All around favorite?

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by Primo, Aug 3, 2016.

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  1. Primo

    Primo Active Member

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    WOW!
    I'm elated to see so many well thought out responses tossed my way on this topic. I should state that when I speak of "activity" levels I'm being very ​general. There is an understanding of snake to snake (individual) behavior and differences in activity based on species and their specific habits.

    I fully believe the carpet python group will be more active than royal pythons, blood pythons and other similar animals but will not hold a candle to some of the colubrids that are much more active in general.

    I don't have a large study group here and can only go off my experiences with other snakes that I've observed and my own collection. Most all of this is based on the captive environment which is obviously very different from the wild. I have also taken into account what I've read in books and other media plus I'm adding ​YOUR (the forum community) experiences in to get a wider range.

    I am a rather big believer that a "fat and happy" captive snake will be a boring snake. Boa constrictors are some of the most consistent eaters, rarely refusing a meal, yet they are one of the first types to become overfed, lazy and often they die an early death because of excess stores of fat. There is a bit of a learning curve to properly figuring them (boa constrictors) out, at least for a serious keeper that wants to see a snake live beyond 20 years.

    Being acutely aware of seasonal changes, hours of light, humidity and temperatures is important and will play a role in longevity and day to day behavior. I keep my guy lean and he is off feed in the winter. Because of this, he is probably more active than the average boa kept by an overzealous keeper that enjoys watching weekly feedings.

    I'm not a breeder nor do I plan to be so I won't even touch on the effect of reproductive pheromones and their related cues that alter activity and behavior.

    I'm WAY off track LOL!

    Anyhow, I think because I like semi arboreal VS completely arboreal or completely terrestrial I'm very inclined to look at bigger coastals (mine is a mutt) and possibly a dwarf or super dwarf reticulated python. I had considered a Timor python but I'm hearing a lot of poop and pee and musking reports. Even the retics generate a lot of waste fairly often.

    I think the carpet group or another locality boa constrictor would fit here best but that doesn't quash my interest in the right olive or possibly smaller reticulated python.

    Personally, and this is only my experience my carpet seems to be the most active and social of the 3 snakes. She would get the nod if the boa constrictor wasn't so fun and impressive to handle. She's actually all over the cage as I type this. She has been active all morning and it is splendid!

    I could probably send my wife into a frenzy if I just got another carpet and boa. Problem solved LOL!
     
  2. BredliFreak

    BredliFreak Well-Known Member

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    An oenpelliensis would be awesome!

    I have found that my male Carpet is somewhere in the middle, but during the day he spends 90% of it basking. My suspected female/male (got her sexed, the guy thought it was a male but couldn't be too sure as the probe went in a place where you couldn't tell very well) isn't very active and will spend her days and nights just switching where she sits occasionally.
     
  3. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    From my own experience, GTPs would have to be the most inactive species I have ever kept, and this applies especially to the females, which will rarely move from under their heat source for weeks on end. It's my belief that this inactivity leads to a number of health issues with these animals - poor muscle tone and reduced bowel activity which leads to tail-hanging and the increased potential for prolapse, and a general lack of fitness. It's been my experience that males generally are much more resilient and retain better overall fitness, and often have longer, healthier lives than females. Given our tendency to overfeed our pythons, and a poor level of activity, it's a disaster waiting to happen. I was talking to the late Rico Walder on one of his visits to Oz a few years ago, he told me he had cut back to one mouse a week for his breeding females as a general rule, and their overall health was very much improved, with far less tail-hanging. It seems to me that much more environmental stimulation and more reasons to keep them moving (such as they would encounter in the wild) would greatly benefit female GTPs in particular.

    It would be interesting to know (maybe a survey) from long-term keepers which sex has an overall longer life in captivity, and this may not just apply to GTPs, given the reproductive stresses female pythons face through their breeding years. Primo, I suspect that very few keepers see their animals reach 20 years, even though this is very doable with informed husbandry. Many specimens in zoos live to ripe old ages because they are simply not over-indulged.

    Jamie
     
  4. Primo

    Primo Active Member

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    We seem to be on the same page and have a lot of similar views. I have heard the same about GTP's and am not surprised by your personal findings and observations.

    Yes !!! 20+ years is very doable for a lot of the snakes we keep. I think some would be surprised by my age, though I'm not ancient, I am close to retirement and picked up this snake hobby because my wife and I bought our son the royal python for his 9th B-day 4 years ago.

    I think because I'm not facing life changes and actually got into the hobby for relaxation and a true interest in the critters I keep, I'm able to think long term and don't worry about marriage, job changes or relocation. Please don't take that (you younger keepers) as anything more than what it is. There are myriads of school kids, and young adults that are well prepared and passionate about the hobby. You Aussie folks really seem fit for this because these snakes, at least the ones I'm interested in live side by side with some of you and you know more about them than most.

    I seem to get off track a lot LOL!

    I too would be curious to see some studies whether they are from personal experience or actually long term field studies on the topic Jamie mentioned.

    OH, another snake that is on my "hot list" would be a scrubby of a smaller locality. The word is that they are not a great keep, but maybe that is because, at least in the US, there aren't many captive breeding programs.

    In all actuality they may be my favorite snake of period. However olives eat other snakes I'm told and that to me makes them pretty spectacular.

    Another species is the Papuan Olive python but again they are not readily available. Another snake eater from what I've read.

    I'm not into morphs and prefer Mother Nature colors and patterns.

    Do you folks in OZ find sexual dimorphism favoring the male carpets, at least the species that participate in combat? Does that change in captivity if you are just raising a pet?

    My apologies as I'm all over the board with attention deficit disorder which is my nature but I'm trying to get information and type and when I think of something I tend to blurt it out. Hopefully this is not overly confusing.

    As you can see, I'm very much leaning toward and Aussie Bredli or Brisbane locality coastal.

    Sans a beautiful Suriname boa constrictor or just the right super dwarf reticulated python I think this is a no brainer.

    Here are a few more reasons why I love locality boa constrictors.

    This is my male Barranquilla, Colombian. He was produced by Gus Rentfro who is a world authority on boa constrictors. He lives in Texas and obviously selectively bred this line of boas. That said these animals often look just like this in the wild.


    Thank you ALL for making this discussion informative and enjoyable!

    On the rocks.
    [​IMG]


    In the green. These guys are hard to beat for looks and activity, plus general handling but I think carpets may just edge them out for me right now.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  5. Buggster

    Buggster Well-Known Member

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    As a person who is interested in owning a GTP in the future, I found this a very interesting read.

    My Woma hatchling is either extremely lazy, or I'm just unlucky enough that I never see him move (well, other than when he smells a meal...).

    Considering getting him a second heat mat or possibly a lamp to put on the opposite end of his terrarium and switching up the hot/cold ends every couple days just to get him to move...

    Do you reckon something like that could benefit a GTP, given you had the space to do so?
     
  6. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi Buggster, that's an interesting thought, and it's one I've had myself but not yet tried. I've often wondered if something like the reversing or alternating water movement used in high-end reef aquariums which promotes better water circulation and improved health for reef inhabitants might work for arboreal snakes like GTPs - having a heat panel at each end of the enclosure which alternate maybe every 24 hours or whatever, to stimulate the animal to move regularly. The problem is that GTPs in the wild are subjected to lots of influences which require a much higher level of activity, plus they have lots of air movement and rain etc. The enclosure environment is an appallingly static environment for a GTP, which, unlike many pythons and by virtue of the mild and stable environment in which they live, spend much of their time relatively exposed to the elements. In captivity they get very little, if any, temperature variation, almost no air movement, no branch movement (no wind or even a breeze), nothing like real rain, and they get their food offered to them on tongs under their heat panel, so very little environmental stimulation, hence they don't need to do any work whatsoever and as a consequence become very unfit.

    I'm sure that this is bad for the long-term health of the species, and I've been thinking of ways to overcome these problems. I hope to build an aviary on my property here on the mid-north coast which can be fully climate controlled (economical heating through the colder months is the biggest concern for me). I have my Boyd's outside in a similar setup, but offer no heat during the cooler months because they just go to ground when it's cold and don't seem harmed by this. They also go to the lower level when the top levels heat up to over 50C on summer days (it's fully enclosed with polycarbonate sheeting on the roof & half the sides) - so they remain active and subjected to environmental changes. I've been wondering if GTPs might do the same - move around in the higher levels when conditions suit, and if it gets too hot, go down into cooler, lower levels during the heat of the day. It's been suggested to me that they may always want to stay in the highest parts for security, which would obviously prove fatal if the enclosure wasn't suitably ventilated, but I'm not sure if, in a well planted tropical aviary with lots of suitable hiding spots, thermoregulation might be more important than a height-related sense of security, and they might head to the cooler, densely planted lower levels.

    Waterrat has the ideal setup in his back garden, and I'm giving a lot of thought to how to duplicate those conditions in a climate that, while relatively mild, still has extremes which would be harmful to GTPs.

    Ideas anyone?

    Jamie
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  7. alexbee

    alexbee Not so new Member

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    Get a bredli,, awesome animals
     
  8. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    I agree, beautiful animals, but been there & done that...

    Jamie
     
  9. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Love Boas, used to have a breeding pair in a previous life.
    Those were the days when my dream was a Diamond Python.........have you considered these?
    Semi-arborial, can be very active.....(My male drives me crazy some nights rearranging his enclosure for me)

    Seem to be quite readily available State side and easy to look after.
     
  10. pythonmum

    pythonmum Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am a huge fan of the albino Darwins. They are a nice size for a carpet and very arboreal. My pair both love to crawl around and perch on their branches. They are 9 years old and still vibrantly coloured - no fading or greying like you get with some that have a lot of black.
    As stated before, the olives will be terrestrial and so will a large Bredl. If you want one to climb around, a Darwin or jungle is probably the best bet. Both feed well as a rule, but there are always individual exceptions. If you enjoy handling, be selective about the jungle line. Most of my albino offspring have been great handlers, but about 1 in 20 is a snappy little jerk. My adults are mellow as. There are many great choices!
     
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