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RE: hydrodynastes gigas

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Posted by: rockratt at Sun Jan 6 03:18:59 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by rockratt ]  

I just purchased a Male False Water Cobra too. I know a breeder and asked him for some info. he sent me this, I hope this helps. I also found some other info which I copied that I have put listed as PART 2.

The biggest Iíve had were over 8 ft. and about as thick as my wrist. They hatch out 12 to 18 inches in length. I start them on pinky mice when possible but use goldfish if necessary. They will also eat birds of appropriate size and I have seen them eating snake eggs, but have only seen this in one adult. My guess is they would also eat larger fish and I will most likely experiment with that this year.

When handled regularly they will remain quite tame. If not handled regularly, youíll have LOTS of fun. They are fast fast fast.

I start them in small plastic containers and move them up to larger and larger plastic containers as necessary. I have kept them in tanks and wood cages with no discernable differences in attitude or behavior. If given room they will climb quite a bit.

A variety of beddings are fine for these snakes. Iíve used pine shavings, sani-chips, newspaper, and aspen. Iíve never really noticed any difference as far as one being better than another EXCEPT that newspaper needs changing more often and these guys defecate often and in large quantities.

They like to burrow into the bedding, especially when young, so make sure you either have deep enough bedding or some sort of hide. These guys are pretty calm in almost any circumstance too. They will come out and look around even when there is activity in the room. Theyíre site hunters and their vision is acute.

As far as humidity, I donít do anything special and it gets pretty dry here, especially in the summer. I do supply a bowl big enough for the snake to soak in and all the adults use it but they also all spend goodly amounts of time out of the water.

I have experimented over the years and kept some individuals in very wet conditions. There seemed no real difference other than the wet bedding snakes tended to burrow more. It may have just been individual quirks though as I did not try it with too many. At least not intentionally. There have been instances of a water bowl being turned over and my not knowing it for several days, but still no ill affects that I saw. No belly blisters or anything.

I put the girls with the boys starting in early Jan. and have had them breed through May. Iíve kept 2 girls with 1 male with no problem but babies will eat each other. 2 years old and 4 Ĺ ft are minimums for breeding. I havenít tried it with anything smaller or younger anyway. Iíve had clutches up to 16 eggs and I have heard that clutches numbering 20 or more are not uncommon. This may well be true and weíll know as soon as my girls get big enough to bear that many. Maybe next year. Last years clutches with 5 to 6 ft females were around 14. I usually get about 90% hatch rates incubated at 80 to 84 F for 55 to 60 days.

They will become conditioned to expect food when the cage is opened if that is USUALLY what happens when the cage is opened. They seem to remember and they are fast fast fast. I do feed mine in their containers but I donít handle them much anyway except for the male. For pets a feeding box would probably be a good idea as they are fast fast fast.

If youíve ever kept indigos or cribos itís pretty much the same thing.

PART 2:False Water Cobra Care Sheet

Hatchlings can be kept in any secure, lidded, ventilated tub, such as commercially available faunariums or contico tubs which are easily upgraded as your snake matures. The FWCs fast metabolism and endless appetite mean an easy to clean setup is a must and for this reason I recommend using a basic setup with paper substrate for youngsters.

FWCs are hardy captives and simply require a variety of hides (across the warm and cool ends of the viv or tub) and a large waterbowl, as they spend a good proportion of the day soaking. Hatchlings also seem to appreciate some plant cover (use plastic where possible) for security. Sample setups are shown below (please note a larger waterbowl would be desirable in picture 1).

Adults should be housed in a vivarium of 4íx18Ēx18Ē minimum Ė these large, active snakes should not be confined to small tubs. Please note that FWCs are commonly viv territorial and it may be necessary to remove them using a snake hook for handling.

Heating, Humidity and Lighting

A day time high of 82-85F appears to be ideal for this species, ideally with a cool end around 10F lower (75F). Temperatures much above 85F seem to provoke heat stress in this species and should be avoided. Heating may be provided by heat mats, cable or ceramic heating elements (I do not recommend bulbs as they cannot be used for night-time heating; there is evidence to suggest snakes can see even red light).

Humidity should be maintained at 50-80%, this can be done by regularly misting, using a humidity retaining substrate and adding a large waterbowl.
There is no evidence to suggest FWCs require UV lighting, though a regular day/night cycle should be provided.


False water cobras are well known for being voracious feeders and their strong feeding response makes using feeding tongs a must! Be aware that they often strike blindly and wildly when food is on offer! Freeze/thawed rodents are the best food source and are taken readily.

Their high metabolic rate means FWCs benefit from being fed more regularly than many colubrids; personally I feed mine twice per week on relatively small food items. These snakes are real herp room dustbins and will literally eat all you can offer if you let them.
1.0.0 Banded Coastal Cal King
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