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Old 08-10-2017, 12:51 PM   #1
Appropriate viv for an adult rat snake?

I am considering adopting a rat snake (black or leucy), and whether I adopt one as a juvenile or adult, I'm thinking ahead to the viv setup. My corn snake is currently in an Exo Terra 36" x 18" x 18" with UTH, which is great because this species is fairly terrestrial. I have noticed, however, that our local nature center's three black rat snakes are quite arboreal, and spend most of their time curled up on the branches high up in their vertical viv rather than in hides on the ground.

I was wondering if an Exo Terra Natural Terrarium Large: Tall or Extra Tall (dimensions 36" x 18" x 24" or 36 x 18 x 36," respectively) with several tiered climbing branches, canopies, and hides, would give an adult rat enough horizontal space?

Also -- if using an UTH for temperature gradient, because of the added height, would I be advised to also use a heat lamp source closer to the top of the viv?

Thank you.
Old 08-10-2017, 05:41 PM   #2
Adding branch space is a great idea for obsoleta-complex ratsnakes. The more height you give them, the more they will use. I used to have a yellow ratsnake, and he enjoyed climbing. It is a good idea to use a lower wattage basking lamp if you intend to make the enclosure very tall, to ensure proper ambient air temp. I would use this in conjunction with an undertank heater, and place thermometers at various heights to make sure it doesn't get too hot. Branch-space is not necessary for these guys' health, but you'll get to see more interesting behaviors. Obsoleta-complex ratsnakes regularly climb trees in the wild and I once observed a yellow ratsnake predating a bird's nest in Florida.
Old 08-10-2017, 05:53 PM   #3
Elena, thank you for confirming what I was thinking. I have seen many black rats snakes up in trees in the wild. Also have seen one raiding a very highly-placed house wren nestbox--it ate the babies!
Old 01-30-2018, 07:39 PM   #4
I'm awfully "late" to this thread but snakes don't grow that fast anyway, so I'll put in my 2 cents: over the years I've kept lots of rat snakes, including nearly all the obsoleta group. Currently I have 2.2 yellow (x gulf hammock?) Florida rat snakes, and the males are a good 6 1/2' long, maybe closer to 7', while the females are about 5.5'. (these gals insist on laying about 2 doz. unfertilized eggs each, every year, so they put less into growth despite eating all they want) They love branches, but use their hide boxes too, & they do best with all the space you can give them. Mine are in 50-70 gal. tanks (4' long) with UTH & a basking light controlled with a dimmer; one thing they especially enjoy -along with their branches- is a flat or bowl-shaped basket wired onto the branches...much the way we'd use a hammock, lol. 2 of the four actually prefer to sleep in their baskets, the other 2 (1 of each gender) sleep in their hide boxes. They have plenty of personality but are docile to handle with minimal effort. My large males actually do very well with public "meet & greets" once or twice a year. Great pets!

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