Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Here you will find information regarding care for your reptiles. These are member contributions.

Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Fooble » Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:37 pm

Does any one have any experience Keeping and breeding these Snakes?
Would Be much apreciated.
Organized crime comes in more forms than one.
User avatar
Fooble
Forum gatekeeper
 
Posts: 5319
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:32 am
Location: Umhlanga, Durban - KZN

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Nasicornis » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:01 am

Which egg eaters are you referring to?
No dangerous reptiles, only dangerous keepers
User avatar
Nasicornis
SA Reptiles Honorary Member
 
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:29 pm
Location: Pretoria North

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Fooble » Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:23 pm

Southern Brown OR THE Rhombic specis
Organized crime comes in more forms than one.
User avatar
Fooble
Forum gatekeeper
 
Posts: 5319
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:32 am
Location: Umhlanga, Durban - KZN

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Durban Keeper » Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:59 pm

There are some very detailed & extensive care sheets available for this species online...
Life is but a dream for the dead.
User avatar
Durban Keeper
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 2284
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Durban

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby MacAdder » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:06 am

Introduction & Description:

Egg-eaters are fascinating snakes whose name is derived from its diet. They are a small group of only a few snake species in the world who's diet is only eggs. The normal colours of Common Egg-eaters (Dasypeltis scabra) are grayish to brown with darker rhombic (square) markings or blotches or chevrons (v-shapes) down the back. A brown variation, apparently called the Brown Egg-eater, is commonly found in the southern parts of South Africa's Orange Free State. According to the literature these snakes are a bit smaller than Common Egg-eaters.
These snakes have slender bodies with heavy roughened keeled scales. When Egg-eaters are agitated they coil and uncoil, allowing the lateral scales to rub against each other, causing a hissing or rasping sound whilst striking out viciously with an open mouth. The lining of the mouth is very dark and the teeth are reduced or totally absent (although the subfamily Dasypeltinae makes up the solid toothed colubrids). This species is kept more for its remarkable feeding habits than its appearance.
Because Egg-eaters are indigenous to South Africa and because they are at this stage more commonly caught from the wild than they are captive bred (South Africa), it is important to read the Common Egg-eater Zoology section for more info for wild captive Egg-eaters and Egg-eaters in their natural environment.

Egg-eaters As Pets:
Egg-eaters are mainly held for their fascinating feeding habits. Many people might also prefer them because they have reduced or no teeth and cannot cause painful bites. These snakes only reach a small mature size which makes them easy to handle and keep. If fed correctly they will only eat once a month or even less! Because these snakes eat eggs, their cages or containers don't stink that easily.

Unfortunately the most positive aspect for Egg-eaters are also one of their cons, namely their food. Eggs are hard to get by, especially outside the breeding season. Although there are other ways to feed these snakes it is not an easy procedure and can take a bit of practice. In most provinces of South Africa (excluding Kwazulu-Natal) you need a keeping permit from the specific Nature Conservation to keep and breed these snakes (see the About Reptile Permits page for more info). Droppings are watery and sometimes hard to clean properly on some substrates. Most Egg-eaters are aggressive snakes and can not be readily handled like other snakes. Like most snakes they are also nocturnal or night living. All and all these snakes do not make very good pets, but hobbyists might want to keep them for the fascinating snakes they are.

Obtaining Egg-eaters:
At this stage it's only Kwazulu-Natal residents who can catch Egg-eaters or collect their eggs out of the wild or buy them from a pet shop. In Gauteng appropriate transport and keeping permits are necessary to obtained and keep these snakes. Permits will only be issued through Herpetological Societies. Please refer to the About Reptile Permits page for more information.

The Bare Minimum For Keeping:
Listed here are the minimum requirements you'll need to keep an Egg-eater. To understand everything properly please make sure you've also read and the General Snake Care Sheet.
· a permit
· cage/container
· preferable a few eggs (correct size) for short term usage or
· a stomach tube and syringe if you're planning on tube-feeding it yourself
· hiding
· small water bowl
· a warmish room or heating equipment
To begin with newspaper can be used as substrate. See the Suitable Substrates For Reptiles section for more info on substrates. Because Egg-eaters are indigenous to South Africa room temperatures in warmer regions of South Africa are sufficient. Cooler room temperatures (below 23 ºC / 73 ºF) need extra heating equipment to maintain temperatures at the required range. Heating equipment is also necessary in most parts during the winter months to maintain the correct temperature range when a snake is not hibernated. Make sure to buy a heat pad or adequate heating equipment mentioned in the General Snake Care Sheet and the Accessories & Other Stuff for Herptiles.

Captive Care Environment:
Environmental temperatures should be between 22 & 30ºC / 73 & 85ºF. A heat gradient that exceeds both these temperatures should be maintained for thermoregulation.
Washed sand, play sand or river sand can be used as a natural looking substrate. Give clean dry eggs when using sand as substrate. See the Suitable Substrates For Herptiles section for more info on substrates.
Egg-eaters are arboreal and like to climb. Tall enclosures with branches and artificial plants for climbing are excellent for enrichment. These snakes will sometimes climb up trees and rob eggs from bird nests. Empty fink or finch nests make good hiding for smaller snakes. Old bird nests or small containers of similar shape and size with some type of bird nest material or substrate is often the preferred hide area, particularly if it is elevated on a branch of some sort.
The rest of the environmental factors are discussed in the General Snake Care Sheet.

Handling:
Because Egg-eaters are somewhat aggressive it is not recommended to handle them a lot. Egg-eaters do not wrap snugly around your arm like pythons or kings. They tend to pick a direction and go for it. Though they are small in body mass, they are quite strong. Always support the middle of the body and give free rein to the head. If the head starts going somewhere you don't want it to go, gently guide it into another direction. Many snakes are nervous when introduced into a new situation with new people. Give them a couple of days to settle down before letting new people handle them.

Behaviour:
Egg-eaters are nocturnal, which means it's spending most of the day hiding beneath rocks or under loose bark. They will sometimes climb up trees and rob bird nests of their eggs after which they will still have the nerve to stay in for a while. They frequently hibernates in empty termite mounds. During and just before the winter months wild Egg-eaters in urban areas are frequently found near and even in homes where they are seeking shelter from the cold. If sufficient food and the correct temperatures can be supplied during winter, hibernation isn't necessary.

Food:
Hence the name, these snakes only eat eggs. Under natural conditions hatchlings might also eat gecko or ant eggs (we don't know) and sometimes might have to eat up to small fink or finch eggs. As these snakes grow they can go up to small quail or budgie eggs, pigeon eggs, later bantam fowls or "kapokkie" eggs and small chicken eggs. Adult Egg-eaters will go up to chicken eggs. The size of the different bird eggs is discussed in the egg section below.
Eggs can be a problem to obtain, especially for hatchlings and during the winter months. It is recommended to house your own birds for eggs. A few females can be housed together with a male or alone. Some pet shops might also be generous enough to give you quail eggs or other available eggs. Laying mesh used for chickens can be supplied to help with egg formation with ground dwelling species like chickens and bantam fowls.

Feeding:
Snakes should be fed until they are full and then again after it has defecated. There should be no little meals in between. All the eggs should preferable be fed on the same day, but never more than two days apart. Sometimes a snake may prefer only to eat over a two day period. Adult Egg-eaters are known to gorge on a large number of eggs and then have a long fast (one to two months), even when offered eggs. The size of the eggs to be fed will be discussed in the eggs section below. Eggs can be placed on the floor of the container or under a hide box. It should be left alone for one to two days. Snakes will be more likely to eat during the night or with dark surroundings.
Clean, intact eggs with no cracks or chips should be used. Eggs should be fed at room temperature. Refrigerated eggs can be left for an hour or so to reach room temperature. Eggs should never be placed in the sun, microwave oven or under a light as excessive temperatures will cause denaturation and rotting of the contents. Rotten eggs usually smell bad or it will float in tap water. Fresh budgie or other small eggs will also float because of their weight : size relationship, but darker colouration is an indication for development. Fresh budgie eggs should almost be transparent where rotten eggs becomes more darker in colour. Rotten or developed eggs can kill snakes and should never be offered. Although Egg-eating snakes have the ability to detect bad eggs, it should never be used as a reliable way to detect bad eggs.
Go to the Reptile & Amphibian Feeding Problems page to see what to try if an Egg-eater refuses to eat.

Force Feeding:
Although hatchling snakes can take up to eleven months to die under experimental conditions, it is not recommended to let any Egg-eating snake without food for more than two months. Unfortunately snakes won't drink or eat beaten egg from a bowl, so the only alternative is tube- or force feeding. Force-feeding should only be used in cases of emergency and not as an easy way out of collecting eggs. Force-feeding should only be attempted under supervision of an experienced herper or vet and is especially used to feed smaller snakes or hatchlings.
| Top |
Eggs:
A hungry Egg-eater can consume an egg with a diameter of up to 10 times that of its own head! When feeding captive Egg-eaters the diameter should never be larger than four times the diameter of the head. When force feeding a snake, the equivalent quantity of two to five correct sized eggs should be fed. Rather feed less often than feeding small quantities at a time. A snake can eat 5 and sometimes more eggs of the correct size and go without food for a few weeks.
The size, appearance and average contents of different eggs can be found on the Eggs page.


Reproduction:
Although wild Egg-eaters usually breed at the end of winter (after hibernation), captive bred snakes may breed more or less any time of the year. Females are oviparous (egg-laying) and in the wild 6 to 25 (avg. 10) eggs are laid in summer. They apparently scatter their eggs rather than laying them in a clutch. Under natural conditions eggs will take two to three months to hatch. Eggs are 27-46 x 15-20mm. In captivity a second clutch may be laid without further matings although fertility is usually low.
contact me and let me know. I would love to hear your ideas or methods you might use that is different than ours."

Last updated 14 August 2005 by Renier Delport
Fight against Oppression apathy and ignorance.
Challenge to open the eyes of those that choose not to see.
User avatar
MacAdder
SA Reptiles member (restricted)
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:59 pm
Location: Cape Town

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby joshua » Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:08 pm

hi!

i am thinking of getting a common egg eater,and have some experience in keeping snakes.i was told that these snakes do not thrive with a heating pad.is this correct?is it better to not have one?
thanks
joshua
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Fooble » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:26 am

Hey Joshua

Ive been keep mine for a while on heat and its doing really well.
It's a hatchling and is growing really fast, so i dont see the problem with heat at all.
Organized crime comes in more forms than one.
User avatar
Fooble
Forum gatekeeper
 
Posts: 5319
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:32 am
Location: Umhlanga, Durban - KZN

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby joshua » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:15 pm

thanks.
im getting a friends one.he's immigrating.its about a meter! he wasn't using heat,just wondering if i should introduce a heating pad.hes quite docile,but chows! iv got bantam chickens so my egg supply is perfect!
joshua
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Bushviper » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:03 pm

Joshua if you can keep them at the temperatures listed above then you do not have to worry about a heating pad. It also depends on where you live.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.
User avatar
Bushviper
Founder Member
 
Posts: 17358
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:02 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby joshua » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:25 pm

ja,iv been maintainig a temperature of about 75 deg. Fahrenheit.i live in cape town.the snake seems comfortable!

thanks!
joshua
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Bushviper » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:21 am

The chances are good the snake the snake comes from the Cape so it is pretty used to the temperatures you offer. If it is that big then hibernating the snake is a good idea too. It will be a female and you should make the effort to get it paired up (permanently or just a loan) because these snakes are easy to breed and the babies can be released into suitable habitat when they hatch.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.
User avatar
Bushviper
Founder Member
 
Posts: 17358
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:02 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby joshua » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:10 pm

ja,iv seen some around my neighbouthood(noordehoek),even found one feeding on my chickens eggs!
joshua
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby John Rees » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:27 am

Hi fellow Herps
I have only just joined and have taken a quick look through the site to see what I can find about feeding baby egg-eaters. We found a female Rhombic near Lions River in the KZN Midlands and after her first feed she laid 6 of her own eggs. Unfortunately we lost 4 eggs but the last 2 hatched a couple of weeks ago. We have subsequently released the female (mother) at the same site but would like to try and grow the young-uns up a bit as I am not sure letting them go just as winter is coming on is going to be good for their survival. Also my wife is not happy with my son and I taking indigenous creatures out of their natural habitat and is concerned for the well being of the babies. Got to keep Mum happy!

Finding gecko eggs is proving to be very difficult. Does anyone have any specific info on how to tube feed the babies? Or would you know of anyone in the Pietermaritzburg / Durban area who has done this before? Any advice would be most welcome.
Cheers
John
John Rees
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:42 pm
Location: Pietermaritzburg

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby Fooble » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:37 am

Nice going on releasing the female always a good thing.

The babies probably will not feed on geckos eggs try get hold of some Finch eggs they should probably take those no problem!
In regards to tube feeding there is now allot of info on this forum about it so take a look a round here but id suggest as far as possible try get them feeding on their own.
Where exactly did you find the Adult, do you have any pictures?
Organized crime comes in more forms than one.
User avatar
Fooble
Forum gatekeeper
 
Posts: 5319
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:32 am
Location: Umhlanga, Durban - KZN

Re: Care Sheets For Egg Eaters

Postby John Rees » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:17 am

Thanks. I was thinking of contacting some of the local bird breeders for finch eggs as I was really impressed at the size of the pigeon eggs that the female manged to swallow. So the babies shouldn't have a problem with small bird eggs. I will try that route first and report back.

The snake was found at a trout dam just off the N3 near the Lions River off ramp. My son actually spotted it in the middle of the day (we must have disturbed it?) and made a grab for it. Got a bit of a fright as I thought it was a night adder at first glance and considering the time of day - caused some panic for a moment!!

I have some nice photos and will try to post them in the near future once I have figured out how to do it. I am an ignoramus when it comes to these web-based "chat" rooms / forums!
John Rees
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:42 pm
Location: Pietermaritzburg

Next

Return to Care Sheets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron