Aspidelaps scutatus

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

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Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby du Preez » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:22 pm

Hi guys, as I mentioned in another post, I caught a little (seriously ±15cm) shield cobra in the kombuis, playing with the cat…

I've got her in a plastic tub that is about 25 x 25 cm, and at the moment am using leaves as a substrate so that there is something for her to burrow in and feel secure, as well as two large pieces of mopane bark for her to hide under. I'm not really happy with the leaves, though she seems happy enough. I have a shallow water bowl in there too, but haven't seen her drinking. I've put a heating pad under one side of the tub, covering about 20%.

Here are some pics: [the first few are of her outside, and the last is a quick snap of her in the tub (I'd appreciate and all comments and suggestions regarding the enclosure setup for this species! Westley has been very helpful already)]

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I think that she's absolutely stunning!

This is the little girl in the tub. Like I said, I don't like the leaves (especially the grains that you can see on the plastic)… However, I collected some ele dung today, spent the morning washing and rinsing it (using my girlfriend's colander which I had to do sneakily in the shower). What does everyone think about cleaned elephant dung as a substrate for this snake? It's got quite a nice dense feel to it, that would still allow burrowing, but is also quite soft, with no sharp edges. I'm drying it at the moment but will post pics before I put the snake in.

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Would love to have all of your thoughts, comments and advice! Thanks.
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby SteveZi » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:28 pm

beautiful little snake
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby Tars » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:24 am

Hi Du Preez,

Beautiful snake man, I love them...

So, I am no expert, but instead of letting this poor girl live in elephant poop, why don't you consider peat moss, it is a very light substrate, used mainly for tarantulas as it does not really cave in on their burrows due to the light weight, you would also save yourself a lot of time washing the elephant dung, and eliminate the risk of bringing in parasites, etc.

Peat moss can be bought from any nursery or even the garden department at your local Pick 'n Pay, Checkers or Game, it comes in compressed form, looks like a brick, see image below. Instructions is on the label on how to go about to get this ready for use in your tub, however it is very simple, put the brick in a big bucket, boil a kettle and add about 3 - 5L to the brick, it will slowly start to swell as it draws up the water, after it is completely broken up, you press the water out with your hand, transfer it to another bucket or deep pan, place it in the sun for a few ours until it is dried out, and you are sorted, a brick like that will last you quite a while.

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Good luck, I hope you find a suitable substrate soon.
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby du Preez » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:13 am

Thanks SteveZi, and thanks very much for the advice Tars. That's great! I've never had anything semi-fossorial before, so appreciate the help!

Cheers, Byron.
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby Warren Klein » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:15 am

I have to give it to you, elephant dug subtrate is a very innovative idea. Boer maak 'n plan, at it's best! ;)
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby Tars » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:24 am

No problem Byron,

The peat moss I am sure will have a very similar consistency than the cleaned, dried out elephant dung, so same effect just much cleaner and easier...lol

I think the peat moss at the bottom with scattered leaves on top of it should give it a nice natural look and make for some good hiding spots for the little one.

Send some pics of the setup once you have done it, would love to see how it turns out.
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby Ruan Stander » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:20 pm

Seriously cute little snake. And I'm with Warren on the dung substrate, where there's a will there's a way, haha.
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Re: Aspidelaps scutatus

Postby Westley Price » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:11 pm

What a little stunner. This is such a cute species, haha.

Peat moss might work, but I find it almost holed humidity too well and because it is very fine, it gets into snakes' nostrils, mouths etc.

Dung might work well, or if you sometimes come to SA, try to get hold of E-mulch for a nursery or petshop.

If you have a lawn at home, might be worthwhile getting a compost heap going and keeping your cuttings in there. They become quite "mulchy" during the warmer months and should work too.
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