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Old 04-14-2010, 09:10 PM   #1
Dawn Zimmerman
Question Rat snakes from Asia...possible first snake?

Hi all,

I am interested in the albino radiated rat snake and the Vietnamese blue beauty rat snakes. I read in another thread that the radiated rat snake was irritable... has anyone here had experience with this kind of snake? How does it handle?

I haven't heard much about the temperament of the Vietnamese blue beauty. I had read that the Asian rat snakes in general are very flighty. I would like to get a snake that after regular handling will be able to be a bit more calm. Not sedentary like a ball, but calmer.

I've had lizards, but this would be my first snake. Any experience you all have to share would be welcome!

P.s. The other two snakes I am looking at are a Striped Ruthven's Kingsnake and a Splotched Sinaloan Milksnake. If you have any experience with those, too, feel free to share.

Old 04-14-2010, 11:06 PM   #2
I don't have knowledge for the specific species you mention, however in general I think corn or rat snakes are a good choice. I would personally recommend captive born over wild caught for a first snake, for both temperament and health reasons, and maybe that should inform your choice.
Old 04-15-2010, 01:25 AM   #3
Clay Davenport
From my experience, I wouldn't recommend a radiated rat as a first snake. There are some that are perfectly calm, so I have been told. All of the ones I've had though were exceptionally irritable and very quick to bite. I've only had captive born ones too.
That being said, I love the species, they are a lot of fun to work with, but as a first snake I'd have to recommend against it.

The blue beauties I've kept were much more well behaved than the radiateds, but they still required respect. While the radiateds would bite just because you got within range, the blues had to have a little provocation. It didn't take much though. A six foot female blue beauty gave me my first bite to the face when she quickly got annoyed with me picking some stuck shed from her tail tip.

As far as asians in general go, they are quite different than our North American colubrids in both attitude and behavior. While these aspects make them more challenging to keep, it also makes them far more interesting.
Of the asian group though, the Taiwan beauties are one of the best in all categories. I produced taiwans for several years and in that time I was bitten by one only once, and that was from a hatchling. They have good attitudes compared to many of the asians, and high activity levels. The potential to reach 8 or 9 feet makes them an impressive snake.

As for the Ruthven's and Sinaloan, either would make a fine first snake. Both species are very calm, and easily handled, and are reliable feeders once the babies are established. They are however very different form the asian species. Perhaps I'm just biased because of my fondness for asian rats, but after you've kept them, most of the colubrids from our part of the world are a bit boring.
Old 04-15-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
Dawn Zimmerman
Thank you both for your input! Whatever snake I get it will definitely be CBB. I will look into the Taiwan Beauty as I am interested in a larger, slim bodied snake. Clay, are there any morphs for the Taiwan Beauty? Also, have you had any experience with the Baron's Racer?

Old 04-15-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
Clay Davenport
I haven't been involved with the beauty snakes for quite a few years, but to the best of my knowledge there has been no morphs of the taiwan beauty specifically.
The taiwans are a subspecies of a larger group though and morphs of some of the other subspecies have been found such as albino and calico, and a couple of others.
When I was keeping them they were in the genus Elaphe. The genus has been changed I do believe, but I still refer to them by that name out of habit.
Taiwans are Elaphe taeniurus friesi. I do not remember exactly, but I believe the albinos were either the Chinese Beauty snakes (E.t.taeniurus), or the Mocquard's Beauty Snake (E.t.mocquardi)

I have no experience at all with the Baron's Racer.

Here's a pic of one of my clutches of Taiwans. She was about 7 1/2 feet here.

Old 04-19-2010, 03:57 AM   #6

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