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SNAKE MANAGEMENT

SNAKE MANAGEMENT

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SNAKE MANAGEMENT

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  1. SNAKE MANAGEMENT March 27, 2012 Michelle Rutz-Mendicino

  2. SNAKES • Habitats - desert to marshes • Diets - ovivorous, carnivorous, insectivorous • Temperature requirements - widely varied and species dependent • Bottom line - do your homework

  3. SNAKE CARE • Research - Different snakes have different needs • Vet - Find one experienced with snakes • Housing • Secure cage • At least as long as the snake • Reduces lung infections

  4. SNAKE CARE • Substrate • Sand (+/-) • Wood shavings - NOT cedar or pine • Newspaper • Water • Bowl available at all times • Must keep clean and change often • Needed for shedding and humidity • Much of requirement comes from prey

  5. SNAKE CARE • Heat • Lamp or ceramic heater • Gradient 70-95° F (highly species dependent) • Vertical and horizontal gradients • Under-tank heaters, don’t use hot rocks • Light • All snakes require UV-B • 12-16 hours depending on time of year

  6. SNAKE CARE • Activity • Diurnal or Nocturnal • Require “hides” and things to climb • Other • Quarantine of new additions • Food – • Frozen mice/rats/rabbits/etc.. • Weekly (good starting point) • Diameter of snake

  7. SNAKE CARE • Handling • Hook - best • Tong - harmful to snake • Sack/Bag • Exit can - for dumping snake from sack

  8. Snake Taxonomy • Class: Reptilia • Order: Squamata • Suborder: Serpentes • Distinguished from legless lizards • No eyelids • No external ears

  9. Geography and Size • Snakes found on all continents but Antartica • Found on most islands • Ireland’s snakes • The last Ice Age, and not St. Patrick • Vary widely in size • 4 inches to 25 feet • Fossil record up to ~50 feet

  10. World Record Snake

  11. Common Classes • Boidae • Family of primitive non-venomous snakes comprising Boas and related constrictors • Pythonidae • Family of large non-venomous snakes comprising many species of ambush predators/constrictors • Colubridae • Garbage bin family of (usually) non-venomous snakes. Two thirds of all snakes

  12. Common Classes • Elapidae • Family of venomous snakes of the tropics and subtropics; ex Cobra, with hollow fixed fangs • United States species • Viperidae • Family of venomous snakes found world wide (except Antartica). Rattlesnakes and vipers.

  13. Boidae - Sand Boa • Many species • Habitat - sandy, semi-arid (for many) • Diet - small rodents • Non-venomous • Brown patterns • some have orange • Females- 18 inches, 200 gm • Males - 15 inches, 70 gm Desert Sand Boa Eryx miliaris

  14. Boidae - Red Tailed Boa Boa constrictor Literally – Boa Constrictor Habitat – South America, tropical Diet – Rodents Non-venomous Characteristic red markings on tail Females – 7-10 ft Males – 6-8 ft

  15. Pythonidae – Ball Python • Many color varieties • Habitat – Africa, arid, dry • Diet – Rodents • Non-venomous • Very placid and docile • Females – 4 – 4.5 ft • Males – 3- 3.5 ft • Also known as Royal python Python regius

  16. Pythonidae – Burmese Python • Many color varieties • Habitat – Asia, tropic and subtropic, semi-aquatic • Diet – Large rodents • Non-venomous • Can reach up to 19 ft! • Generally 12 ft • Everglades Invader! Python molurus bivittatus

  17. Pythonidae – Reticulated Python • Many color varieties • Habitat – Southeast Asia, tropical, semi-aquatic • Diet – Large rodents • Non-venomous • Size – 10-20 ft • Largest snake on record! Python reticulatus

  18. Colubridae – Corn Snake or Red Rat Snake • Many color varieties and patterns • Habitat – SE and central U.S. • Grasslands, forests • Diet – small rodents • Non-venomous • Size – 3.9 – 6 ft • Can live up to 23 yoa Pantherophis guttatus guttatus

  19. Colubridae – King Snakes • Many color varieties • Milk snake is a common species • Habitat – Canada to South America • Forested regions • Diet – small rodents • Non-venomous • Size – 20 – 60 inches Lampropeltis triangulum

  20. SNAKE CARE • Temperament • Species dependent • Ball pythons to reticulated pythons • More anxious when shedding and feeding • Other characteristics • Musking • Constricting

  21. SNAKE CARE • Breeding • Live bearers - boa constrictors, water and garter snakes, and rattlesnakes • Egg layers – colubrids, pythons • Brumation • “Cool down” period • May require several months • Incubation (Highly species dependent!) • 78-84 ° F • ~ 2 months

  22. Cooling Snakes for Breeding • Full feed when not cooling (weekly) • Separate sexes (optional) • Stop feeding for several wks prior to cooling • Cool 20 degrees F for ~3 months • Light 10-12 hrs • Put sexes together; incr. temp to normal; light 13 hrs + 20 min/week to 16 hrs

  23. SNAKE CARE • Sexing - copperhead hemipenes

  24. SNAKE CARE • Sexing • Size of snake • Length of tail from cloaca • Hemipenis • “cloacal pop”

  25. Sexing: Appearance of Snake • Unreliable in most species: • Leaf-nosed snake of Madagascar

  26. Visually sexing Snakes • Female tail • shorter, stubbier • Male tail • longer, slimmer

  27. SNAKE CARE • Sexing • “cloacal pop” • Only used in young snakes • No defined age • Harder on older snakes • Depends on size of snake

  28. Cloacal Eversion • “Popping” • Snakes have paired hemipenes • Long slender hollow tubes • Apply gentle pressure with the thumb in a rolling motion from tail tip to the vent • Females have similar, but smaller structures • Will not “pop” out of the cloaca

  29. Ball Python Burmese Python snake hemipenes

  30. SNAKE CARE • Sexing by probing

  31. Female Mexican Hognose snake - Note the lack of hemipenes

  32. Probes for sexing snakes • Vary in length • Vary in diameter

  33. Probes for sexing Snakes • Gently insert into cloaca • Probe in a posterior direction

  34. Probing Snakes • Lubricate probes • Use appropriate size • Take care to avoid injury to animal • Males: Probe will not insert very far • Due to presence of hemipenes

  35. Incubation of Snake Eggs • 29 to 30˚C or 82 to 85˚F • Very species dependent • 75 to 85% relative humidity • Hatching time – most 55 to 60 days

  36. Restraint of Snakes Graduated clear plastic tubes Varying size, length and diameter Safely hold snakes without damaging or traumatizing spine

  37. SNAKE CARE • Public health • Venomous snakes • Introduction of invasive species • Cage must be locked • Responsible for bites • Salmonella

  38. Venomous (“Hot”) Snakes • AVOID • Cage must be locked • Owner is responsible for ANY accidents • Generally, a permit is required • State laws

  39. Salmonella • High proportion of reptiles contaminated with Salmonella • Reptiles are NOT appropriate for small children or the elderly • Lizards • Turtles • Snakes • All others