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Russian Rat Or Other Suggestions

Discussion in 'Ratsnakes' started by Karma Momma, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    I'll be acquiring a 4' x 2' x 2.5' aquarium in the next month or so.

    I would love a Russian rat, but they don't seem to be readily available in my area.

    Black, yellow, and gray rats are illegal in Georgia, so I can't have them.

    Does anyone know where I could buy a Russian rat or any other species suggestions? Since the tank is so large, I'm looking for an active species with a reputation for a good disposition (we all know that individual temperaments vary) that is somewhat arboreal so they can enjoy the tank height as well.

    I am the only person in my home who is not afraid of snakes so it needs to be a species I can handle by myself, which is why I am avoiding larger constrictors. Safety is a must.
  2. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    Russian ratsnakes aren't commonly available anywhere in the US as far as I've seen. Are Everglades rats illegal in Georgia too? There are a number of Asian ratsnakes more commonly available than Russians. Chinese beauty don't grow too large for that size enclosure, but a Vietnamese blue beauty would.
    If you want a great pet snake that simple never strikes or bites look into a Dominican red mountain boa. Worst mine ever do is musk, and even that's pretty rare. Carpet pythons are also semi-arboreal, and while their dispositions are more variable than the Dominican boas most calm down and are easier to handle as they grow. I have 10 of the Dominicans and 2 carpet pythons. The IJ/jungle cross has been mellow and great to handle from the start. The pure IJ struck at anything that moved at first, but has calmed down considerably now.
    Here's a young adult (likely 4-5 years) Dominican:
    Jungle/IJ cross carpet, about 18 months old now:
  3. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    Those are some interesting species. I had never even thought of a Dominican and they stay within size safety. They are good looking snakes! I've never heard of them before. I'll check out the Chinese beauty as well.

    The DNR website just drives me nuts. The rats they say are illegal are black, grey, and yellow. It would be helpful if they would use the scientific names for clarification purposes. Would Everlades rats be considered one of those species?

    Not sure why, but the carpet python is a species I still find intimidating. They are stunning, though.

    Thank you!
  4. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    The Everglades rat is a different species than the others, can't really mistake their bright orange color. Though there are a few corn snake morphs that look similar they don't have the even brighter yellow belly of the Everglades.
  5. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    Thank you :) I'll look into them for sure.

    Corn snakes are illegal in GA as well, if I'm reading the DNR website correctly.

    Laws Related to Native Wildlife | Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division

    I wish they would allow some of these species to be by permit at least. I know the situation in Florida has scared people, but it makes it difficult for those of us who are responsible with our animals.
  6. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    I think the native species laws are intended to protect the wildlife from exploitation or simply over collecting than out of concern for invasive species becoming established. Some people would see it as an easy way to make a profit catching and selling wildlife. Black ratsnakes are the one local species I'd actually like to keep, though here in MD you can get a permit to keep/breed/sell native species within the state I never bothered for the sake of that one species. I know one guy who breeds various black rat morphs, and sells them at local shows, but he can't sell them in any of the surrounding states because they're a native species there as well.
    My Everglades was a young adult when I got her, had already gone through most of the transition from juvenile pattern to the orange adult, though the pattern was still faintly visible. I doubt she was handled much before I got her. She really doesn't like it, doesn't bite or strike but does musk and takes a couple minutes to calm down if picked up. Not shy in her tank, and if she's hungry will come right up to me when she sees a mouse incoming. Typically hangs out on the sticks/branches and watches what's going on around her, but ducks for cover when the lid is opened if there's no food involved. Great display snake, not much of a mellow pet for handling though.
    My pair of Japanese ratsnakes, Elaphe climacophora (blue phase), were babies when I got them, and are much more realxed about handling in general. They're also semi-arboreal, and usually hang around in the middle of their tubs rather than on the substrate, even after eating. Like the Everglades rat they go through quite a transition from juvie to adult colors. Here's a couple pics of them shortly after they arrived last year:

    Even as babies the pattern is awesome, and when they mature they'll have turquoise heads and a blue-green body color. Typical colubrids, even if they aren't alarmed about handling they seldom hold still, like to keep moving. They're a bit larger now, but still a long way from maturity, probably another year before transition.
    There are also a number of king and milk snake species that would be legal in Georgia, but they're not typically climbing snakes, so the taller enclosure wouldn't be a benefit for them. One good thing about local shows, you can be fairly certain that anything being sold will be legal to keep.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2016
    Karma Momma likes this.
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Not necessarily! These shows have vendors coming from all over the country. Some shows specify no native species and some just have a "send me the money and I will give you a table " attitude. It is up to the buyer to make sure that what they are purchasing is legal to keep where they live.
    Karma Momma likes this.
  8. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    They are beautiful! The DNR website states regardless of origin. *sigh*. Wish they'd clarify that. I am seriously considering the Japanese and Everglades rat snakes. They both have my attention. Doing more research now. I've taken bites and been musked on before and I would assume that if I get them as babies and handle them regularly, they would be calmer as adults.

    After doing further research, I decided to hold off on the Dominican for now. The price tag is much more than I'm looking to spend. I WILL be keeping them on my potential future additions list though. lol

    Therein lies my concern. I don't want to bring home an illegal species due to an unscrupulous vendor. I know DNR wouldn't be breaking down my door, but I try to respect the law, even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
    Merlin likes this.
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    A wise attitude. Even if you can get away with it, consider what happens if the snake needs to see a vet. They won't treat them if they are not legal. Or if they do they are likely to contact the authorities.
    Karma Momma likes this.
  10. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    I hadn't event thought of that! You made some very valid points!

    Thanks to this site, I do know there is a herp vet local to where I work. That's some good info to have. lol

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