Russian Rat Snake Caresheet

 

Background Information
Russian rat snakes are a colubrid species native to Russia, Siberia, Korea and China. A medium sized snake some being known to reach 7ft but average out between 4 1/2 and 6 feet in length. Found in most habitats, these snakes when young start of brown bodied with light browny cream saddles. As they age they turn black and the saddles either become more silver or gold. Russians spend equal time high in trees as well as at ground level, when threatened these snakes race up high or straight to water giving them the nickname the Manchurian watersnake. They are very good climbers and surprisingly strong compared to their lean build. Living at elevations of upto 2000m russians are well adapted to cooler climates then other ratsnakes.

Level of Experience

Beginner

Habitat

Woodland, scrub plains

Life Span

15 years could reach up to 20

Active Time of Day

Crepuscular

Natural Prey

Rodents, bats, birds

Terrestrial / Semi Arboreal / Arboreal / Aquatic / Fossorial

Semi - Arboreal

Reproduction

Mate: Spring
Lay: Summer

Clutch Size

6 - 30

Breeding Weights / Length / Age

Males: 160g+ / 3ft / 2 years of age
Females: 300g+ / 3ft / 3 years of age

Brumation Time

3 - 4 months

Brumation Temperature

8 – 12 ‘C

Incubation Time

35 - 60 days

Incubation Temperature

25 – 29 ’C

There are two natural colourations from the wild: Wildtype and Anerythristic

 
Captive Requirements and Welfare
Russian rats are very curious, inquistive snakes actively roaming round their surrounds they are a highly underated alternative starting snake. Docile nature and very rarely bite preferring to flee away where they can. Ideally a 2ft high vivarium is beneficial as russians do like to climb. Since the need cool temperatures not much heating is required for russian rats making this species energy efficient as well as a good tempered pet. Some russians do prefer having smaller prey items offered for their size therefore if they seem less inclined in taking larger meals offer multiple smaller prey items as an alternative method. Its important to note that due to their climbing nature any UV tubes placed inside the vivarium should be guarded to prevent burns.

Vivarium size

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

Daytime Temperature (cool – warm)

22 – 27 ‘C

Night-time Temperature

15 – 20 ‘C

Heating / Lighting Equipment (on timer)

Low wattage spot bulb during day, room temperature at night

T8 2% Natural sun Arcadia UV tube

Substrate

Most Natural: Repti Bark
Alternatives: Aspen

Hides

2 at minimum: one on each side to give security

Decor

Branches and fake plants allow the opportunity to climb and aids in shedding

Water

Fresh water topped up when needed clean out water bowl every few days to prevent slime build up. Having a large water bowl may be useful as this snake is known not to be shy for spending time in water.

Food (Feeding)

Pinkies when young then increase the size appropriately. Always place in a separate box for feeding to avoid substrate ingestion. Bere in mind about feeding smaller prey items.

Cleaning

Spot pick weekly, full clean monthly