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Question - Housing Snakes Together

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by Knox, May 26, 2008.

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  1. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    We all know that this is a no-no. My question is why? Depending on the species, of course, there are places in the wild where you can lift a piece of plywood and find Garters, Black Rats, Corns, sometimes Rattlers hiding under the same board.

    Case in point:


    Now, the argument could come up "They aren't confined in a small aquarium". Good point, but they seem to not mind being a few inches apart from 3 to 4 other snakes.

    Just wanted to get some conversation started when I thought about all the times I have personally seen several snakes under the same hide, or pics of the same. Rattlers and Garters seem the be the kings of "Communal Living".
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The reason its a "no-no" in captivity is because of the escape factor. If the snakes do not wish to be together, they can move and easily escape the other snake. In captivity, this isn't the case. They are confined to whatever space they have available.

    Another thing I want to mention is that snakes will eat other snakes, even if they are not typically cannibalistic. When this happens, especially if they are close in size, both snakes typically die. The one eaten dies for obvious reasons. The other dies typically after having regurgitated the prey that was much too long.

    There are some pictures on the net showing examples of this. I wish I recalled where they were located. One shows a Boa having eaten a ball python. The other I recently saw was a cornsnake that ate another cornsnake of the same size.
  3. prismwolf

    prismwolf Well Established Member

    You're right...there are groups hanging together in shared space in the wild. And again - your right about snakes in confinement sometimes not minding company. Rich raises good points there though. Some people very successfully keep multiple snakes together. The biggest issue I hear is feeding time. Yes...they can all have they separate feed boxes, but can you be sure one is not still hungry - or still wound up from feeding - that the scent of food on one of the other snakes will not cause a strike once placed back in the same housing area? You can wipe the scent off the other snakes...but can you get it all?

    I do know of one person who has had the same two ball pythons - male and a female - together for 16 yrs...both fed in-tank...and never an issue. This is rare and not recommended, but it is a scenario that has worked with these particular multiples living together in harmony. There are far many more stories where there have been serious injury sometimes leading to death to warrant this bad practice.

    We can't control what happens in the wild. How many snakes really do get caught up in the moment and scent food on another snake returning to the den and it strikes? If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? We just don't happen to be there to witness these things in the wild. We CAN control those scenarios in captivity.
  4. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I have never, nor will ever, keep snakes together. I just ran across this pic and it got me thinking about all the snakes I have found together over the years while out field herping.

    I am in no way "Pro Co-Habitating". I do know a man who kept 3 Corns and a Black Rat together in a 75 Gallon set up with no problem for years. Same guy kept 2 Northern Pines together with no problems.

    Rich, I totally agree with what you said - they are free to leave if they want. What I find fascinating is the fact that different species choose to find shelter under the same piece of tin all over the U.S.

    Again, just throwing this out for discussion.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    They shared the same hiding space because that is what they needed,... shelter.
    The fact that it was the right temperature and/or humidity level is what drew them together.
  6. JMM

    JMM Elite Member

    Your wish is my command... (DUW)

    BP x BP

    Boa x BP

    Corn x corn
  7. prismwolf

    prismwolf Well Established Member

    It's a shame they killed the snake to see the snake inside. I would have been happy with x-rays...:(
  8. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    You probably see pet stores keeping multiple babys or juvies together for lack of space. My main fear is disease and mites. If one has mites or a contagion, They all will have it.
  9. JMM

    JMM Elite Member

    I believe I read the snake died after eating the cage mate (wasn´t able to regurgitate). Then, they cut her.
  10. prismwolf

    prismwolf Well Established Member

    Thanks for clearing that up. I tried to read what little print was there and caught a little of the description. Is it just me - or does the boa vs BP look like a staged "performance"? This looks like they were placed together intentionally to see which one would win. It's a clear tote...nothing in it but two snakes who are not normally known for cannibalism. Were they taken to their hunger point and placed together?
  11. VampireWashu

    VampireWashu Member

    My fiance was working at a local Petco for some time and he had come across an actual King [California, I believe] that had managed to crawl into another snake's tank, and actually attempted to eat a Ball Python. Luckily, they found it soon enough and the Python's head had not yet been swallowed. It was covered in bites, but recovered nicely. They were extremely lucky to have found it when they did.

    One thing I've noticed is that King's seem to be the 'Jerk' of the snake world, because they are ever-so-happy to try and eat other snakes. And I have never seen Kings being grouped together, let alone with any other snake.

    And I've had friends who have had their mating snakes attack each other, but never as many occurances as I've noticed that happens with Kings.

    Anyone know why Kings are like this?
  12. Brewster320

    Brewster320 Elite Member

    Its just in their nature, snakes (including venomous species) are their main prey item in nature along with rodents. that included with the fact they have a strong feeding response and their you go, theres a reason they are called kings.
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    They aren't being deliberately unpleasant, its just their nature.
    Snakes are a part of their normal diet in the wild. They will even take down and eat rattlesnakes.
  14. Typhanie

    Typhanie Elite Member

    I was just going to add to someone else's comment:

    In captivity we provide them with everything they need. They have food, water, shelter, the right temperatures and humidity, etc. We make sure they have what they need.

    In the wild, they're on their own, so if they're in a colder climate, they have to resort to different things to survive. Curling up together in a warm spot or in a protected area is a necessity, and then if they need to get away, they can. But when they don't have to be together, it's better for them.

    The same can be said, I think about most animals. Nature shows often show animals in confrontation. A wolf or packs of wolves that have crossed into another's territory. In the wild, that happens - they fight, an animal may die, or they may just come to an agreement and move on. It's all part of nature.

    But as our pets, we want the best for them, so we try to give them the most ideal situation they can have.
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