King Cobra or ornamental

Re: King Cobra or ornamental

Postby rolandslf » Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:29 pm

If you want a non-venomous snake with attitude to keep you on your toes, look at the following two examples:

Indiginous = Large Mole Snake. Get one around 1.5 meters plus.
Exotic = Large Texas Rat Snake. Get one around 2.5 meters plus.

If you can go a year without being tagged by one of these, consider yourself safe enough in your actions to contemplate the switch to HOTS.
It is better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On.
Roland Friskin
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Re: King Cobra or ornamental

Postby deleray » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:33 pm

Problem with King Cobra as an ornamental snake is that it is probably the least ornamental "cobra" you can have. I have kept them and they are awesome animals, don't get me wrong. Still my favorite by any stretch of the imagination.

Your challenges are going to be as such:

The price, unless you have a bit of spare cash around the R6k-R7k mark that you are prepared to lose if the animal doesnt make it (possible with kings) then dont even worry

Availability - even with the money in your back pocket trying to get hold of one is not like walking into a petshop on a saturday afternoon. They are still relatively rare in the country and so being new to the hobby you tend to be on the bottom of an imaginary waiting list (Im not talking about smuggled animals that are going to die on you in a month)

Be prepared to have to force feed the animal when it is young, depending on the locality this could persist until adulthood (ask Gavin about force feeding 4 meter king cobras) - they love to roll in your hand too which keeps the blood pumping through your veins a little faster

Be prepared to have to find a steady supply of source feeder snakes, dead or alive depending on the kings preference (also not all eat every snake, some can be picky and only prefer asian locality - see previous point then)

Lots of work and patience - you will need to persist with numerous combinations of snake tied to rat sewed to mouse etc etc before it starts to take mice or rats on its own (may never work - see previous point then)

Cleaning the cage - they are smart snakes, don't think you can coax it into a trapbox if it does not want to go. It knows what you want to do and will do everything to make sure thats not where it is going to go. So be prepared to have to pull it out and place him in a container (gets trickier the bigger he gets which is quickly)

Shedding - they have specific husbandry requirements that require work and money to setup and maintain. If things go slightly wrong they will end up with shedding problems and retained eyecaps - a nasty little task with a 1.5meter cobra is made worse by it being triple that size

Venom - If you are going to keep a cobra this is not one you want to get bitten by, full stop. A well known king cobra keeper in the UK for many years just died a couple months back after been bitten.

All that said, if and when the oppertunity presents itself and you are ready, it will be the best snake you will ever purchase in my opinion - everyone has their favourites.

Good luck and enjoy.
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