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Jurassic Milk Snake Ponderings.

Discussion in 'Milksnakes' started by Dragoness, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I know I have posted about my hybrid Jurassic milk snake before, and his ongoing eye issues (I hesitate to call it a problem, since it does not seem to effect him in any way).

    At any rate, he has now seen 2 different vets, neither of which could give me a clear answer as to what was 'wrong' with his eye, nor help me solve the problem. First vet said he was a stunningly healthy snake, and suspected that the explanation was simply that the scale that covers the eye was loose, thus allowing fluid accumulation underneath it, which makes his eye look like a swollen balloon stuck to the side of his head.

    The second vet poked and prodded and said he didn't know, but wanted me to try some ointment (to no effect), and had no further thoughts or advice. He was reluctant to try to drain it, as the fluid was clear, and didn't (and never has) look infected, he suspected it was just water, and thought he would do more harm than good if he were to drain it, as it would then be open to infection.... His concern was that if an infection did develop, it was a very short leap to get to the brain.

    Both vets agreed he was in prime health otherwise, with great muscle tone, body weight, skin condition, lack of parasites, appetite, you name it. No hints or signs of any disease anywhere.

    My thoughts on the subject are aligned with the first vet - The swelling only becomes very apparent during a shed, though it is visible the rest of the time, simply giving whichever eye is currently affected a glassy or magnified appearance. It only 'pops out' if he is misted and humidified during this time. If I do not mist or humidify his enclosure when he is about to shed, the eye never inflates. His skin still comes off him cleanly, with no stuck pieces, though it seldom comes off in one solid piece, usually in 2-3 large pieces (which is not different than his sheds when he has been well humidified. I can only rarely get him to shed one long piece.) He still has a healthy iridescence, and does not look dry of scruffy, like some of my problem shedders do if they don't use their moist hides.

    I seem unable to upload photos at the moment, otherwise you guys would be getting to see what I'm describing.

    What I'm thinking is this: he is a hybrid, and his lineage is a complete mystery. I can find no literature on what exactly constitutes a "Jurassic milk snake", nor which species might be the parent species. Overall, that means he has been getting basic Lampropeltis care. Some species of king and milk snakes are more desert oriented, while others are from far more humid areas... I don't know where he should fall in this spectrum, but I am beginning to think drier may be better for him, that maybe his lineage was at least partially desert snakes... at the moment, I have nothing aside from what I describe here to substantiate this.

    He is undoubtedly male. He was hatched in 2007. Currently measures very close to 4 feet, very likely being a little longer.

    He currently lives in a cage with a 41"x17" footprint, that is 18" tall. Substrate is indoor/outdoor carpet, 2 hides, and some branches and plastic vines, and a water dish.

    One end has a ceramic tile with flexwatt underneath it, attached to a dimmer switch, and runs a surface temp (as measured with temp gun) around ~ 90ºF. I have yet to observe him using his warm hide as anything other than a toilet.

    Lighting is an 8" fluorescent tube mounted to ceiling in an under-cabinet type fixture - completely enclosed in plastic.

    His appetite is healthy, eating a small rat or large mouse as often as I will offer them (generally weekly, but I hold off when he is shedding.)

    Ambient cage temp is ~74º, except for his warm hide which tends to have an air temp closer to ~80ºF ambient temps and humidity are taken with digital thermometer/hygrometer w/probe.

    I used to keep him slightly more humid than room temp, aiming for about ~ 60% (or higher when shedding) but in the last few weeks/months have experimented with keeping him a little dryer (just what his water dish can offer, which is closer to ~45%) and the very occasional light misting.

    Any thoughts from anyone who knows a bit about lampropeltids from arid regions, and how they are best kept in captivity?

    Oh, the joys of hybrid animals - trying to figure out what works best for them.
  2. Zappa230

    Zappa230 Elite Member

    I feel you should leave it be, unless a problem arises, then get him some glasses. If any problems do arise, just take him to a vet.
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    he's been to 2 vets, but his eye issue seems to be no issue for him. It certainly hasn't put a dent in his activity level, his appetite, or any other aspect of his health that we can ascertain.
  4. brianm616

    brianm616 New Member

    jurassic milks are 25% cal king - 25% florida king - 50% honduran milksnake
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    So a California King and a Florida King are crossed to make a hybrid, which is then crossed again with a Honduran Milk, and the result is Jurassic? Is there a name for the Cal/Fla cross hybrid?

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