Keeping a Male and Female Diamond Together

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by MattPat, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. MattPat

    MattPat Not so new Member

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    Is it ok to house a male and female Diamond together year round?

    I take it they wouldn't fight, but will it stress them out? Would it help or hinder them to breed?

    Many thanks
     
  2. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    considering snakes are solitary animals and hate company, only ever coming together to breed, which only lasts for a couple of weeks would suggest no. But if your cage is big enough to supply both snakes with their requirements away from each other then it can be ok. But if you need to ask this question I would say you would be best keeping them apart so one doesn't suffer stress. Don't be a cheap skate... two snakes two enclosures.
     
  3. MattPat

    MattPat Not so new Member

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    I didn't even mention money?

    I was asking about behaviour
     
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  4. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    You'll generally get people responding negatively, often even angrily or nastily in response to questions about cohabiting snakes. In reality it's usually fine with most species, Diamonds are particularly relaxed about company, they don't fight and are not fussed about being around conspecifics. The main problem you might have is incidents at feeding time or after feeding time when the smell of rats is still around.

    Online most people will angrily say not to do it and many will even say it's inevitable that eventually one will kill or eat the other, but in reality many people do it and it usually works out fine with no problems. About 20 years ago I was still keeping most of my snakes in pairs, including Carpet Pythons of various types and I never had one kill another or have issues with stress etc, but mainly so I didn't have to supervise at feeding time I moved to keeping everything separate. The only reason I could see myself having snakes routinely kept together long term again would be for a display enclosure, something like an enclosure with live plants and a few Chondros. I've seen large displays done with multiple Diamonds, it's fairly popular.
     
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  5. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    I have witnessed male diamonds fight
     
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  6. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    That's unusual, it's rare enough that it's generally said that they don't do it, many books say they don't, etc.

    Were they pure diamonds and both actively fighting in the typical male combat way? If they were crosses or northern Diamonds or captives of unknown origin it wouldn't be at all surprising but if they were definite pure Diamonds from south of the so-called intergrade zone it would be interesting.

    Either way, unlike other Carpets, Diamonds often form large breeding groups all massed up together while other forms of Carpet typically don't do this.
     
  7. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    You know me Sdaji and that I don't have anything to do with crosses or snakes of unknown heritage. In fact I don't keep or breed snakes anymore due to personal reasons. However I still have a very keen interest in and work with wild animals.
    They were wild diamonds from the Gosford area not captives. Very much pure diamonds from a well south of the Karuah river which as far as I'm concerned is the beginning of the intergrade section. I have my own reasons for believing that too. It was typical in the sense that they wrestled, but there was no biting. The group consisted of a 2.4 m female of approx 5-6 kgs and two 4=5 ft males, when another third male showed up. The male that wasn't joined with female instantly came away from the others and before the third male was 3 feet from the female began the confrontation. It lasted for approx 1 min, but might have gone on longer except that they were disturbed by my presence, and then they both went to the female.
    Yes, I know what the books say, and yes you are correct about breeding groups of diamonds that consist of one female and multiple males, that is very common but not always the case. I guess at the end of the day whoever writes these books didn't give one to the snakes to read.
    I only wish I had my phone on me at the time because I would love to have the footage.
    Which brings me back to my point which is that animals which are genetically built to be anti-social should not be housed with others. Unless, they are in a large enclosure where each individual animal can get right away from each other AND still have all their needs met(eg thermal req)
    I personally don't think they should be kept in a cage where they have to come into contact which each other, or each others faeces, because what we do know is that snakes live in a world of highly tuned sense of smell and they are anti-social, so to me it is obvious that being kept together confined will cause stress, wether humans think so or not.

    Maybe it would be better to use the term "naturally" rather then "in the wild" when it comes to determining what is best for these animals.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 4:35 AM
  8. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    I wasn't implying you keep crosses, but we all end up seeing a range of snakes in a range of situations, sometimes including things we don't approve of.

    I personally see the taxonomic situation as differently from you and most people. I see it as a spectrum from around the Victorian border to Cape York rather than all Diamonds being pure and identical from around the Victorian border up to some magical line where they suddenly start changing. Gosford Diamonds are a bit different from Sydney Diamonds which are a bit different from... and so on. I think your observation is very interesting and demonstrates the point I'm making nicely. The extensive studies done on Diamonds were done further south, and Gosford is towards the north of what people call pure Diamonds, but as you've seen, they're behaving a bit differently. Still though, even in Gosford they're far less prone to combat than Carpets from QLD, more than Sydney and if Sydney ones ever do it the ones further south are presumably even less prone.

    Very interesting observation however you look at it.

    As for the original topic, sure, in a perfect world where we cared about nothing other than the snake's wellbeing and spared no expense we wouldn't bother with things which are designed to make the vivaria pleasing to human eyes and we'd vehemently oppose handling unless absolutely necessary and clean three times per day and only use filtered water which would be replaced hourly and all sorts of other fanatical stuff. In the real world we have people who for various reasons cohabit their snakes or can't afford the top of the line thermostat or handle snakes just because they enjoy doing it.

    I haven't kept snakes together for quite some years now but in the past I did, and even in species which routinely combat vigorously I found they usually calm right down pretty quickly. For example, Water Pythons are pretty into it, but I found that when I introduced them in breeding season they'd only combat for a while before settling down, and if I didn't put them back into their own enclosures and left them in a 2.1 group the males would just take turns mating with the female the whole season. If I put them back in their own enclosures for a couple of days and reintroduced them they'd go through combat again then settle back down. Same with others such as Carpets and Antaresia. It really didn't seem to stress them at all other than the completely normal amount you'd expect from a normal, natural round of combat. With taxa like Diamonds which are far less prone to combat than normal it would be even less of an issue. I haven't kept any snakes together for over 10 years, but previously I kept pythons in groups of 6 or more, including out of season, never any dramas.

    I think we've all seen Carpets kept communally, it's still common in public zoos etc, and almost always results on no issue. I totally agree that ideally for the snakes' sake it's beat to keep them separately, and these days that's all I do unless I want to combat them to encourage them to copulate, but I don't think it's the end of the world if people want to do it in some cases.
     
  9. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    And that's fair enough, I have never had any fighting between male diamonds when I bred them, only ever witnessed it once and they were wild snakes. So, its hard to say how prevalent it is when the only time it would happen is on meeting up with a female. And I guess being a scientist you would appreciate that one eye witness account isn't really a viable indication of anything, but the timing for when they would fight, especially in the wild, is a time that would very rarely be witnessed by anyone therefore we don't really know. My only point is that if I'm around people who say they don't fight, I like to add that I have seen it. Nothing more. I never saw my captives do it, and I definitely agree that they are much less likely to, but I've seen it so I can't discount it. I would still advise that when putting two males in with a female to keep an eye on them until they know of each others presence at least.
    Back to the original post though, keeping a male and female together won't cause any fighting, and the odd accidental bite won't do any real damage anyway, even a cut deep into the skin will heal quite quickly, I only had a concern for cramped enclosures where one more dominant animal may hog the basking site or the hide etc because its difficult for a beginner keeper to pick up on what an RI looks like until its time for antibiotics. Then the cost of treatment would pay for another enclosure anyway! Not telling people what they should or shouldn't do, I don't have any investment here, but I've seen some shocking set ups over the years.
     

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