HOUSESNAKES ... Lamprophis Spp
There are a dozen or so species of housesnake and in my opinion
they are the perfect snake to keep. They aren't very big, roughly
about 3 ft, however some may reach 5 ft but this is extremely
rare. One of the best things about house snakes is their range
of colours. From black or brown to orange and yellow; green and
olive house snakes are also available but as with the yellow
house snakes they are quite rare.
These are the most widespread
snake in Africa. Found from Morocco to the Cape.
snakes is relatively easy due to the fact that they are a hardy
type of snake (Mattison 1991 p67).
They will need a strong vivarium (has to be escape proof) which
can either be 1) All glass or 2) Wooden with glass doors. (2
is the best in my opinion) I suggest that you use a light bulb
and a heat mat so the bulb can be turned off at night the daytime
temperature should be 28-30C (82-84f). Make sure that the bottom
of the cage is covered with newspaper or other substrate. The
snakes must have a decent hide re.Cork Bark. A branch will
also add to the effect and it will give the snake something
to climb on (Please note the branch is not vital). The cage
must also contain a water bowl.
:: HANDY TIP
You can also use plastic vines
to make the cage more attractive but don't overdo it, the snake
needs room to
have a little wriggle or a wander! Take into account that house
snakes are related to Houdini, need I say more?
Any thing from pinkies (new-born mice)
to small rats depending on the size of the snake. House snakes
good feeders but if you have a pair in the same cage, the male
may refuse to eat. (Try to feed it separately, an ice cream
tub will do the trick). Hatchlings are always difficult to
feed. If you have problems try mouse tails, if this does not
pay off and you have tried all the tricks, you may have to
resort to a pinkie pump.
Breeding house snakes is
easy because they are an African species they require no
hibernation and may breed all
year round. About 50 days after mating the female will shed,
about 10 days after that she will lay her eggs ( a good healthy
female will probably double clutch). When she is laying her
second clutch of eggs the first clutch should be hatching.
Before the snake is expected to lay her first clutch make sure
there is a box of damp vermiculite or moss in her cage and
give her a smaller waterbowl. The eggs should be incubated
at 28C (82F) a thermostat will keep the temperature constant
(cost œ20-œ40 depending on the make). The eggs should
be kept in a margarine tub containing damp vermiculite. WARNING:
DO NOT TRY AND SEPARATE THE EGGS IF THEY ARE STUCK IN A CLUMP.
When the eggs hatch transfer the hatchlings into separate little
boxes with tissue on the bottom and a loo roll for a hide box.
An eggcup for a water bowl, or small glass paste jar will do
nicely. When the hatchlings have shed you can begin the trauma
of feeding them!
I suggest that you purchase a
brown house snake which is a year or so old. These are the
most readily available.
I would advise against buying a non-feeding hatchling if you
can avoid it.
:: RECOMMENDED PRICES
This is influenced by market trends and
Hatchlings £15-œ20, Adults £40+, Pairs £80+
Happy House Snake Keeping
AUTHOR A. Carpenter (07/02/95)
REFERENCES: C.Mattison(1991) A-Z of Snake-Keeping, Merehurst,