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West Texas Rat Snake - Adult

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by PCar, Jul 19, 2005.

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  1. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    My Wife found this guy slithering along a pipe in our Cow Pen about 2 weeks ago. She then came running back into the house at about 11:30 yelling at me to come look. So I went out there and saw this beautiful snake. I walked up to him, and gently placed one hand on his lower back, and the other a little closer to the head, and he just stayed there. So I picked him up and examined him closely under the lights out there. didn't' see any mites or other bad things on the outside. so I brought him in the house and set up a temporary enclosure for him. I have had him for about 2 weeks, and haven't totally decided if I am going to keep him yet. Will know more after I offer him food. If he eats, I will be more inclined to keeping him, and start looking for a mate. I will be offering him his first food this week, so wish me luck.

    And now for the pics...Enjoy


    PS, the last picture is of my wife holding him for pictures. Even though I was able to hold him bare handed, she didn't want to take the chance. :rolleyes:

    Also, if you will notice in the first picture, there is a bit of orange just below the head. This is rare from what I have been told as adult West Texas Rats are usually always Tan/Brown. So that makes this guy even more interesting.
  2. venus

    venus Founding Member

    I love the color of his head. Beautiful catch Paul.
  3. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    That's one nice lookin snake :) Rats are some of my favorite colubrids, but that one's got some really nice colors.
  4. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Sweet, it looks like the juvi Black Rat snakes we have here in Jersey, but they lose their colors as they get older.
  5. jmherp

    jmherp Elite Member

    i was just getting ready to ask if YOU were affraid of

    Great find, hope ya keep it, and are able to find a mate...
  6. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    me afraid to hold a snake????? I am the crazy guy that will grab just about any snake out in the wild whether I am gloved or not. And, lucky for me, I was taught at a very early age how to tell hots from nots by the shape of the, I know about 95% of the time whether the snake is hot or not before I even attempt to grab it.
  7. smallgrayfox

    smallgrayfox Contributing Member

    Beautiful snake! :) Is he still as calm as he was when you first picked him up? Does he seem to mind his new captivity?
  8. Lyn

    Lyn Elite Member

    Hmmm interesting....we just adopted a Texas Ratsnake from Sean Casey Rescue and he is very red compared to your guy...we are waiting for him to shed so we can see his true colors....markings are the same tho....Lyn
  9. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    He is still just as calm as far as the striking and nipping goes. I haven't been struck at by this guy at all. But he is a squirmy thing. Doesn't want to sit still at all. I am surprised that I was able to get the pictures that I did.

    As for minding his new captivity...he doesn't seem to be showing any eill effects to it. Will be able to know for sure after he is fed. If he eats for me, then he has taken to it a whole lot better.

    That must be something to see. I have never seen a West Texas Rat with any red or Orange on them at all. I know that there are multiple species of Rat snakes here in Texas. There is a locality Texas Bairds here, and a few others. But I don't know much about them. This one is the main one that can be found fairly easily in my area.
  10. jacky

    jacky Moderated Status

    Very nice snake! But are you allowed to keep animals from the wild? I don't want to spoil it for you,but I read other threads on this forum from people who wanted to keep found snakes,and they were advised not to keep it.I would let him go if I were you.Imagine how many people find snakes and keep them! You sure are not the only one,and if only ten people in your area keep a snake from the wild that would mean too many rats are running around which are meant for your snake!Think about it!Please don't get me wrong,I only mean well! :)
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Jacky as long as it isn't a protected species, and you aren't collecting it for commercial purposes, most places here have no problem with you collecting and housing a snake. Where you get in trouble is with snakes that have protected status. The reason that we generally advise against keeping a wild caught snake is they may be infested with diesease or parasites and may not settle down and feed in captivity. This is particularly true for novice keepers who do not have the experience and knowledge to overcome the problems inherent in wild caught snakes. It is generally best to stick with captive bred snakes. However if you stop and consider it all our snakes were wild caught at one time.

    95% of the time!!!!!!!!!!! Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!! That 5% would get me!
  12. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    To add to what Merlin said, a captive species reintroduced into the wild can also spread diseases which can be disasterous to the native species. My opinion is once you make it a pet, it's a pet for life. If we have to relocate a wild snake we have rubbermaid containers designated for that purpose, and the snake never comes into contact with my pets. If I can't relocate it until the next day, it sleeps in the garage (which is heated). I have no problem with someone taking a common native snake in as a pet, some of my first pets as a kid were garters I caught in local fields, as long as it complies with local laws, but too often the novelty will wear off and it gets let go in the back yard.
  13. jacky

    jacky Moderated Status

    Thanks guys! But doesn't it interfere in nature,if you know what I mean? It's like with the wild caught ball pythons which are now rare in the wild because of us humans.Perhaps you can't really compare it with those,but imagine if at the same time thousands of people all over America find a rat snake and keep it.I hope I can explain it ok what I want to say.
    Paul sure is not the only one that takes a wild snake home to keep.What about the mice and rat population? The whole balance is broken,if you know what I'm trying to say.
    Merlin,sure our snakes were from wild caught ones,but we got their 'kids' and 'great-grandkids'(lol!) already.So it's a diffrent thing.It's just my opinion on that.I'm against keeping wild caught animals in general. Please don't get me wrong,I'm just worried about natures balance.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Jacky there is a big difference between the two situations. The COMMERCIAL collecting of snakes for sale is much different than a herper here and there taking a snake from the wild. The collecting of wild BPs is tantamount to clearing an area of them. They collect all the eggs, hatch the young and ship them out by the thousands. BPs are not a very prolific breeding snake to begin with.
    I am opposed to such mass commercial collecting!
  15. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Yeah, as Merlin said, commercial collecting is the one that's responsible for depleting their populations so much. Many of my current pets were WC by me. One of them is my eastern garter snake, Medusa. In this area, she runs a very high risk of being run over by a car, killed by a human, hit by a lawn mower (we use the BIG ones), or eaten by a feral cat (they run rampant on military bases!). She already has severe scarring on her head and neck from a run in with something, probably a cat. The way I see it, she didn't stand a very good chance of living a long healthy life anyway. Since she eats good for me, and since I can help her shed when she does (her scarring makes it difficult), I decided to keep her. As stated before though, CB is always better.
  16. Lyn'sSteve

    Lyn'sSteve Elite Member

    Hi folks, i'd like to add my two cents .....

    I agree with Jacky on this one. Aren't there already enough snakes out there that need a home? That would be like breeding Iguanas! If every person who found a snake in the wild kept it and made it a pet, wouldn't that eventually make the species extinct. Wild herping is great to look at, but maybe should stay ...wild!

  17. Dawson

    Dawson Active Member

    Texas rat snakes are abundant. By far the most common snake in Texas. They're not going extinct any time soon. They even do quite well in human habitated areas, which generally drives out most snake species. There is little commercial market for the normal colored ones, even though they do vary quite a bit. The ones west and north tend to be dark like the picture, the ones down south tend to have a lot of orange, the ones in the Austin area are yellow. Theres even a couple morphs, including hypo, albino, orange... and the only one that seems to be sold regularily the leucistic. Their notoriously bad attitude may be the reason they're not particularily desirable for pets. :)
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Besides when you really look at it, one of us taking a snake or two out of the wild is no different than them being taken by any other natural predator!
    Our intention is just a bit more gentle!

    Far more will be taken by natural predation and road kills.

    Not to mention the loss of habitat due to housing developments and Walmart construction! :eek:
  19. jacky

    jacky Moderated Status

    But wouldn't those things be reason enough NOT to take them? The snakes' natural predators wouldn't find enough food,because of us taking away their habitat and killing them by car.Taking them from the wild would just be another human interfering to the ones they already have,like the ones you mentioned.That would be a reason more not to take them! That's just my opinion on that. :)
  20. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Jacky no one is taking offense for your opinion, just having a nice friendly exchange. ;) Everyone is welcome to their opinion here and I think I can safely say that we all understand, up to a point, each other's side of the arguement. Some people have an interest in species outside of what is available in "the pet trade". Commercial breeders focus on what is bought by the most customers. This generally means flashy colors or designer morphs. If theres not a market for it they don't bother to breed them in ay quantity. If you want something else you have very little choice but to aquire it from the wild.
    Going out on the limb a bit furthur,....If you consider the rate of natural habitat loss its not impossible that at sometime in the near future that the only existing specimens of some species that are left may be in some herpers collection.
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