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Why Do Snakes Tend To Cuddle Each Other?

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by KrokadilyanGuy3, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    I was on a venomous forum the other day and someone had asked why do snakes tend to congregate when housed together. No one had answered his particular question, likely because most are probably thinking "Duh, we keep the snakes where they will bask in a particular area and hide in another. With the optimums being in few and far between, they are forced to share."

    I, too, thought the same when I read this post the other day..

    Chelsea today had pointed out something that got me thinking. I have a Thai Bamboo red rat. These guys are somewhat Subterranean, mine, almost fossorial. That is up until I threw in a Gaboon viper into his enclosure. Almost immediately, the bamboo came out inspecting his enclosure, actually since the addition, I don't think he's been there has been underground since.

    There has been no signs of territorial displays, no huffing, hissing or anything remotely aggressive or defensive.
    Chelsea was somewhat worried as this isn't normal behavior for this guy. I was a bit weirded out too, so I decided to feed them and see if they would take any food to make sure the stress level was down. Fed the Gaboon first since his hopper was in a paper bag. Stupid me didn't think the bamboo would also go for the mouse. He's the size of a pencil eating pinkies. Pulled the bamboo off the mouse that was also in the gaboons mouth and put him in a tubberware and he eagerly ate his two pinkies.

    To me, a herp that's eating and drinking is a herp that's happy.

    The weird part of all this is that the bamboo now sits next to the gaboon everytime he sleeps/rests. Doesn't go underground anymore. You would think maybe they're both enjoying the heat and hides however, I do not have any hides other than the plants. The gaboon has not moved from this spot since I placed him in the enclosure. Even waited for the mouse to get in front of his face before eating (normal gabby behavior)

    I also no not have a heat spot as neither animal is a basking animal and both tend to enjoy cooler temps (75ish) and same humidity for that matter.

    The Bamboo is literally "enjoying" the gaboons company..
    So it seems.

    Just a thought I thought was cool.


  2. Buggy0123

    Buggy0123 Established Member

    Defiantly interesting to see those two alongside each other like that.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    My only thought here is that this will end badly, just a matter of whether for the keeper or one of the animals. Not usually a good idea to cohabitate, except with certain species, and I can't imagine the thought process of someone doing this with a gaboon involved. Could have been very bad if it had decided to go after the keeper when they were messing with its food.
    Edit: to answer the original question, with most snakes it is because they have no choice but to share hotspots and hides or whatever. Again with the exception of a few species.
  4. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    Agreed, typically they are forced to share the same heat and hides as mentioned, but in this particular situation that is not the case, which is why the post I had seen made me take a second guess.

    Also, I've been keeping venomous snakes for 20 years (as well as crocodilians). Even if the Gaboon decided to have a go at me, nothing would have came of it considering the snake was never anywhere close enough to cause any harm, considering the tools I use. I also hook the bamboo, it's not a pleasant snake to handle by hand. If you had concerns of me reaching into the enclosure to grab the bamboo.

    I have also been in the art of cohabitation for just as long if not longer than that. A gaboon is typically a lazy snake by habit. Other than the fact the animal is venomous, it's not that much of an issue for two lazy snakes to co-exist within the same enclosure. It's actually no different than those who house pairs and trios together. Both snakes, though come from different parts of the world, require the same care (50-60% humidity, around a 75ish degree enclosure 83+ can be harmful for both snakes. Both do best in natural loose substrate. Neither require a basking area and is actually advised against. My pair I had before I moved to Floirda never used the one I provided anyway.) and both have a clean bill of health.

    Only thing is now I know that the bamboo believes he is a far larger snake than he actually is.

    A simple feeding bin will solve that issue.

    I understand the concern, and still hear the speech often, but I assure you that this is not unchartered territory for me.
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Wasn't trying to be insulting, so I apologize if it came off that way. And I'll be the first to admit I have zero experience with hots. However, I will stand by the idea that unless these are species that would naturally be found hanging out in groups in the wild, they will be causing some stress when housed together. In the case of yours, I would imagine there must be something about that one spot that attracts them both. No idea what that might be, but I can't imagine any other reason why they would do what you describe. And yes, I know a lot of people keep all sorts of herps in groups, but most of the times I've seen it, it was being done for the convenience of the keeper, or just to save space, neither of which is a good reason to cohab.
  6. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    That's the part that has me intrigued.
    There's really no notion to why that spot would be an attractant considering the other areas in the enclosure are exactly the same.

    The biggest kicker is the bamboo has lived in this enclosure for 6 months prior to the introduction of the gaboon. He has never sat in this spot for any reason. As I had mentioned, he was an animal that rarely breached the surface unless it was time to eat or when I sprayed the enclosure so he could drink.

    He's acting normal. Super angry and a very aggressive feeder. Neither are showing any signs of stress.

    I guess the sciencey thing to do is remove the Gaboon and see what happens.
  7. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Yeah, with your I have no clue, never worked with either species and my knowledge of either is basically nonexistent. Wild guess here, maybe the is something about the gaboon, like some pheromone or something that is attracting the bamboo for whatever reason. It would seem to be some factor we humans can't quantify. At least your being logical about it, seen too many who wanted to insist that they're snakes were in love or enjoyed each other, lol.

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