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Cave Dwelling Ratsnakes

Posted by Sonja K. at 4/28/2016 11:16:24 AM

Although the brunt of my collection is made up of Boas and Pythons, a few Colubrids have found their way into my heart as well. One species of them is the Cave Dwelling Ratsnake, also known as Cave Racers (Orthriophis taeniurus ridleyi).

My current pair entered into my care in 2012 when they were just 5 weeks old.



They go through a bit of a color change as they mature and that's been fun to watch.

Here's the male at ~ 17 months for comparison.

Of course, many know they are well known for their gaping "smiles"!

In mid January, after having fed them both a little extra in the previous weeks, I waited until they shed and then paired them for the first time. Cave Dwellers do not require a brumation like some other ratsnake species do.

They layed together within the same hide a lot and kept any "activity" out of view. On February 29th, I finally witnessed courting and a possible copulation. By the time I got my camera, they weren't wrapped up nearly as much as they had been before, though.

They continued to spend their days and nights together - either in a hide or in the bin with damp moss that I had added towards the end of February. I placed that away from the heat as well since all their time was being spent in the cooler areas of the enclosure.

On April 5th, I noticed the slightest bit of dulling in her eyes. She shed on April 16th. I believed that was her POS, so I sat back and hoped I would find eggs in the next couple weeks.

Later on in the evening this past Monday, the 25th, I popped the lid of the tote I had made into a nest box for her and spotted one beautiful, perfect white egg! She was starting to lay!! I put the lid down gently and slid the cage door shut and left her be.

It was pretty cute... since I didn't snap the cover of the lay box down the night before, I woke up the lid pushed back and to her peeking out and looking awfully proud.

As I only had a minute, all I could do was peek at what I wouldn't get to see again until after work.

In all my reading, I have come across that the average clutch is from 7 - 15 eggs. Being my girl was a first time breeder of just 3 1/2 years old, I was anticipating a smaller clutch.

Apparently she had something else in mind...

After work I found her coiled around her clutch. The species is not able to incubate them, but the mother may stay with the clutch to protect her eggs - leaving to eat and then returning.

Whaaaat!? You're gonna take my eggs!? You must be a crazy girl!

 No! I shall wrap tight around them!

When all was said and done, though, I was able to remove her without incident...

And just look at that beautiful, perfect clutch! 15 eggs in all!

And the incubation has begun! Hoping to see lots of gaping smiles in a couple months or so! Laughing

 Comments: View Oldest First  

Kenz ,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 1:21:53 PM  

Awesome! Beautiful pictures, also. I love this species.

Valerie ,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 1:33:38 PM  

I always love your blogs.  Momma did look proud!

Aimee ,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 5:34:16 PM  

I love those! what a great share, Sonja.

George H. Wessel VII,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 6:05:30 PM  


Sonja K. ,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 6:09:18 PM  

What?! Just like you have a man cave, I have a snake cave! Seriously!! No Foolin'!

Chris McIntosh,
Posted At: 4/28/2016 9:27:58 PM  

I used to keep Ridleyi a while ago.  I have no idea why I ever stopped!

Posted At: 4/29/2016 9:10:18 AM  

aww :) I'd like to have a Blue Beauty someday, but I don't know any breeders in my area.

Stephen Allerton,
Posted At: 4/29/2016 9:34:01 AM  

Very cool!

Ed ,
Posted At: 4/29/2016 10:13:28 AM  

Very nice!   Good luck with them!

Sarah Auzina,
Posted At: 4/29/2016 11:22:52 AM  

I have chicken eggs on my desk. They're beautiful, but not as nice as these! 

Andy Krauss,
Posted At: 4/30/2016 10:44:23 AM  

Congrats!  Orthriophis are so cool...

Rebecca ,
Posted At: 4/30/2016 10:32:38 PM  

Beautiful animals & adorable pics of the new mom! Congratulations! Do you have a count of the eggs?

Sonja K. ,
Posted At: 4/30/2016 11:42:29 PM  

Thanks everybody!

Rebecca, there were 15! : )

Rebecca ,
Posted At: 4/30/2016 11:49:51 PM  

Overachiever! :D

Macy "Mickey" K,
Posted At: 5/1/2016 10:13:20 AM  

Jeanie Otten,
Posted At: 5/4/2016 9:28:14 PM  

Wooaahhhhhh - super cooolll!!

Dean Taylor,
Posted At: 5/5/2016 2:44:50 AM  

Sonja K. ,
Posted At: 5/5/2016 4:18:55 PM  

Thanks all!

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