These reptiles are curious and personable. As far as keeper interaction goes, once a Russian rat snake’s cage lid has been removed, it usually plots ways to climb onto your hand. Hatchlings and yearlings are fed one rodent per feeding. Eggs usually hatch within 40 days. E. schrencki has been noted up to 6 m (20 ft) high in trees.

Remember to check on your snakes every few days to make sure they are doing well during brumation and spray gently with water if the humidity drops too low.

Eggs hatch in 40 to 60 days. Don’t feed Russian rat snakes for two to three weeks before brumation to ensure that their stomachs are empty. One of the most enjoyable aspects of keeping them is that they perch on a climbing branch and seem to observe what’s going on around them. Some will also refuse feeding during the winter season, as in nature they would brumate during this time.

For an egg box, I use a plastic container with holes drilled into it. Although Russians have a shorter activity period than most other snakes, they make up for it by exhibiting behavior and interactivity that makes them a favorite with those who keep them. Water bowl large anough to allow soaking is all they need to shed perfectly.

Distribution : China, Korea, Russia, Mongolia.

Russians, as well as other snakes, will quite happily climb on a hot light.

It is among the largest and most robust of all the rat snake species.

Like many snakes, they show a preference for forest edges and clearings. This species occurs up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft) altitude and can live in cooler areas than many other snakes. During such times they bask almost exclusively and rarely move from their heat source. For juveniles and adults the two most popular substrates are shredded aspen bedding or coco-coir. They seem to thoroughly enjoy climbing all over their keepers.

[6], As one common name, Manchurian black water snake, suggests, this species inhabits fairly moist biotopes such as forest clearings, scrub, farmland, hiding amongst cavities in trees, piles of stone or wood, and when threatened can flee up a tree or into the water. The northern, darker, is the most common variety. It can attain an adult length of 6 feet and has been known to occasionally reach 8 feet. Common names for E. schrenckii include Amur rat snake, Manchurian black racer, Manchurian black water snake, Russian rat snake, Schrenck's rat snake, and Siberian rat snake. As an alternative, snakekeepers may want to consider the Russian rat snake (Elaphe schrencki schrencki). This isn’t exactly a bad thing.

Russian rat snakes are big, non venomous snakes that are active during the day. You should brumate only adult individuals in good health in tubes with moss as a substrate (or other good material for burrows that will hold humidity well) in temperatures between 8-12°C (46-53°F) for around 2 to 3 months. One should be in the warm end, one should be in the cool end, and one should be between them. Hatchling can be kept in small tubs or racks as they are rather shy at the beginning (too big enclosure can stress them).

All that makes them really great pet snakes that don’t mind handling, most of them even likes it as a means to explore the world around. Russian rat snakes have a very short active season in the wild. In captivity there is no need for them to hunt for food or feel concerned about predators. Russian Rats are incredibly inquisitive and love to explore. Spraying the whole enclosure once in a few days helps too, but these are very hardy species, so if they are shedding well you don’t need to worry. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We feed our snakes all this things, the base being frozen/thawed rodents, and the treat being quail eggs and fishes (that are thiamine free!) Juvenile Russian rat snakes are clad in brown or gray with light cross-bands.

At one time Russian (as well as other European and Asian) rat snakes were classified in the same genus as American rat snakes.

I hibernate mine at a temperature of 47 to 52 degrees for three months, though some breeders recommend a cooling period of five months.

Image Credit : Mickael Leger Photographie.

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They do well in vertical cages too, as they love to climb and will use all the space that you can provide. If you’re using a light bulb, be sure to include a bulb guard. In nature they are eating rodents, fish and birds eggs. Russian Rats are having really fast metabolism, and some individuals are having monstrous feeding response. I keep my adult Russian rat snakes in tanks measuring 3 feet long, 1½ feet wide and 2 feet tall; however, these snakes would appreciate a taller cage with suitable climbing materials because they often climb.

Distinctly Un-American. Keepers of European and Asian rat snakes often remark that these species behave more like American racers than rat snakes. The common name, Russian rat snake, is misleading as only a small portion of the geographic range of E. schrenckii is in Russia. Adults do well on one medium rat or two adult mice.

Because Russian rat snakes are often found in wetlands, a moderate humidity level is best. A very docile and inquisitive species.

It’s one reason snakes are excellent low-maintenance pets. Before brumation you shouldn’t feed your snakes for two to three weeks and gradually lower the temperatures. Many snakekeepers would say they have personality.

We prefer naturalistic looking vivariums, so we use tree trunks and fake plants for foliage. You really don’t need to do anything special for them to shed properly.

We always try to arrange the water area big enough to allow swimming, so the bigger the better! They seem to prefer wetlands, but they can be found in several habitats, including sparsely vegetated areas, farmlands, rocky hillsides and woodlands. They don’t mind hanging out in plain sight, and they exhibit an awareness of their surroundings that’s a refreshing change from many other popular snakes. Several Russian rat snake owners also have remarked that the snakes appear to be intelligent. Although these snakes are very active and inquisitive they need a suitable hide box too.

Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, 2006,, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 11 March 2020, at 11:58. Males of this subspecies can breed at a younger age.

The Manchurian black water snake is an excellent swimmer (hence one common name) and is a very good climber, as it is semi-arboreal. The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience. After brumation, six to 12 eggs are typically deposited. Heat tape, a couple hide boxes, a water bowl and newspaper substrate are essential cage furnishings.

Reptile care guidelines, breeding articles and herping articles.