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  1. #1
    Registered User Maximus's Avatar
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    Resources/Advice for Vipers

    I am looking to get a venomous snake, most likely a pit viper that can grow between 2-3 feet long. I've researched my state/local laws and I face no issues on that front.

    My main issue is finding info to care for the snake. I know they are arboreal and need temps from the low 80s-low 90s and like it humid. They eat weekly and are dangerous. That's about it. My search brings up info on snake bites/venom, but not much on care. I understand this is a dangerous hobby and want to be 100% prepared before moving forward. Luckily, I have found info on general venomous snake precautions to take (gloves/hooks/tongs) and I intend to look more into that. My main concern is making sure I can create a habitat the legless guy will thrive in.

    I am currently looking at a 24W x 24D x 36H enclosure with a hide, water bowl, and 2.5in-3in diameter fire-treated bamboo sticks for climbing. Is that overkill?

    The snakes I'm looking at are:



    Red Purple Spotted Pit Viper
    (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)


    Green Purple Spotted Pit Viper
    (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)


    Hageniís Pit Viper
    (Trimeresurus (Parias) hageni)


    Sulawesi Waglerís Viper
    (Tropidolaemus wagleri)

    From what I can tell they all require the same habitat.

    I am waiting to be approved to join the Fauna Classified forums.


    Any help would be appreciated!

    Maximus

    Planning For:
    Coastal Carpet Python
    Name TBD

    Previous Snakes
    2 Ball Pythons:
    Aristotle
    Ares

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I have no experience with any of those (just with rattlesnakes & one Palestinian viper & a few other non-vipers) but your enclosure plan sounds good- not sure why you'd think climbing branches are over-kill? The more you can replicate their natural habitat- at least to afford similar activities- the better. You'll probably want to install fake foliage too.

    I would never rely on "gloves" to protect you- it's all about planning what you need to do versus what the snake will do in response, & using long non-locking hemostats (or similar tools of your choice) to feed & move things while staying out of reach. I'd strongly suggest that you either make or buy a pre-made "shift-cage" for cleaning time- it's the safest way for you, & the least stress for the snake; when presented with what appears to be a safe dark cave to hide from us in, most snakes welcome the opportunity & just go in easily. And when there's less stress, they feel safer, eat better & stay healthier. Unlike non-venomous snakes, you won't get to handle hots so they don't learn that we're not predators lurking about- that's why it's important to minimize their stress by using a shift-cage for cleaning.

    I HOPE you have experience with snakes for at least a few years before trying to keep a hot? Because it helps to recognize health issues before it's too late, or better yet, to know how to prevent them- and I hope you also have an experienced vet lined up who's willing to see your pets also.

    How did you happen to choose these species? I'm guessing their adult size is part of the equation? Good luck researching them further, I don't recall anyone here posting about them, and one problem with potential bite accidents is that your local hospitals aren't going to have antivenin as they do for native species. Local zoos might, but that's a sticky situation sometimes, when it comes to a private owner.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-11-2021 at 08:58 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
    Registered User Yamitaifu's Avatar
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    Re: Resources/Advice for Vipers

    It appears that you just got your first snake a month ago, so do you really think that you're ready to get a hot? One should have years of experience with nonvenomous, and then seek training with a mentor to learn how to safely and properly work with hots. This is not something to jump into.

    While I haven't worked with any of those species mentioned, I have experience with T. venustus, T. albolabris, and B. schlegelii. Although a bite from them is unlikely to be fatal, brain hemorrhaging and renal failure are possible (leading to death). It's also very easy to underestimate the strike distance of arboreal pit vipers.

    The Thai red cross is also experiencing a shortage of polyvalent, so if a zoo has to give up their stock because of some negligent private keeper, they are unable to replace it. Monovalents are still possible to get, but they'd have to get enough of each for all the species that would've been covered under the poly. If you really want to get an exotic venomous snake (or even a native really), get your own antivenom. Yes, it is a long process and involves a lot of paperwork, but it is just as much of your responsibility as a private keeper as having a thermostat. Why should I or my coworkers be put in danger because someone else wasn't prepared?

    I am not against the private keeping of hots by any means; however, it needs to be done properly. Too many people get them because it's cool or because they see all of those stupid YouTubers in Florida playing with their snakes. Please, take your time, learn everything you can about working with nonvenomous snakes and then find a mentor. It may not be easy, but if this is something you truly want to do, then it's worth doing right.



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  6. #4
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Resources/Advice for Vipers

    I think you're moving too fast to be completely honest. Based on your signature alone, you've kept a couple of BPs and now you're looking at getting a carpet, none of this strikes me as you having enough experience with snakes to bring something venomous into your home. I tried to find the thread that we had going a few weeks back about the guy who got tagged and they had to get anti-venom from a zoo for him, taking away from what I'm sure is a very limited supply that the zoo has. Situations like that existing, on top of someone with limited experience asking about getting a hot, makes me cringe a little.

    This isn't something that you go into with a few weeks of research and a good attitude. Keeping something native to your area as a rescue/rehab program is one thing, but just bringing something like this home just for kicks seems a little silly to me especially at your experience level. Not attacking you, and I apologize for being so blunt, but I'd rather be open and honest with you.

    On top of the lack of experience issue, Bogertophis brings up another excellent point. Have you done some research to see if there's a vet in your area that would even see a venomous snake if/when something comes up where vet care is needed? Point is, there's a lot more to think about than if you were bringing home a boa/BP/carpet/any other non-venomous snake.

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  8. #5
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    I'll be the other guy. Hots take a special kind of crazy. I've had hots an can't in the current State I live in. For your first Hot , think Warm, a nice Local one. Copperheads (normal) are under $200 in NC. They are easy to learn an keep.

    Now, the fun part, read your home owners policy! Ten to one Hots are forbidden just like six breeds of dogs without a rider. If you don't own your home don't keep hots, it's that simple. Now, go read up on Hot rooms. They have to be escape proof, $1k an up depending on construction.

    With Hots it's not if your struck, it's when. Many a seasoned keeper has been struck, some can be found on youtube.

    Check with your local hospital about treatments an if they treat or just stabilize an ship you out. They are use to copperheads, water moccasins (cottonmouth) an rattlebrats. Anything else you better be near a large hospital an airport.

    Any Vets in your area take Hots as clients?

    So, you bought your first Hot an it doesn't work out. Now what? You can't just let it go an buyers are few an far. Few people will buy a Hot from backyard breeder let alone somebodies problem child.

    If you have your heart set on one of your listed Vipers. Take your time! Try to find keepers in your area you can be mentored by. Or volunteer at the Zoo that keeps hots.

    Good luck!

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  10. #6
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    I remember in one of viperkeeper videos (he is a hot keeper whose been breeding, selling and caring for numerous different venomous and dangerous species of snakes, including vipers), he stated that he would never sell his stock to anyone who he doesn't know, and if you have to ask how to care for a venomous snake, you shouldn't be keeping one. Hence, maybe there is a good reason you can't find care information online like you would for a corn snake.

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  12. #7
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Questions for you (the OP), Maximus: Do you have health insurance? Do you have any idea how expensive it is to treat a venomous bite, with or without antivenin?

    Not to mention that your survival doesn't always mean you'll be "just as good as new". I do hope you've thought about that?

    Venomous species deserve the same level of care as non-venomous ones. They deserve to be taken seriously, not purchased on a whim, and they're not there to serve as anyone's personal challenge, nor discarded when another "shiny new object" comes along. Caring for venomous species can be even more tedious than harmless pets, because they're hands-off. As non-native venomous species, they're also not something you can share educationally with others in a public "show & tell" program. Safety of others comes first.

    I sometimes mention to those wanting to own a giant snake species, it's one thing to admire a creature & be fascinated by it's every move- but it's quite another to actually live with it. As far as that goes, have you thought about what keeping such snakes will mean, not just for your immediate future, but for many years ahead? It will limit where you can live, & will likely limit your social circle- some will want to hang out with you "just because", but others will change direction & have nothing to do with you. It may cost you a lot of money, and may also make you a target of theft, especially if you tell the wrong person (or the wrong person hears about you from another). Exotic species are black-market gold. Just so you're prepared.

    There's a good reason that we (the "community" of snake & other reptile-keepers) are concerned when someone expresses their intent to get venomous snakes, especially when it appears they are far too inexperienced to do so safely: what each of us does reflects on others, in the mind of the public & when it comes to passing laws restricting things or outright banning them. Every time there's an "accident" with such an animal, it puts all of our endeavors at risk- even keeping harmless snakes. I hope you understand this? Most people already hate snakes...every incident that makes the news where snakes were mishandled or escaped (& especially when medical care is required-!) gives many people more incentive to push for laws banning them.

    Have you thought about working in a zoo with them instead of trying to personally own them? Maybe you should.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  14. #8
    Registered User Maximus's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyone's concern. At this point I am just researching and if I don't feel confident I will not move forward. I realize the danger and the intense attention to detail that comes with owning a Hot, and you guys have just reinforced those concerns, so thank you. I've had a few ball pythons over the years, and I know a venomous snake is on another level, which is why I am researching.

    I appreciate all the feedback!
    Planning For:
    Coastal Carpet Python
    Name TBD

    Previous Snakes
    2 Ball Pythons:
    Aristotle
    Ares

  15. #9
    Registered User Maximus's Avatar
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    Re: Resources/Advice for Vipers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I have no experience with any of those (just with rattlesnakes & one Palestinian viper & a few other non-vipers) but your enclosure plan sounds good- not sure why you'd think climbing branches are over-kill? The more you can replicate their natural habitat- at least to afford similar activities- the better. You'll probably want to install fake foliage too.

    I would never rely on "gloves" to protect you- it's all about planning what you need to do versus what the snake will do in response, & using long non-locking hemostats (or similar tools of your choice) to feed & move things while staying out of reach. I'd strongly suggest that you either make or buy a pre-made "shift-cage" for cleaning time- it's the safest way for you, & the least stress for the snake; when presented with what appears to be a safe dark cave to hide from us in, most snakes welcome the opportunity & just go in easily. And when there's less stress, they feel safer, eat better & stay healthier. Unlike non-venomous snakes, you won't get to handle hots so they don't learn that we're not predators lurking about- that's why it's important to minimize their stress by using a shift-cage for cleaning.

    I HOPE you have experience with snakes for at least a few years before trying to keep a hot? Because it helps to recognize health issues before it's too late, or better yet, to know how to prevent them- and I hope you also have an experienced vet lined up who's willing to see your pets also.

    How did you happen to choose these species? I'm guessing their adult size is part of the equation? Good luck researching them further, I don't recall anyone here posting about them, and one problem with potential bite accidents is that your local hospitals aren't going to have antivenin as they do for native species. Local zoos might, but that's a sticky situation sometimes, when it comes to a private owner.
    Thanks for the reply B. I certainly would never rely on gloves to protect me. From what I've read, even the expensive ones are only "bite resistant." From what I've seen, it's just the last line of defense if everything else (staying out of reach, etc) fails.

    I love the idea of a "Shift-cage"! I saw one in a reticulated python video and it makes a lot of sense for a Hot.

    The snakes I listed came from a web site that sold venomous snakes. I was looking for anything around 2ft or more and steered away from snakes that were labeled "super aggressive" or extremely sluggish. I also liked their appearance in addition to a few other things. I was asking for suggestions because (with the lack of info about different species) I know there are A LOT more out there!

    Thanks for the reply!
    Planning For:
    Coastal Carpet Python
    Name TBD

    Previous Snakes
    2 Ball Pythons:
    Aristotle
    Ares

  16. #10
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Resources/Advice for Vipers

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    I appreciate everyone's concern. At this point I am just researching and if I don't feel confident I will not move forward. I realize the danger and the intense attention to detail that comes with owning a Hot, and you guys have just reinforced those concerns, so thank you. I've had a few ball pythons over the years, and I know a venomous snake is on another level, which is why I am researching.

    I appreciate all the feedback!
    Just a thought: BPs have virtually nothing in common with vipers- they don't give you experience in "reading" different types of snakes-not their "body language" & not anticipating their behaviors.

    I hope you "research" for several years, & in the meantime, try keeping more active & challenging-but-harmless snakes for practice. Overall snake experience helps more than you think, & if it's just a challenge you're looking for, you don't need venom anyway. I can appreciate what you're trying to say, but "confident" people get bit all the time...that's part of the problem.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-12-2021 at 05:44 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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