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Posted by Sharon McKenzie on April 23, 2002 at 12:13:45:
In Reply to: HEHEHE I'm gettin a eastern posted by PatrickR on April 18, 2002 at 19:36:20:
I've kept several Eastern and Western coachwhips over the years, and I have three Easterns now-a seven-foot normal-phase male, a seven-foot red female, and a four-ft. mostly-black male. I have found that these snakes like a lot of privacy, so a hide box is essential, either that or the cage should be placed in a low-traffic area. I keep mine in cages made from large plastic drums with wire built into the lid, which is lockable. These were designed and built to house dangerous elapids, and work quite well with coachwhips because the opaque side provide a sense of security. I keep mine between 76-80 degrees during their active season, and brumate them at around 60-65 degrees. Coachwhips are very visually-oriented snakes, so many will not adapt to frozen/thawed meals, but require live prey, though I have had a couple which would take pre-killed mice jiggled from tongs. I feed small to medium mice, several times per week, since a larger mouse would be harder to overpower. Mine are "bottomless pits" when it comes to eating, though, and I seriously doubt any of them would ever get to the point of having had enough to eat! I have also found that they tend to drink a lot of water for their size, but I have never seen one soaking in their water bowl. Like many high-metabolism snakes, coachwhips defecate a LOT, so be prepared for lots of cage cleaning! Most coachwhips are territorial about their cages and will strike and threat-gape if you open the cage and put your hand inside, though some are very docile even then(like my smaller male, who is as mellow as a Colombian boa, UNLIKE the other two), but I just use a towel or snake bag to put over them and pick them up, and once in hand, they are very calm and will just sit quietly, observing everything around them. They DO move very fast if needed, though, so don't let that calm put you off guard; before you can blink, one of these guys can be off and gone! Trying to recapture an escaped coachwhip indoors is not something I recommend for entertainment!
One more thing: since these snakes are so visually-oriented and really are attracted to things that move, watch out for them around your face; some will mistake your moving mouth or blinking eyes as a prey animal and launch a strike as a feeding response!