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.

I sort of agree.

Happiness, bliss actually, is when your tummy is full and your mouth is shut! HAHA

Also, men used to be "hunters" too. So why do you wait to eat until I make it and put it right infront of you?

Just kidding honey. It's not that often that I get to find an opportunity to make fun of you on your blog. Your posts usually go right over my head. But, this one I can relate to.


Your Wife
Right after I read this, Amy made sure to tell me that she was speaking in behalf of snake lover's wives everywhere. lol
Ah, Man The HUNTER!

"So why do you wait to eat until I make it and put it right infront of you?"

700,000 of years of "honey, would you like me to warm that up for you?" has evolved us into Man The DEPENDANT.

My second wife cooked quiche one night. Jokingly, I said, "Real men don't eat quiche." She replied, "Real men eat whatever real women put in front of them."
Good story. Amy liked that.
I like a lot of what you had to say in this post. I too have noticed with subocs and other snakes that I can leave a mouse in overnight, only to find it untouched in the morning. As soon as I wiggle it, though, it's gone. I have an 8 year old female that does this all the time. then other times I can leave a couple in her cage and they're gone in seconds.

Interesting too about the size of the rodents subocs prefer. I have a big male blonde that eats one large mouse and is fine. Then my female who is quite a bit smaller will eat 3-4 big mice or a small rat. If I give her anything smaller she cruises until I give her something else.

BTW, has anyone else experienced dietary preferences with their subocs? I have a couple that will switch from mice to rats back to mice to rats, etc. on a regular basis. They'll go weeks eating one kind of rodent and then just refuse to eat until I give them another kind. Overall, subocs seem to be much pickier eaters than other snakes commonly kept in captivity.
There was an interesting article by John Rossi in The Vivarium about 13 years ago about how incredibly edible and tasty Mediterranean geckos are to North American desert snakes.
He mentioned sidewinders, gray-bands, long-nosed, and other snakes that would only take Coleonyx and other lizards, but not mice. Some would not eat anything at all.
Well he started scenting using these H. turcicus and just about everything switched over to either the lizards themselves or scented mice.
Growing up near Galveston, TX, these were literally covered on my garage door at night. I could count between 25-30 usually just on one side of the house on a warm, humid night.
Well, once I decided that I would catch a big one and try him out on one of my River Road males.
As soon as I stuck him in the cage, the snake caught the scent and WHAMMO!...down the hatch he went.
I bring this up because, like you said Mike, subocs can be sometimes picky.
Since that one time I haven't tried them again, but I might have to have my little brother who still lives at home to ship me up a "garage door count" of them. : )
Maybe rubbing one of those on a mouse will get one of my picky feeders to react.
Good post, Mike.
Anyway, sorry to take up so much room! Please, anyone else who has experienced dietary preferences with their subocs...please share that with us.
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