Garter snakes vs Heralds

South African snakes with venoms that are not considered to be medically important.

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Garter snakes vs Heralds

Postby Unforgiven » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:18 pm

Hi all just looking for some advice.

In my pursuit and long term goal to own my favourite kind of snake - Arboreal Vipers I was given some advice on how to prepare myself. The advice given, was to start off with some kind of aggressive snake such as a texas rat snake/ mole snake, to go for a snake handling course(s), to get some kind of arboreal non venomous species like an ATB and then start on some mildy venomous snakes and work up through the ladder. Pretty much baby steps towards the final goal

If anyone feels the above route is not appropriate or could suggest a better route, please do so.

Anyway, my question is about mildy venomous snakes. Until recently I thought garters were exotic to SA and were fangless snakes, but then I read somewhere on the forum that there are some indigenous species that are considered not harmful to man and they go for reasonable prices. Can anybody recommend what kind of garter to look for and any local breeders? Then what about a herald? I haven't ever seen any for sale but I have been told their care is straight forward and they are also pretty much harmless. I personally would prefer a garter as I have heard they have prettty cool personalities

Are their any other harmless snakes I should consider looking into?

Thanks in advance for all advice
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Re: Garter snakes vs Heralds

Postby Westley Price » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:29 pm

Local Garters (Elapsoidae) are not bred often in captivity and very little is known about their venom, so saying they are mildly venomous is not really correct.

They are not particularly aggressive either, so I don think they would add any value to your goal of preparing to keep arboreal vipers.

Same for Herald, agro at first and calms down VERY much. The "tamest" snake I ever kept was a Herald.

Keeping your final goal in mind, go for other arboreal snakes, like ATBs. I would say that ATBs preapre you better for arboreal vipers than any other mildly venomous snake. They are also not too expensive and very hardy if their basic needs are met.

This also depends on how you want to keep your snakes. There are different types of venomous keepers, the best of which is the one who only handles their snakes when absolutely needed. Many of the rarer arboreal vipers (which I assume your aiming to) are very nervous and stress easily, so keeping handling to a minimum suits you as well as them.

IF you intend to be one of these keeper who never handle their snakes, instead of focussing on handling aggressive non- and mildly venomous snakes, rather focus on researching cage designs and methods to minimize handling.

Keep in mind I do not keep venomous, so my reply is simply theoretical.
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Re: Garter snakes vs Heralds

Postby Unforgiven » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:42 am

To add to what you said about the cages - my gf has already said that whatever venomous we get, its cage has to be designed so that there is no handling required except in extreme circumstances. This will most likely be dealt with by building cages that can be divided up. While it may so happen that I may never ever need to handle the snakes I thought it would be good to get some hook practise in so that if the need arises I don't put me or the snake in danger.

I really do like the ATB idea as its something I want to get into anyway. I love how you can produce "smarty boxes" from any 2 parents, apart from that its also good experience to work up to an ETB or GTP.

I went to the local pet shop on the weekend and saw the owners pair of ATBs, must say they are full of spunk
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