Beaked Questions

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

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Beaked Questions

Postby Chance » Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:42 pm

I was pointed to this site by someone on kingsnake.com when I made a post asking about Rufous beaked snakes. I'll copy/paste that post below.

"Hello all. I recently acquired a couple of Rufous beaked snakes to use as educational animals - both because of their naturally placid nature and because I've wanted beakeds for a long time. I'd like to breed these if they're willing, but I've had some trouble gathering much more than sporadic information by Googling. I'm looking for periods of the year (I'm assuming fall/winter here in the US), cooling requirements (I'm assuming there isn't one but a small one would be helpful as with most tropical species), average egg production, incubation temps, incubation period, and how best to start babies. I bred one other African opistoglyph (Dispholidus) a few years ago - and needless to say I'm hoping these are a bit easier. The booms weren't hard at all to actually get to breed and reproduce. In fact, I didn't do much of anything to stimulate breeding. The problem was getting the babies to eat and then having them expire one by one due to the stress of my having to assist feed them.

Anyway, I know these aren't a particularly valuable species, so apparently there has been very little in the way of captive propagation with them, but I think they're very neat and would like to produce them if possible. I appreciate any input anyone could give me."

So apparently after reading a few posts here, it appears as though they may be a bit more dangerous than I originally believed, but that's no matter. Over the past week and a half I've really grown to like these snakes, and neither one has shown even a hint of defensive behavior. As I alluded to in the above post, I'm no novice to keeping dangerous snakes, though I may now have to rethink my willingness to let my students handle them. By the way, I am a teacher here in the states and currently teach middle level science, physical science, chemistry, physics, and something we call "physics in context" (basically lower level physics). The beakeds are just a couple of the many animals I keep in my classroom and use to illustrate various concepts.

Well, I look forward to your replies.
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Postby Natal Black » Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:15 pm

pm sent
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Postby Chance » Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:39 pm

I did not sex them myself, and will be double-checking them tomorrow when I go check on things at the school. I did notice though that their tail length is phenomenal for a terrestrial snake. I was quite shocked at how long it was. I'm assuming this is owing to a close relation to their more arboreal opistoglyph cousins, Dispholidus. The male's tail appears to be wide at the base, whereas the female's appears to be narrower. I'll get some pics while I'm there and post them.
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:44 pm

Hi and welcome Chance.

I agree, these are awesome and underestimated captives.

I would think the reason for the long tail would be they belong to the subfamily Psammophinae which includes mostly 'terrestrial' slender snakes with long tails (Psammophis, Psammophylax, etc). Much like your Masticophis.
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Postby Chance » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:07 am

Thanks for the welcome. I'm very glad to have found this site. There is so little information out there about many of these African colubrids it isn't funny.

Thanks as well for the phylogenetic information. To be honest, the connection between other long-tailed terrestrial colubrids didn't even cross my mind. I was just remarking at how similar they were to Dispholidus they were the only ones I thought about.

Anyway, I look forward to participating more on this forum. The beakeds aren't the only African denizens that reside with me. I also keep 1.2 Hemachatus and 0.2 Naja pallida. I'll post pics of them soon. I'm hoping to obtain a male pallida for my two females very soon for a breeding loan. My girls are both blood red and 4 year old virgins, and I'm antsy about getting them bred.
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Postby mfezi » Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:58 am

yeah, welcome chance

The rufous are awesome, but nothing compared to the red beakeds. I have had a few of each and they are amazing snakes.

Call me tomorrow and i will give you some pointers, i use an iphone, to answer your email would take me ages

cheers, don

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Postby Natal Black » Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:47 am

Wow , to double check sexes at school !! That sounds like an awesome job youve got ! :) I have to wait to come home from work to do those things... Lemme know your results ..


Cheers
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Postby Chance » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:37 am

Hey Don. I'll give you a call tomorrow. I got busy doing a bunch of cleaning and stuff I couldn't get to during the week because of my hectic schedule and forgot all about it. Teaching 5 completely different classes during the day gets...well...busy.

These beakeds actually came from Don, and I have no doubt he knows how to sex them. I just want to double check and be sure. I'm actually very highly tempted to pick up a couple of reds if I can possibly manage the purchase. I'd say I'm hooked! I guess I need to start setting back the cash for new cages and some Pseudaspis, Telescopus, Psammophis, Lamprophis etc etc etc.

Andrew, yeah I lucked out with the position I landed. I teach at a very small, rural school here in Arkansas in the US. Our mascot is, ironically enough, the Rattlers. My partner already teaches at this school, and I did a day-long snake presentation for his classes last year, so the principal already knew of me and my interests. My partner as well kept a few snakes in his room. So during my interview, I specifically asked the principal if he wouldn't mind me keeping a few critters in my room, and he said sure. So, as of right now, I have 1.0 olive python (Liasis olive), 0.1 Colombian boa, 1.1 beakeds, 1.0 woma python, 0.1 acanthurus monitor, 0.0.20 Madagascan hissing roaches, 0.1 Texas brown tarantula (our only native tarantula), 0.0.1 yellow bark scorpion (our only native scorp), 0.0.1 brown recluse (one of our two more dangerous spiders, the other being the black widow), 1.1 Lady Gouldian finches, and 1.1 gerbils. I'm hoping to add a ferret at some point in the near future. A bit of a menagerie, but it keeps me sane when I'm teaching physics, physical science, and chemistry. And you can bet your rear I incorporate the animals into the curriculum whenever possible!

I'll get some pics tomorrow and post them. Until then, I'll make a new introductory post with some pictures.
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Beaked Pictures

Postby Chance » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:51 pm

Topic merged

I made it back to the school yesterday and took some pictures while I was there. Something I meant to ask in my earlier post about beaked snakes was, how many species/subspecies are there? Don described my male to me as a "yellowbelly," and he's very obviously different from the female Rufous as far as head shape and color. Is he a different subspecies? A different species? I know red beakeds are a different species, but I've yet to get clarification on the yellowbellies.

For now, I'm still handling these guys as though they're safe. If that's something I need to correct, let me know. They've yet to display any sort of defensive posturing or anything to lead me to believe they would bite. I've worked with a number of snakes and am fairly good at reading many species' body language, and not a thing they've done is at all reminiscent of defensive behavior.

Anyway, on to the pics.

Female
Image
Image
Image

Male
Image

Together
Image
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Image
Image
Chance
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:49 pm

Great pics of great snakes. Thanks!

There is another species of beaked snake(oxyrhynchus) from west africa that doesn't have the eye stripe. I am not aware of any subspecies of your R. rostratus. I am sure they are variable and some may have yellow bellies whilst others not.
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