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  1. #1
    Registered User fadingdaylight's Avatar
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    Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    So, my BP has been successfully transitioned to his new PVC enclosure (more on this in another thread), and I find myself with an empty 36x18x12 Exo-Terra. Now, having learned the hard way that this tank really doesn't work well for snakes with slightly higher heat and humidity needs, I am trying to figure out who will get the vacant space.

    My first inclination was to use it as a temporary enclosure for a BCI, then move it to a PVC also, and I may still go that route, but I am also looking at colubrids that may be fine in this type of enclosure for the long haul. Two that I have taken particular interest in are the Mexican Black Kingsnake and the Grey Rat Snake. Obviously, this leads me to some questions that I felt could best be answered by the group here.

    When keeping kingsnakes, Mexican Black in particular, can they be in close proximity to other snakes? I know about the "don't handle them right after handling another snake" rule, and the basic quarantine procedures, but what I am trying to determine is whether or not I could keep one in an enclosure stacked on top of my BP enclosure, or would the smell of the other snake lead to behavioral issues?

    Also, does anyone have experience with grey rat snakes? I found a "white oak" grey rat snake on MM that has a really nice pattern. From what I gather, they are semi-arboreal, so I would assume a 12" tall enclosure won't cut it past the hatchling stage, but I am interested in knowing if anyone has dealt with them, how the temperament is, any special considerations, other enclosure specifics, etc.

    I apologize, I may have tried to stuff too much into one post here.
    - Jason


    "Why should I fear what others fear? How ridiculous!" - Lao Tzu

  2. #2
    Registered User Bodie's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    In my snake room, on one wall I got a four cages together. Side by side stacked on each other (if that makes sense). Got a pueblan milk, BP, GTP, and a Mexican black on that wall. On the other wall directly across, got my emerald tree boa and future hognose and others. The king has no problem at all being next to the other cages. I take him out all the time and he is relaxed. BTW Mexican black kings are awesome. You would be very happy with one of you decide to go that route.
    0.1 Emerald Tree Boa (Northern) "Ozzie"
    0.1 Green Tree Python (Aru) "Sassy"
    0.1 Pueblan Milk Snake "Milkshake"
    1.0 Mexican Black Kingsnake "Sooty"
    1.0 Pied Het Lavender Albino Ball Python "Socket"
    1.0 Yellow Phase Eastern Hognose "Piggy Smalls"

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  4. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    That cage will last longer for an MBK...I've kept white oak grey rat snakes, they are great pets but get about 5-6' and do like to climb, just like the rest of their 'family'
    of similar U.S. rat snakes. They are both great choices as pets to handle, & easy to feed on f/t. I don't think BPs care about (feel threatened by) the presence of a king
    snake, since kings are not native predators where BPs originate (Africa), but I cannot promise that a king won't be a little "inspired" by another snake of any kind nearby,
    though when you raise them on f/t rodents I really doubt you'll have any issue. I had a house-full of snakes when I had MBKs, with various kinds of snakes housed nearby & no issues whatsoever. MBKs are usually voracious eaters, so if you forget to wash your hands well your king snake may "remind" you, lol.

    A hatchling grey rat snake will be ok for a year or so in the that Exo-terra but will need a bigger cage once it grows more in time: I recommend using a large glass tank (50+ gal. is nice) with a screen top...they do best with air flow IMO, humidity doesn't have to be exact or like where they're from...I kept them when I lived in the desert without any issue, & they're calm pets. I would say they're smarter than kings including MBKs, when it comes to not confusing your hands with "food", and a king snake (of any kind) may also notice the scent of another snake you've handled on your clothing, so just washing your hands may not dissuade a king snake, depending on the individual personality.

    A grey rat snake will use UTH at one end of cage, & overhead basking light or CHE in winter (supplemental heating) once they grow bigger (& braver) about spending time on branches. Good luck deciding, both MBK & a white oak grey rat snake are very attractive pets, & both are easy straightforward to keep w/ cool & warm side hides.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-11-2019 at 11:20 PM.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    And you're in Arkansas...you've got plenty of humidity anyway...

  7. #5
    Registered User fadingdaylight's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    And you're in Arkansas...you've got plenty of humidity anyway...
    Funny you should mention that. When I kept cigars, I never needed anything inside the humidor here. But I could not get that Exo-Terra to stay over 50% at night until I added a second water bowl over the UTH. Now I'm having trouble getting it below 70% in the PVC. Never thought I would have a problem with too much humidity.
    - Jason


    "Why should I fear what others fear? How ridiculous!" - Lao Tzu

  8. #6
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by fadingdaylight View Post
    Funny you should mention that. When I kept cigars, I never needed anything inside the humidor here. But I could not get that Exo-Terra to stay over 50% at night until I added a second water bowl over the UTH. Now I'm having trouble getting it below 70% in the PVC. Never thought I would have a problem with too much humidity.
    With well-ventilated cages, & especially in winter when we heat our homes, the humidity disappears, but in a PVC cage there's not much ventilation...but you can
    always drill a few holes in PVC cages...and put tape over them (on the outside only) if you need to again raise the humidity. Easy!

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  10. #7
    Registered User fadingdaylight's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    With well-ventilated cages, & especially in winter when we heat our homes, the humidity disappears, but in a PVC cage there's not much ventilation...but you can
    always drill a few holes in PVC cages...and put tape over them (on the outside only) if you need to again raise the humidity. Easy!
    I may end up having to do that. When I first set it up, it hit 100%, but that was about 70% fresh substrate, with some dry stuff from the old tank mixed in. It has dropped off by about 10% each day since, so I'm waiting to see where it stabilizes at, but once it got down around 70%, I went ahead and moved him in. If it doesn't get down to 60%, I will add a few extra vents.
    - Jason


    "Why should I fear what others fear? How ridiculous!" - Lao Tzu

  11. #8
    Registered User fadingdaylight's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    That cage will last longer for an MBK...I've kept white oak grey rat snakes, they are great pets but get about 5-6' and do like to climb, just like the rest of their 'family'
    of similar U.S. rat snakes. They are both great choices as pets to handle, & easy to feed on f/t. I don't think BPs care about (feel threatened by) the presence of a king
    snake, since kings are not native predators where BPs originate (Africa), but I cannot promise that a king won't be a little "inspired" by another snake of any kind nearby,
    though when you raise them on f/t rodents I really doubt you'll have any issue. I had a house-full of snakes when I had MBKs, with various kinds of snakes housed nearby & no issues whatsoever. MBKs are usually voracious eaters, so if you forget to wash your hands well your king snake may "remind" you, lol.

    A hatchling grey rat snake will be ok for a year or so in the that Exo-terra but will need a bigger cage once it grows more in time: I recommend using a large glass tank (50+ gal. is nice) with a screen top...they do best with air flow IMO, humidity doesn't have to be exact or like where they're from...I kept them when I lived in the desert without any issue, & they're calm pets. I would say they're smarter than kings including MBKs, when it comes to not confusing your hands with "food", and a king snake (of any kind) may also notice the scent of another snake you've handled on your clothing, so just washing your hands may not dissuade a king snake, depending on the individual personality.

    A grey rat snake will use UTH at one end of cage, & overhead basking light or CHE in winter (supplemental heating) once they grow bigger (& braver) about spending time on branches. Good luck deciding, both MBK & a white oak grey rat snake are very attractive pets, & both are easy straightforward to keep w/ cool & warm side hides.
    So, coming back to this, pretty much all rat snakes would need something a little bigger than this in the long run, with the exception of a corn snake, right? Would a corn even be satisfied with 36x18x12? I have seen some really gorgeous corns lately.

    I figure with having the foam rock walls on three sides would make it fairly easy to mount some climbing branches, but they will always be low.
    - Jason


    "Why should I fear what others fear? How ridiculous!" - Lao Tzu

  12. #9
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Some Questions on Kingsnakes and Rat Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by fadingdaylight View Post
    So, coming back to this, pretty much all rat snakes would need something a little bigger than this in the long run, with the exception of a corn snake, right? Would a corn even be satisfied with 36x18x12? I have seen some really gorgeous corns lately.

    I figure with having the foam rock walls on three sides would make it fairly easy to mount some climbing branches, but they will always be low.
    Some corns stay smaller than others, but if 12" is the height, you're right...it's nicer to have more height, as they like to use branches. My largest corns are about 5', but
    they take quite a while (years!) to get there. By the time a corn out-grows this, you'll think of another occupant, lol! Kings & milks are the more terrestrial ones.

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  14. #10
    BPnet Veteran Sunnieskys's Avatar
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    I have a pueblan and he is on the bottom so he doesn't "smell" the BP's. I agree with a taller enclosure. Mine loves to climb all over. And colubrids love to wedge themselves against the lid. Mine is too big now but I have 4 clamps to keep him from escaping lol. All my snakes are in one room. And colubrids by far have extroverted personalities. Mine messes and plays with my cat since he knows the cats cannot get to him.
    ~Sunny~
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    Coilsome, Odyn, & Eeden AKA theLittleOne

    0:1 Pastel Het Red Day Chocolate
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    *~* Nothing sticky (tape, stick on gauges, Velcro) goes into your enclosure! Again...NOTHING sticky goes into your enclosure....EVER! *~*

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