see reptiles diffenetly

   May 21

Leopard Rat Snake, Zamenis situla

Although an agile climber, the leopard rat snake is entirely at home on the ground.
Because of superficial similarities to our corn snake, not the least being that of color and pattern, this pretty rat snake was often referred to by American hobbyists as the European Corn Snake. Like our corn snake, the leopard rat snake, Zamenis situla, was also once contained in the then cosmopolitan genus Elaphe making the nomenclatural analogy even more understandable.

Today most North American rat snakes are contained in the genus Pantherophis while the leopard rat snake, now in the genus Zamenis, is the most brightly colored of the three species in that Old World genus.

The leopard rat snake occurs in both a saddled and a striped morph. The ground color varies through shades of gray to a warm tan and the red dorsal markings may be strongly or vaguely outlined in black. A black band extends across the top of the head from eye to eye and the anteriormost red marking is in the form of a spearpoint, pointed end foremost.

Occasionally reaching a length of 3 ½ feet, these slender snakes are usually adult at 3 feet or slightly less and the females are often the larger sex.

Our captives have proven shy, seasonably active, and spend most of their time securely hidden in their hideboxes. They prefer small prey items, and several of ours were reluctant to accept white mice of any size but would readily eat deer and white-footed mice. A 90 day period of hibernation is recommended.

During their active period a cage temperature of 70-75F is satisfactory but a basking hot spot of 85-90F should be provided.

Clutch size is usually 4 to 6 large, elongate, eggs. Incubation (60 to 70 days) should be at about 82F. Hatchlings may refuse food until they have been hibernated.
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