Posted by Martin R. Leach on August 25, 2000 at 15:25:31:
In Reply to: Black Ratsnakes posted by R J on October 11, 1997 at 19:07:07:
: I caught my first snake; a common garter snake, when I was seven years old. For the next ten years my parents put up with a succession of different reptiles and amphibians. Most of them would be released in the fall, although there was one garter snake that I kept for three years.
: My entire military career (3 1/2 years) was spent in Louisiana, and although it was a state rich in reptile life, I never kept any of the many snakes and lizards that I caught while I lived there. The last weekend I was in Louisiana I caught the best specimen of a speckled kingsnake Iíve ever seen. He came home with me.
: Unfortunately, the only food he seemed interested in was other snakes. I didnít want to lay in a supply of watersnakes to feed him through the winter, so he found a home with the then fledgling Indianapolis zoo. That ended my association with snake keeping for the next twenty years.
: In May of 1995, circumstances that I wonít go into here, led me to attend a reptile show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Before I left Iíd decided that it was time to rediscover my childhood.
: As I started to go to different reptile shows and acquire a few snakes, I was struck by the complete absence of the snake I had most enjoyed during my teenage years. Black ratsnakes were available, but only as different color mutations or as wild caught. No one it seemed, was interested in captive breeding, plain, run-of-the-mill black ratsnakes.
: I had all but given up ever finding ďnormalĒ hatchlings, when fate stepped in.
: A few weeks ago the local pet shop contacted me about identifying some snakes. A family in one of the neighboring counties had found some eggs in a rotted log in front of their house. The eggs were starting to hatch, and they wondered what kind they were. On the drive to their house I was hoping, and the hope was rewarded. There were eight hatchling black ratsnakes in a half-gallon jar / terrarium. We were quickly able to agree on a price, and I left with the entire brood. Although they were not captive bred, they were captive hatched, and that was good enough to satisfy me.
: There is a sidebar to this story for all the people who exercise rigid temperature controls on the eggs they produce by captive breeding, by way of expensive incubators.
: The eggs in this story were removed from a rotting log. They were then placed in a glass jar along with humus from the log. As near as I can determine, there was no attempt made to put the eggs in the jar in the same position they were in while in the log. The jar was placed on a window-sill, and 100% hatched.
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