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Posted by Richard F. Hoyer on March 27, 2003 at 00:28:03:
In Reply to: question for Richard......... posted by mayday on March 26, 2003 at 17:37:12:
Not all specimens of C. bottae are a piece of cake with respect to taking meals on a consistent basis. I have had specimens that almost never refuse a meal all the way to specimens that won't eat--at least not within a reasonable duration. I had one female that went 14 months before taking her first meal. The key with this species is to be PATIENT!!!
Two problems arise with this species. The first is that individuals tend to maintain the species similar to the way they maintain all other species, that is in the high 70 to low 80 degrees F. This is a cool temperature, tolerant species that will use up its body reserves in a hurry, and even become dehydrated despite the presence of free water, if kept at such constant high temperatures. Daytime room temperatures of 68 -72 degress are adequate for this species during the active season allowing cooling at night. This is exactly what occurs in the wild and works exceptionally well in captivity. Specimens can be kept for many months under these conditions without taking meals.
A second problem is that not all specimens will accept the non-native laboratory mouse (Mus) as prey. And this is the prey of choice that most herpers try to get their snakes to take in captivity. When I am unable to get specimens to take the lab mice, most will take native species of small mammals. I maintain a laboratory colony of the Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) just for a backup.
This time of year I also go out about once a week and collect native nestling small mammals. Went out yesterday and found two nests of baby Gray-tailed Voles, one nest of the Deer Mouse, and one nest of baby Vagrant Shrews. I freeze them for later in the year when I retain specimens from various regions during the summer before releasing them where found in the early fall.
Richard F. Hoyer