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Posted by oldherper on April 07, 2003 at 08:22:46:
In Reply to: Honduran Questions posted by the nerve on April 04, 2003 at 11:55:54:
To get back to your questions:
Hondos are great snakes for beginning keepers.
1. A 30 gallon tank is plenty for one Hondo. When they are adults, the can be quite large as milksnakes go (5 feet or more). If you intend to pair up and try to breed them, you will need a larger enclosure for that purpose. They need a thermal gradient, one end of the cage at 85-90 deg. F. and the other end at around 75 deg F. If you brumate them, gradually lower the temperature (10 degrees or so a week) until you get it to 60 degrees F. Keep water available, but don't offer food. Keep them at that temperature and don't bother them except to check the water bowl and clean the cage if needed. Keep them in brumation for about 3 months, then gradually raise the temp back to normal and start offering food. After they take 3 or 4 meals and shed, you can start putting the male and female (introduce the female to the male's cage) together and watch for courtship/mating.
They need hiding places at both ends of the cage if you are using newspaper or something like that for substrate. If you are using Aspen shavings, make it fairly deep (3 to 4 inches)and they will burrow under it and move from one end of the cage to the other under the shavings to thermoregulate. DON'T use pine or cedar shavings. The problem with using shavings is keeping them out of the water bowl. You will need a separate tank or plastic shoebox or sweater box to feed in, especially if you use shavings. Newspaper is probably the best substrate but it isn't the most aesthetically pleasing.
2. No, they are not picky eaters. They tend to eat with much enthusiasm. One of the great things about them is that they are easy to get started on frozen/thawed food items. I feed my babies starting them with one pinkie every 3 days, then as they grow, increasing the number of pinkies at a feeding. When I get them to the point that they are eating 3 frozen/thawed pinkies every 3 or 4 days I switch to fuzzies and repeat the same process. Then to hoppers, same process. Once they reach young adult size (24 inches or so), I switch them to two full grown mice once a week. Some juveniles may regurgitate fuzzies or hoppers if switched too quickly...it seems that maybe the hair irritates them sometimes. Keep feeding/shedding records.
For hiding boxes for babies and juveniles, I use the disposable plastic food storage boxes with a hole cut in the side or top and fill it about halfway with slightly damp green sphagnum moss. For juveniles and adults, contact security is important, so make the hiding boxes just big enough for them to get inside and move around just a little.
3. Yes, they tame easily, although none of mine are tame. They are normally quite nervous animals and tend to be pretty squirrelly when you first pick them up. They usually calm down after a couple of minutes though, but you will repeat the same little scene every time you get him out of the cage until he tames. I don't tame mine because they really aren't pets, they are breeder animals.
It's nice to see someone who is interested in the normal coloration/patterned animals. Good luck.
:Do Hondurans make a good starter milk/king snake? I've seen some really incredible pictures of Hondurans, and I'm really intrigued by them. I want a normal phase, none of those really high color/albino whatever expensive ones. I've perfectly happy looking at a natural, wild-phase snake.
:1. How big of an enclosure does a fully grown Honduran need? Is a 40 gallon fine, or can I go with like a 30-35 or something? Do they need more space than Cal Kings?
:2. Are they picky eaters with mice?
:3. Are they easily tamed?