Great Plains Ratsnake Caresheet

 

Background Information
Great Plains Ratsnakes are cousins to the corn snake. These ratsnakes don't grow as big average size being just 2 - 3ft, a small species compared to most ratsnakes. A grey coloured snake with brown saddles their geographic range populates the mid - western USA. Parts of Colorado, Utah and illionois. Some are also found in the arid regions of Texas and New Mexico. Their name simply comes from this ratsnake spending most of its time on the plains of America. These were once thought to be corn snakes but now have their own elevated status. Their colouration helps them blend into their rocky plains enviroment to avoid predators picking them up due to their small size. Like corns they are a reclusive species coming out at cooler parts of the day to hunt where there is less chance of them being seen.

Level of Experience

Beginner

Habitat

Grassy and scrubland plains, sandy areas with rocky outcrops

Life Span

15 - 18 years

Active Time of Day

Crepuscular

Natural Prey

Rodents, lizards, bats, birds, frogs

Terrestrial / Semi Arboreal / Arboreal / Aquatic / Fossorial

Terrestrial

Reproduction

Mate in the spring bewteen March - April, eggs laid May - July

Clutch Size

3 - 37 eggs, average being 16

Breeding Weights / Length / Age

Males - 100g / 1.5ft / 2 years of age

Females - 250g / 2ft / 3 years of age

Brumation Time

3 months in winter - end of november to end of feb

Brumation Temperature

12 - 16 'C

Incubation Time

52 - 85 days

Incubation Temperature

26 - 29 'C

 


Captive Requirements and Welfare
Great Plains rats do make a good alternative starter to the corn if space is an issue. Since they don't grow as big and climb slightly more, most can be housed in small enclosures although this does depend on how big the individual snake grows. Great Plains do like to hide away in crevices and rocky areas therefore it is beneficial that it is given these areas to climb and hide. Although reclusive they are placid like their corn cousins just not growing as big. Good handlers and prefer to run away then bite.

Vivarium size

30x30x30cm for hatchling
2 / 3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft for adult

Daytime Temperature (cool – warm)

22 - 30 'C

Night-time Temperature

18 - 22 'C

Heating / Lighting Equipment (on timer)

Spot bulb during the day, room temperature at night

Lighting - T8 2% Natural sun Arcadia UVB tube

Substrate

Most Natural: Forest floor and lucky reptile desert bedding mix - for scrubland design
Alternatives: Aspen, Wood Chip

Hides

Minimum of 2 one in each end of the vivarium to allow for thermoregulation and to make them feel secure. A 3rd moss hide would benefit when the snake is shedding.

Decor

Rocky hill type decor and some plant where is best for this species + aids shedding

Water

Fresh water topped up when needed. The bowl should be cleaned every few days to prevent slime build up.

Food (Feeding)

Pinkies when young and increase the size as they grow. Its recommended to take the snake out when feeding and place it into a box to avoid substrate ingestion

Cleaning

Spot clean weekly,full clean monthly