Pantherophis obsoletus (Western rat snake or black rat snake)
texas

Origin: parts of North America and South Canada
Length: up to 2 meters
Age: 15 years
The body is yellow or tan in color, with a brown or olive green pattern that extends from the head to the tail. The individuals in the south are more yellow in color while individuals in the north are darker in color. The characteristic that distinguishes him from other rat snakes is the completely gray head. In addition, you see variations in the wild with red or orange spots.

Care
Experience: Average snake keeper
Food: Live or dead prey. Primary prey animals are mice and rats.
Adult feeding: every 5 days
Feeding young: Every 3 to 5 days
Water basin: Yes
Change water: 3 times a week
Food
There is a choice to offer the prey animals alive or dead. It is advisable to offer dead food. This is because it is more practical and prevents the food animal from injuring your snake. In addition, it is advised to offer the food animal with a pair of tongs and to feed your snake outside the enclosure. This ensures that your hand is not associated with food and prevents your snake from grasping your hand during feeding. If you go for live food, you must supervise it during feeding. The prey can also injure the snake. Feed the rat snake separately, because when two snakes catch the same prey they can injure each other and sometimes even eat eachother. The ideal prey is about the same with as the widest part of the snake.

Water
The black rat snakes are real swimmers, so the ability to swim or bathe is greatly appreciated. To achieve this, a water bowl is needed large enough for the snake to be able to lie with the whole body, something bigger themselves they will appreciate. Because the snake will lie in it, the water can get dirty faster, so make sure that the water is refreshed when it is dirty. They also drink that water.

Cleaning
A hygienic environment is important to keep your black rat snake healthy. To achieve this, the accommodation will have to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning once a week is enough. In addition, to prevent the build-up of bacteria, the entire enclosure must be cleaned and disinfected a few times a year.

Handling
From time to time it will happen that you will have to handle your black rat snake. If you use a snake it is advisable to use a snake hook, if not make sure that your snake is easy to handle. The young snakes or snakes that have not been used before can be defensive and can therefore attack. The snake is not poisonous, but it is better to avoid bite injuries. After multiple handling, the snake will automatically get used to it and become less defensive.

Never squeeze your snake during handling, because their vertebrae are fragile and can easily break. Also make sure that your hands are washed and do not smell like food. Finally, do not handle your snake when it is peeling and do not handle it in the dark.

Housing
Minimum large enclosure for 1 couple: 150 x 60 x 60
Lying area: 0.5 m2 and 1 raised platform per snake on which the snake can lie with its entire body.
Day temperature: 24-28C
Night temperature: 18-22C
Hours of light: 12 hours
Humidity degree: 40% -60%
Ground cover: Newspapers, bark, sand or shreds
Enclosure
The black rat snake is a snake that occurs in a variety of areas and therefore requires a varied terrarium in captivity. They like to climb and need climbing opportunities. That is why it is advisable to use a terrarium that is higher than 60 cm so that the snake can actually climb. The climbing possibilities can be offered in the form of climbing branches. In addition to climbing, they also like bathing, you can do this by giving a water bowl that is large enough for the snake to lie with its entire body. Keep in mind that the container is heavy enough so that the snake does not push it around. The black rat snake can be very shy and therefore needs plenty of hiding places. You can offer this in the form of a plastic cave or a piece of cork, make sure that they are large enough that all black rat snakes in the enclosure can hide underneath. The black rat snake also likes to toss and tubmle in the dirt, you can offer it by offering thicker ground cover or giving it a sand bath.

For the enclosure there are some extra things to look out for. The black rat snake is able to wriggle through small cracks. Keep this in mind and make sure that there are no small cracks in the accommodation that fits through. In addition, ventilation is needed to keep the air fresh and it is advisable to enclosure out of the bright sun and to place it as vibration-free as possible.

Behaviour
Hunting method: Constricting snake.
Lifestyle: Semi-arboreal & day-active
Character: The black rat snake is an active snake and easily adapts to its environment. They are good climbers and swimmers. Make interesting and lively pets in captivity.
Points of attention: Black rat snakes can be defensive, especially during the enclosure. Take care when handling your snake to prevent unnecessary injury. Regular handling will eventually ensure that the snake becomes tamer and calmer.

Costs and Purchase
Legislation: No documentation is required to keep the black rat snake.
One-off costs: This includes the costs for accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. This can together cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros. The final amount depends on the quality and size of the products.
Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, this is several tens of euros per year.
Unexpected costs: Costs have been incurred if your snake happens to fall ill or your equipment breaks down.

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