Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The Spring Hitch
"Bubbles", my blonde '02 male, has finally emerged from his humid retreat (and winter retreat, which is dry during brumation). Even though he and my other snakes have eaten since I warmed them up on Feb. 19th., many of them are only just now starting to move around their cages from time to time.
Sure is nice to see these old faces again.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
is when your snakes' bellies are full. I either read that or heard that somewhere, and I couldn't agree more.
I took this picture today while I gave her a random snack. I try to let my females have more frequent meals at this time of year, ranging in size from fuzzies to weanlings with an occasional adult.
Another really big silver female of mine didn't touch either of her two adult mice last night, so this morning I took one of the adults with a pair of 16" tongs and wiggled it around sporadically in front of her hide-spot, and she glanced at it with an interested expression, then struck and pulled it in.
I couldn't help but think, "Well, why on earth did you not eat them last night?".
And it reminded me that these are animals that have evolved over millions of years to be hunters, and that cannot be ignored no matter how adaptive or opportunistic they may be in captivity.
TP rat snakes have been tracked moving long distances at night, probably hunting.
It's just another important fact that I have learned while keeping these guys, and also an important thing to keep in mind if you are lucky enough to own one or more.
These are not mindless robots that conform to "our standards", but are living things with individual likes and dislikes and innate needs. Subocs remind me of that moreso than other species that I have kept. And it is really just another reason to love them.
And I feel the weight of responsibility to care for them the best I can, and to make them feel comfortable enough to forget that they are captive, if that is even possible. I admit that I haven't progressed my husbandry practices to that exalted standard yet, but I am working at it.
In other words, I envision the day when my captive charges are all sitting pretty in room sized vivariums filled with real Chihuahuan desert flora, rocks, and sunlight.
It is my firm belief that animals are here on this earth for us to use and enjoy, but not to abuse and destroy. They should be treated with the most respect that we can find in ourselves to give, and we should be actively engaged in the cause of their preservation and conservation.
Probably the main reason that I keep these beautiful creatures is because I feel connected with Mother Nature when I am around them, and it is peaceful and fulfilling to have that connection. Perhaps I would not keep any at all if my time and circumstances permitted me to enjoy them out in their own natural turf. It is much more exciting and exhilirating to see a plain old normal brown suboc slithering around on a West Texas cut than to see a silver one slithering on aspen bedding. Still, it is a pleasure to have them here in my own home where I can observe them at leisure. I'm a pretty lucky guy.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Suboc.com is here
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Suboc Article, "Bug-Eyed Beauties", in Reptiles Magazine - May Issue
Mike told me about this article a little over a year ago. And man, I can't tell you how glad I am that he has done some PR for a snake that is WAY overdue for some. And TP rats are very deserving of this. This is a snake that has been beloved and highly revered since it was discovered, and it is a snake that I know that many of us drooled over when reading Carl Kauffeld's words as he described his hunt for one in "Snakes: the Keeper and the Kept". He dedicated an entire chapter to this species.
"H-snakes" have enjoyed popularity in the hobby, but they have not been able to compete with the craze of morphs that have caught fire recently, like with the cornsnake and ball python markets.
But their day is coming.
Considering that they don't lay large clutches (~ 3-11 eggs), that they don't double-clutch; and that females usually need to be at around 3-4 years old for good breeding fitness; and that many new morphs like albino blonde, high orange, snow, snow blonde and possibly even TRUE patternless blondes (just to name a few) are on the horizon...the future is looking good for these snakes.
Also, this isn't a species that saturates the market, so anyone investing in "high-end" subocs won't find themselves getting out of them right after the first breeding. Although albinos may not be flying out of the breeders' doors with such demanding prices, they're value has remained fairly high and stable, especially when compared to other rat snakes and colubrids.
I recommend that every suboc lover buy this issue of Reptiles Magazine, if they haven't received it already. Probably NO ONE knows as much about locality subocs and suboc breeding more than Michael Price does. And probably no one in the country breeds and hatches more subocs annually than Mike does either.
To my knowledge, this is the first full-length suboc article ever published in the 13 years of Reptile Magazine's existence. Like I said, go get it. The excellent photos comparing different localities together is well worth the price alone, and is definitely a first in the history of this species.
**The following was added on April 5th 2006**
Here is the blurb for the article from the magazine's web site:
The Trans-Pecos rat snake, a Southwestern beauty,
is easy to keep and breed. Plus, this snake displays a
wide variety of morphs, with new ones still being discovered.
By Michael S. Price