Do egg eating snakes make good pets? Oh yes. Typically docile and non-venomous, egg eating snakes are generally good pets. As a reptile enthusiast, you will definitely like the unique lifestyle and character of these pets. What is more is that they are toothless, so they won't bite you or your little ones at all.
Don't like pet snakes that feed on rodents and other live preys? If that's you, then you may want to try an egg eating snake; it's actually the best alternative. As their description suggests, these reptiles feed exclusively, on eggs of small birds. They are endemic to the Middle East, as well as Africa's Sub-Sahara, and you'll mostly find them in places with abundant bird nests, such as savanna and forest edges. In this guide, we're going to delve into some facts about egg eating snakes, including their types, care practices, and what to consider when deciding to keep them, among other aspects.
Types of Egg Eating Snakes
Egg eating snakes exist in two types, which include African egg-eating snakes (Dasypeltis scabra) and Indian egg-eating snakes (Elachistodon westermann). African egg-eating snakes are spread across the African continent, while the latter are found in India, and they tend to be rarer than their African counterparts.
Is It Difficult to Take Care of an Egg Eating Snake as a Beginner
As a beginner, even the easiest snake to keep under the sun may trigger some worry in you; that is the nature of beginners, anyway. When it comes to egg-eating snakes, however, there is nothing to worry about as caring for them can be fun and enjoyable, as long as you give your pet the treat it deserves. Ask anyone who has an egg-eating snake in their home and they will always tell you that caring for these pets is not rocket science. Actually, the gentle temperament and low-maintenance nature of these pets render them beginner-friendly.
As a tip, all you will need is to understand your pet's requirements, including feeding and habitat requirements. Once you dive into the game and get used to the snake, everything will flow seamlessly and you will discover that caring for this reptile is a hassle-free endeavor, no matter your level of experience with pets. So, let no one fool you into thinking that you need to be an experienced snake keeper in order to take good care of an egg-eating snake. My expert advice to you is that you should treat such a lie with the contempt it deserves.
How to Care for Egg-Eating Snakes
While it's not difficult to care for an egg-eating snake as explained in the section above, we can't deny the fact that these pets have unique needs, which other snakes don't have. Therefore, it's imperative that you stick to their specific care guidelines. Let's now delve into these guidelines.
Enclosure: When it comes to a vivarium, the requirements of an egg-eating snake is no different from those of a regular snake pet. As a rule, the enclosure should be the right size, it should provide ample space for your snake to fully stretch and move around. Yes, you don't have to buy a very large vivarium; one with the same length as your pet would do a nice job. Depending on your preference, the vivarium can be wooden, glass, or plastic. And, ensure the enclosure has a tight-fitting lid so that it doesn't offer any escape route.
Substrate: Thankfully, your egg-eating snake will not burrow; hence, a thick substrate layer is not mandatory. Use aspen shavings or any other suitable bedding. You will need to keep the bedding as clean as possible by regularly removing any urine or feces. Your snake will be as fit as a fiddle if you're replacing the substrate every month.
Hideouts: Hiding is a thing for egg eaters, as this gives them a sense of security. Allow your pet to feel safe by including hides in it's vivarium. Two hides would be enough to achieve the intended purpose (set a hide on each end of the vivarium). When choosing a hide, ensure that it's big enough as to correspond to the size of the snake. Can the pet curl up itself inside the hideout? If the answer is yes, then the hide is right. Wondering where to find a snake hide? Scan through online shops or visit a physical pet shop. Finding one shouldn't be a struggle.
Temperature and lighting: For egg eaters, 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so is their recommended temperature. Remember, these reptiles thermoregulate, thanks to the fact that they're cold-blooded. So, they tend to move to a new environment in a bid to change their body temperature. You can allow them this privilege by ensuring that your vivarium has a warm (90 degrees) and a cool end (60 degrees). Talking of lighting, a standard cycle of day and night will keep your snake healthy and comfortable. You may want to set a reminder so that you know when to switch the lights on and off. But how will your snake sensitize calcium? Egg eaters don't require UVB lights. However, you may provide the lights if you're so worried; it all boils down to what you prefer.
Humidity: A humidity of between 40 and 60 works great for egg-eating snakes. You can increase the humidity of your snake's vivarium by simply misting it (the vivarium) every day. The substrate will absorb the mist, creating the right conditions for your snake throughout the day. To track the humidity in the enclosure, you can purchase a hygrometer, which is readily available in shops. Just be sure to steer clear of cheap, low-quality equipment, which tends to be inaccurate in reading the humidity levels.
Water: Put fresh water in a stable bowl and place it in the enclosure. Your pet needs water on a daily basis if it's to stay healthy. Yes, there is no denying that water is life.
Feeding: The type of eggs you will give to your snake will depend on the pet size. But with most egg eaters being small in size, they may not be able to swallow chicken eggs, for instance. That leaves you with finch eggs as the best option. Female egg-eating snakes can eat quail eggs because they tend to be slightly bigger than male snakes. Both quail eggs are readily available in the market, so finding them is a breeze. Just ensure that the eggs are unfertilized because your snake will not eat a fertilized egg. And don't try to deceive your snake; egg eaters are, naturally, experts at differentiating between fertilized and unfertilized eggs.
On the other hand, finch eggs are rare. You may be forced to visit a finch seller and place an order. Alternatively, you can rear your own finches to avoid the hassle of finding the eggs. However, you must be on red alert always when rearing your own finches to ensure that the eggs don't get fertilized. Be sure to collect them from the nests as soon as they are laid. Preserve the eggs in a refrigerator until their time of use.
What to Think About When Deciding to Keep an Egg-eating Snake
Actually, nothing should stand in your way if you're planning on rearing an egg-eating snake in your home. But because these pets have some special needs, especially when it comes to feeding, there are things you may want to think about before taking the risk. These, among others, include the following:
Food source: Do you have a reliable food supply? Finch eggs, as mentioned above, can be somewhat difficult to source. Besides, the pets don't eat fertilized eggs. Compared to rodent eating snakes, for instance, it's easier to find food for the latter.
Nocturnal nature: Egg-eating snakes are typically nocturnal. That means you may not see them being active often. Are you ready for a pet of this nature? Most regular pet snakes are active in the daytime; hence, you will have all the time in the world with them.
Lifespan: The lifespan of egg eaters is not as long as that of other snake types. Most of them live between 10 to 15 years. Is that what you want? Regular pet snakes live longer on average.
It's critical to do proper research before you dive into keeping an egg-eating snake. Compare them with regular snake pets and see which one suits you. If the challenges above don't bother you, then go ahead and have your egg eater. After all, these pets have lots of pros attached to them, including the fact that they are toothless and non-venomous, and they have a gentle temperament. Sure, the writing is on the wall that egg eaters can be a fun to keep.