A ~ C ~ S~N~A~K~E~S

Snake Breeders Based in Leicestershire, England, UK      

RED TAILED RATSNAKE CARE GUIDE

Gonyosoma oxycephalum

Introduction

The Red Tailed Ratsnake is amongst the largest of all the ratsnake species.  An arboreal colubrid that is active both day and night and who will observe you at all times which makes them one of the best display snakes to keep.

Although they are not always green and do not always have a red tail they are also referred to as Red Tailed Green Racers/Ratsnakes.  Other names include Elaphe oxycephala , Red Tailed Tree Racer.

Experience Level Experienced - require a very confident keeper
Temperament

Defensive. Many describe red tails as aggressive however all of ours are captive bred and whilst they can be defensive when disturbed they are not really aggressive at all.

Gentle and slow handling without restraining is the best way to handle a red tail.  As with any arboreal species, if they strike it will generally be towards your face thefore keeping them out of reach of your face whilst handling is recommended. 

Captive VariantsWild Type, Brown/Orange, Silver/Grey
Other Known Variants Albino, Calico
Expected Adult Length160 to 230cm
Recommended Housing

Vivarium or plastic tubs

We prefer to use tubs as we found them to be much easier to keep clean however none of our red tails are particularly large and we may move them into vivariums at a later stage.

Other requirements:

-Suitably large water bowl for them to drink and bathe

-A minimum of 2 hides (1 in the cool end and 1 in the warm end) at least one of which should be moist

-Climbing branches

Temperature Range 25C (77F) to 29C (84F)
Recommended Heating

Viv - Guarded Ceramic heater or heat mat

Tub - Heat mat

Whichever method is used, the temperature should be controlled by a suitable thermostat and monitored using a digital thermometer

Origin Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Natural Environment

Red tails are arboreal and therefore spend most of their time in trees and bushes usually near water. Also found in tropical rain forests, caves, swamp land and the vegetation around bodies of water.

Recommended Substrate

We use Aspen or dry coconut fibre and provide 2 moist hides of vermiculite and/or moss.

Natural Diet Birds, Rodents, Bats, Lizards
Primary Captive DietRodents
Other Observations

Tail wagging (as opposed to rattling) and inflating of the neck to mid-body are common characteristics displayed by red tails when disturbed. 

Red tails are known for having a high humidity requirement however it is believed that captive bred red tails fair much better in a drier setup with a moist hide. Due to our previous confirmation of this with our green bush ratsnakes we have chosen the drier setup from the outset. We have not encountered any problems with this setup but would recommend checking the tail tip (as with any snake) after shedding.

We have only ever kept captive bred red tails and therefore this care guide is written with that experience in mind. We would expect the care, handling and temperament of wild caught and long term captive specimens to be quite different.

Recommended links www.ratsnakefoundation.org

This care guide has been written by us at AC Snakes for your information and guidance.
 
It will be updated and expanded as regularly as we are able, however it should not be used as your only source of care information.
 
Prior to purchasing any animal it is strongly recommended that you research extensively to ensure that you can provide the correct care for your pet.
 
Last updated May 2012

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