearless, inquisitive & personable than its southern cousin, which is somewhat more nervous & shy.

It is one variety of rat snake, feeding primarily on small mammals, birds & bird eggs. It is often found in wetlands, but is also found in a variety of other habitats such as rocky hillsides. It is a very good climber, found as high up in trees as 6 meters.

It is officially a protected species in Russia and South Korea. Both of our snakes were bred in the UK.


KENYAN SAND BOA

Beryl
Beryl (2010) came to us as "breeder over-stock". She spends most of her time buried in the sand and mainly appears for food. Unfortunately she is not very friendly so is not used for public handling sessions, but she may be available for demonstrations, e.g. in schools.





This is a very small-sized boa. Adult males are hardly more than 1.5 feet (45 cm) long, and females may grow up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) in length, the latter being also much more thickset. As all members of the boa group they have no heat-sensible dimples on the upper jaw. The eyes, contrary to most other snakes, are mobile thus providing the Kenyan Sand Boa with a lively, expressive gaze. The head is short, hardly distinct from the body with the lower jaw slightly protruding and corner-shaped to enable the snake to dig in loose soils such as sand. It has no venomous fangs nor venomous glands. The strong body muscles enable it to kill prey through constriction.

This species usually spends most of the time buried in the sand, half an inch under the surface, and it can vanish with an amazing quickness when burrowing to hide. The small eyes are well-protected by a transparent scale and fit for this lifestyle, and the snake is usually totally invisible in its surroundings. The mouth is quite small compared to the animal’s size and they scarcely attempt to bite; it is a “sit-and-wait” predator, most likely sensible to vibrations in the ground to be warned of the coming around of prey or predators. 

This species is one of the more primitive of the boas and pythons family. Spurs around the cloaca (vestigial limbs) are easily noticeable on males, but they exist on females too. It is a nocturnal species, only venturing out of his hide at night to forage for prey

CRAWL CAY BOA

Shade

Shade
came to us form an owner who felt he was more of a responsibility than he wanted. Unfortunately he's not of a suitable temperament to be shown in public handlings.



The crawl cay boa is a dwarf snake species that reach a maximum of size of about 5 feet (1.5 m). Characteristics of this snake are the very grey background colour with black speckling which is also on the head. The snakes have saddling like the common boa which continue onto the tail.

Their natural habitat is the island by which they are named after, Crawl Cay, which is off the east coast of Belize


WESTERN HOGNOSE SNAKE

Lecter
Lecter belonged to a teenager who had lost interest in him. Only around 12 inches (30 cm) long, he's full of bluff and bluster, and will hiss and dummy-strike at anything that moves, but is reasonably calm once being held. In view of both his attitude and the fact that he's mildly venomous he won't be available for public handling, but we intend to use him for specialist education and training.

Western Hognose snakes (Heterodon nasicus) are relatively small, stout-bodied snakes found throughout the Great Plains states of the U.S. from Canada to Mexico. Their colour and pattern is highly variable from subspecies to subspecies, although most specimens appear much like the infamous rattlesnake to the untrained eye. This optical bluff, used in conjunction with a wide array of other clever defense tactics, makes these snakes quite unique among North American serpents.

These snakes get their common name from the modified rostral (nose) scales that are formed in an upturned manner, providing a very "hog-like" look. Additionally, this adaptation makes these snakes adept burrowers, which is a useful skill when hunting or seeking refuge from the elements. Males are considerably smaller than females, with adult lengths rarely exceeding 15-20 inches.

The western hognose snake is primarily diurnal. It is typically a docile snake, although known to be highly aggressive in some individuals. If threatened (or perceiving a threat), it may flatten its neck (much like a cobra), hiss, and make mock strikes if harassed. Occasionally, if stressed enough, it even plays dead. Although it is more common that they will flatten their heads out, some individuals may puff up, filling their throats with air. This is more common with adolescent males.

In the wild, they feed predominately on amphibians, such as large and medium-sized tree frogs, as well as small or medium-sized toads and small lizards. There have been accounts of H. nasicus eating the occasional rodent in the wild as well. Not being a true constrictor, Heterodon bites and chews, driving the rear fangs into the prey as a way of introducing the saliva/"venom" into the bloodstream in order to incapacitate its meal. There have been many cases of hognose snakes in captivity that will not eat for about two to about three/three-and-a-half months, from the months January to mid March. This is because hognose snakes' instinct is to hibernate underground during the winter months.

Although there is still debate whether Heterodon is mildly venomous or nonvenemous with toxic saliva, it is generally agreed that the species is indeed venomous. Regardless, the extremely rare bite from this rear-fanged snake is of no medical importance to humans. Symptoms range from negligible to localized slight swelling and itching. As with any animal though, care must be taken not to receive a bite as allergic reactions and infection are always a slight possibility.






 






 
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