Animal-World’s Featured Animal of the Week: The Eastern Brown Snake

Eastern Brown Snake
Animal-World’s Featured Animal for this week is:
The Eastern Brown Snake!

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Peter Woodard
Licensed under Public Domain

Would you like to know a little bit more about the second most deadly snake in the world? The Eastern Brown Snake is one of those awe-inspiring venomous snakes that really sends a chill down your spine when you imagine meeting with one. I have been wanting to write about this particular snake ever since I read about a little boy in Australia who stashed some eggs he found outside in a container in his closet. Apparently his mother opened the closet door and found the container squirming with a bunch of little snakes! After the boy and his mother took them to the local wildlife reserve, they discovered the babies were Eastern Brown Snakes. The boy was quite lucky not to have been bitten!

The Eastern Brown Snake Pseudonaja textilis is native to Australia and lives primarily on the eastern side. It can be found in almost all habitats, including the desert, grasslands, forest, and coastal areas. Adult Eastern Brown Snakes can reach 6 to 8 feet in length and have slender bodies. They can come in different variations of colors, from a light tan color to a very dark brown color. They can even come in gray colors. Rodents and other small animals are the bulk of their diet, although they will eat lizards, frogs, and birds if the opportunity arises. These snakes eating rodents is actually good for farmers because they act as a kind of pest control!

The Eastern Brown Snake is considered to be the second most deadly snake in the world, according to its SC LD50 value in mice. This number rates a snakes venom depending on how toxic it is. The most deadly snake in the world, according to this rating system, is the Inland Taipan Snake, also found in Australia. However, the Inland Taipan has not been the known cause of any known deaths. The Eastern Brown Snake on the other hand, has. In fact, the Eastern Brown Snake is the number one cause of snake bite deaths in Australia! The number of deaths has dropped dramatically in recent years due to the availability of anti-venom, but there are still one or two deaths per year.

The venom in these snakes is dangerous because it contains neurotoxins and procoagulants. The symptoms which arise from a bite include dizziness, diarrhea, paralysis, renal failure, and cardiac arrest. These snakes are considered aggressive in their natural territory, however they won’t usually bite something as a large as a human unless they feel threatened and/or unable to escape. If they feel they are defending themselves they will not always produce fatal bites. A “typical” bite from an Eastern Brown Snake yields about 2-4 mg of venom. The larger the snake, the more venom is produced. Without treatment the death rate is only about 10 or 20 percent. Considering there are snake species which have a 100% fatality rate if not treated (such as the Black Mamba and the Coastal Taipan), this death rate is actually not very high.

Reproduction time for the Eastern Brown Snake is in the spring. If there is more than one male in an area (which generally there is!), the males will engage in a “combat dance.” The winner of this dance is the lucky male who mates with any females in the area. The females will lay between 10 and 40 eggs apiece, with the average being 30 eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the mother leaves and has nothing to do with guarding the nest or rearing the babies. The babies also do not have a uniform color like the adults. They are banded with gray or black. These bands will disappear by the time they are three years old.

The Eastern Brown Snake is not a snake that would be kept as a pet! Some zoos or wildlife care places may keep them, and they are kept in anti-venom facilities to extract their venom. However, they are not kept as pets to handle and cuddle with! They are too dangerous and you would have to have a permit to keep one. There are many non-venomous Pet Snakes you can choose from if you want to keep one of your own, however!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the Eastern Brown Snake. I find them quite fascinating!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Sources Used

http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=109

http://www.avru.org/general/general_eastbrown.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_brown_snake

Banner Photo
Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Peter Woodard
Licensed under Public Domain

Which Pet Snakes Make Good Pets?

March 23, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Which Snakes Make Good Pets

If you are looking for a pet that is different from the traditional dogs and cats, what about a snake? Learn all over again about snakes so you can know if they are right for you. Also, which ones make good pets?

The Lowdown on Snakes

Snakes aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. In fact, snakes can make very good pets for several reasons.

Snakes are resilient – It takes a lot to kill a snake. Because they eat so infrequently, they can miss a meal and not be harmed. This doesn’t mean regularly forget them, but if you have to alter your feeding schedule, they can adapt. Their digestion is such that they don’t eat more frequently than once a week anyway.

Snakes don’t need a lot of room – They don’t move fast, especially those bred in captivity that don’t have to chase down their prey. A nice size aquarium can make a suitable home for many years.

Feeding is simple
– Snakes need meat. This can be live prey or dead. When they are hungry they will readily go for their food when it is offered. Depending on the size of your snake, the meal doesn’t have to be large to go far.

Snakes aren’t the cause of many allergies – People can be allergic to dog or cat dander but snakes have scaly skin and most people are not affected by that. Also, have you ever smelled a snake? Probably not. This is the upside of owning a pet snake – clean air.

Snakes as Pets

So now that you know the advantages of owning a pet snake, which one can you own? It goes without saying that you can’t have a venomous one. It might be cool to tell people that you own a Gaboon Viper but you won’t want it to sink its fangs into you. By the way, it has the longest fangs of any venomous snake.

Venomous snakes are illegal to own unless you are a zoo or have credentials saying that you are qualified to house and care for them. It is not uncommon for them to bite and even kill their owners. After all, snakes are wild animals and instincts do kick in from time to time.

But, back to the gentler ones that make good pets. Pet Snakes are all squiggly and look kind of sinister but some are docile and fun to have around. Here are some species to consider.

Corn snakesCorn Snakes are bright and beautiful, and more importantly, non-venomous. They don’t usually grow to longer than five feet which keeps them at a manageable size. You can handle them with no problem as long as you do it somewhat frequently.

Kingsnakes – There are several Kingsnake species available in stripes, speckled or banded color markings. Like corn snakes, they can grow to about six feet long and do well as pets in the home.

Ball pythons – Now despite what you have heard about pythons, some are good as pets. The Ball Python only grows to about five feet. They can live for as many as 50 years. They are quiet and rarely bite.

These three pet snakes are a great way to start exploring the reptilian world.

The Cost of Owning a Pet Snake

March 12, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

The Cost of Owning a Pet Snake

Little boys love to show them to everyone. Many people shriek when they see them. But, there are those who find pet snakes cool and love to keep them in their home. If you are potentially one of those people, here are some estimates on what it will cost to keep your newfound buddy.

Snakes get a bad rap. They can make good pets for those who like animals that they can watch most of the time. But, in order to watch them, you’ll need a few things.

Preparing for Your Pet Snake

The first thing you will acquire is a snake. There are snake species that are better as pets than others. Consider the Ball Python or the Snow Corn Snake. But, remember that, first and foremost, snakes are considered wild animals. They are exotic pets. When uncomfortable they can revert back to their instincts. Always be prepared for this.

The cost of a pet snake will depend on their attributes. Of course, it is illegal to own a venomous snake without a license and credentials which say you can handle dangerous animals. They also require very specific housing so that they don’t get loose and harm others.

Here, we will be talking about non-venomous snakes which are the normal pet choice. Your new pet snake can cost a few hundred dollars or a few thousand.

Where will your snake live? Most are housed in glass aquariums like you find them in captivity in the zoo. Choose an aquarium that is large enough for your snake to move around and stretch out. If you buy a baby, remember that they will grow. A good tank might cost around $100 or more.

Snakes like to bask in heat and under or on rocks. Depending on the type you buy, you might even need a water feature in the tank. Figure in money for a tank heater and a heat lamp. You can find all of these things at a pet store that sells snakes.

Don’t forget that you will need water bowls, foliage and a substrate substance for the bottom of the cage. In all, you may spend $200 or more for your cage accessories to start.

Pet Snakes have to eat. The price of buying food depends on the manner in which it is purchased. You can catch your own mice or buy them fresh. Frozen food might cost you less than choosing the live variety. But keep in mind many snakes will not eat frozen food. In that case you would have to provide fresh food.

Even snakes can get sick so you’ll want to schedule a visit to the vet. The first visit will probably cost you the most and you won’t need to return except for regular checkups or if they fall ill. That bill could be hefty depending on what tests the vet needs to perform.

All in all, you could spend a hefty sum on your pet snake. It all begins with the type of snake you choose in the beginning. You can have a great pet snake and stick within your financial means.

Feeding your Pet Snake

December 20, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Reptiles

Feeding your Pet Snake

They are thought of as creepy and sneaky but many keep them as pets and are happy with them. We are talking about snakes. If you have bought a pet snake companion, one thing that is important to know is how and when to feed them.

They have been demonized in history and religion. Snakes are perceived as dangerous and lethal but all are not that way. Some can be kept as pets. Now, they are not the most active or cuddly of pets, but for your lifestyle, that might be what you are looking for. If so, then good. There are snakes available that make excellent pets for someone like you.

Once you have your pet snake housed, there is the matter of feeding. Before we get into that, here are a few things that are helpful to know about snakes.

1. Snakes are carnivorous – They are what are called “obligate carnivores.” In the wild, they eat whatever is present, usually small animals, other reptiles and even birds if they come into their territory. Most of their nutrition comes from meat sources.

2. Snakes don’t adapt to temperature changes well – Just like you would probably feel bad going from extreme cold to extreme heat, so do snakes. It may even affect their appetite if they are uncomfortable temperature wise when it is time to eat. A warm environment is more conducive to their appetite.

3. Pet Snakes eat about once a week – If you have ever seen a snake eat anything then you know how slow their digestive system works. You may even see the bulge of their food in their gut for a long time before it disappears. Many snake owners choose a specific day each week to feed their snake so that they are on a regular schedule.

4. Snakes have jaws that unhinge
– It is a phenomenon to behold. They can eat food that is several times larger than their mouths. Their jaws will unhinge so that the food can pass.

Now that you know a little bit more about your pet snake, it is time to get down to the feeding. What do they eat and where can you get it?

Feeding Hints

First, we mentioned that snakes are carnivorous. You will have to feed them meat. If they do need any carbohydrates, it is obtained from the plant matter still present in the digestive tract of their food.

Speaking of food, you can feed your pet snake live, frozen or recently killed prey. Snakes are animals that like to hunt. They will go after food that is appealing to them and snap it up.

Live prey will require you to buy and keep animals like small rodents for that purpose. You can purchase them just in time for feeding but if your snake doesn’t eat it right away you will have to house and feed it.

Frozen prey lets you store more than you need and only thaw what you want. Don’t thaw it in the microwave but let it come to room temperature a couple hours before feeding time.

If you are not squeamish you can kill prey so you don’t have to worry about caring for it if it is not eaten. You can freeze it yourself. Keep in mind however, that many pet snakes do not like to eat prey that is already dead. If you have such a snake then it will be mandatory that you provide them with live prey.

Pet snakes have specific diets. To keep them healthy, use this guide on how to feed and what to use for food.