Slithery and known to be secretive! Wondering who is this? None other than the rare species kept as pets among reptiles – Dragon Snake.
These charmers are non-venomous. Comes with a unique skin that has peculiar scales and shape.
It also has few scales on the back that projects out like a tubercle. Let’s read on to find out more about these charismatic creatures.
Dragon snakes are mostly seen among the southeast Asian countries. These include Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Brunei. Known as semi fossorial species, they prefer to stay underground most of the time. They come out mostly in the dark to hunt their kill.
Rarely found in the pet market and known for not thriving well while in captivity. These guys need a unique set up that requires high maintenance. Yet, few keepers have successfully bred and cared for this species in captivity.
Commonly found in regions near streams or waters, which include swamps, marshes, and forests. These lizards are also fond of spending their time in rice fields. It is because they prey on small fishes and frogs. Have been usually spotted at heights up to 4300 feet above sea level. Also, found in altitudes ranging from 1650 ft – 3600 ft.
Male species grow up to 60 cm, and the females measure up to 80 cm. On average, these colubrid reptiles grow to reach around 2.2 feet in length. These grayish animals have an enlarged head and elongated tail.
An exciting aspect of this species is their peculiar skin. Instead of a smooth texture, it has three rows of massive, keeled scales. It runs along the center of their back, making them look like a crossbreed between a crocodile and a snake.
You can enjoy their companionship for more than a decade. As they thrive well for more than 10 years.
Adult reptiles must be separately kept in enclosures measuring around 14” length, 9” height and 10” width. For one snake, a 15-quart container or a 10-gallon terrarium would work fine. As they remain in hiding most of the time, placing a hide of washable material is essential.
To create a natural hunting spot, place a flat rock like a water bowl. It allows you to feed them with live fish and tadpoles. As most of them are usually imported, try to maintain a similar hunting environment to their place of origin. They typically use rock surfaces to leverage while hunting.
Temperature and Lighting
With the need to maintain cold temperatures, these species have to be comfortably kept between 72°F to 77°F. Also, they are highly sensitive to light and heat. You can place them in dim light during the daytime. Maintain pitch dark during the night as they hunt for prey.
They don’t require a hotspot. Make sure that the temperature does not exceed 80°F. It is because they can’t tolerate extreme heat beyond a few hours. Exposing them to high temperatures may result in fatality.
Maintain humidity levels between 85 to 95%. How you maintain the moisture is based on your living condition. Place wet sphagnum moss or artificial grass, as these guys require high humidity. These substrates are good at retaining the water content but remain dry on the surface. It helps to prevent the formation of mold.
Mold causes various skin irritations and illnesses among snakes. In case of any mold, you can change the substrate or spot clean the area.
In the wild, they mainly hunt on tadpoles, frogs, and fishes. At times, they even consume invertebrates like earthworms. For this, you require a good supply of live feeders once you find out what they like to consume. As they are fussy eaters and prefer to stick to their origin diet, this can be a challenging task.
Once you bring them home, allow them to adjust to their new surroundings for up to 10 days. After that, you can feed them as per your choice till they get adjusted to it. You can also lightly spray these reptiles to trigger them. Once they start hogging, they appear to be voracious eaters. Hence you have to limit the amount and how frequently they consume. It will prevent them from regurgitating or overeating.
For instance, a matured species can have 1 frog every 7 to 10 days or 2 fishes every 7 to 10 days. Females are usually fed at 24-26°C every 10 days. At higher temperatures, they feed once in 6 to 7 days. During early shedding stages also females prefer to consume. However, males eat less. They have smaller feeds at 24-26°C every 2 weeks.
Feeding them with white fish or naturally shaded mosquito fish is more preferred than brightly colored ones. Frogs are their favorites, and the matured adults have a strong liking towards frog legs. Some owners have also fed them with green tree frogs and African reed frogs as well.
Offer them fresh water throughout. Place a container filled with water so that they can also use it for cleansing or bathing.
Not much data is available concerning how the dragons snakes reproduce. However, we are aware that these creatures are not prolific breeders. The female species lay many clutches, each having 2 – 4 eggs. It takes place during the rainy season that is from October to February.
The young ones tend to hatch after 61 to 65 days. It happens when the eggs are securely kept at a temperature ranging between 26 – 27 ° C. For quite some time, the eggs that were carefully laid in captivity were not incubated. Despite the failed attempts, a zoo in Russia has successfully bred and incubated these reptiles.
These creatures do not generally tolerate handling. They hardly bite when handled. However, they show unique characteristics when you take them in your hands. Instead of biting, their whole body stiffens up.
Repeated handling will result in dragon snakes getting stressed up and anxious. It , in turn, will prevent them from consuming their feed. Hence handle them only when you have to move them from one cage to another for breeding or for treating health problems.
Follow these care guide, to keep this alluring pet healthy and safe for years. In case of any queries, feel free to drop your questions in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this with your buddies!