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African House Snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus)

Home/Care Sheets/African House Snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus)
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African house snakes are lovely snakes; they are fairly small snakes with females reaching around 1m and males growing to 75cm. They originate from sub Saharan Africa and are commonly found around human dwellings, feeding on the rodents that usually live there.

African House Snake is found in a variety of habitats ranging from scrubland, woodland, savannah and high grassland

Temperament

House snakes are lovely calm snakes, although hatchlings can be very fast but settle quickly when handled.

Housing

We recommend wooden a vivarium for a House Snakes as they are better insulated than glass or plastic tanks, allowing you to keep them at the correct temperature more easily.

For a hatchling snake we would recommend a 24″ vivarium, then upgrade to a 36″ at about 1 year of age.

Heating

Reptiles cannot produce their own body heat, so it is important to keep them within a suitable temperature range to help the body function correctly.

House snakes require a temperature gradient of 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F) during the day. This can be achieved by using a heat mat (stuck on to the wall of the vivarium) and a basking light mounted at one side of the vivarium to create a warmer end of the vivarium. These should both be controlled by thermostats. At night the temperature should drop to around 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

It is very important to know what the temperature is, so check regularly with an accurate digital thermometer.

Lighting

A simple 12 hour light cycle is ideal for house snakes.

UV lighting is not necessary for snakes, although some specialists believe it can be beneficial and really shows off the snakes colouring.

Water

It is important to provide your snake with fresh water every day.

Hides and Décor

The snake will require a few hides in the vivarium so that it can feel secure. By having 2 or 3 in different areas, the snake will be able to choose the one at the best temperature. A humid hide is also recommended, these are hollow hides with a damp moss inside. Snakes will often use these when they are shedding their skin.

Plastic plants are also good to use, as these look very attractive in the vivarium as well as offering privacy.

Feeding

Feed your snake one defrosted mouse weekly. The mouse should be no bigger than the largest part of the snake. House snakes can eat mice their entire lives – starting off with pinkies as a hatchling and moving up in size as the animal grows.

The simplest feeding technique is to place the defrosted food in the vivarium near the snake and leave it to feed. The other way is to offer the food on some tongs or tweezers to the snake; they will often strike very quickly then constrict the mouse.

Snakes sometimes refuse to feed while shedding.

Maintenance

Spot-clean your snake’s enclosure as necessary, removing waste as soon as possible. Clean and disinfect the water bowl on a weekly basis. Monthly or more frequently if necessary, change the substrate and completely disinfect the vivarium and décor using a safe reptile disinfectant. Rinse the enclosure thoroughly and allow to dry before replacing the cage decorations.

Shedding

Snakes regularly shed their skin as they grow, it normally comes off in one piece and no assistance is required.

The first stage in the process is when the eyes go opaque (cloudy) at this point the snake will not want to feed and will hide away, it is best to leave it to do so. After a few days the eyes will clear again but it won’t shed for another 7 to 10 days.

If the snake has trouble removing the skin it is best to put the snake in a tub with some damp moss to help soften the skin and help by gently rubbing.

Conclusion

House snakes are fairly easy to keep, not too big and rewarding to keep. The colour and pattern are more subtle than many other species, but still incredibly beautiful.

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