Species group: African House Snakes
Other common names: African House Snake
Scientific name: Lamprophis fuliginosis
One of the most common snakes in Africa, the African House Snake is found all over the continent of Africa from Mauritania and Morocco to Ethiopia and Sudan, westward to Senegal. Its natural habitats include savannahs, grasslands, woodlands, and scrublands. True to its name, it is most commonly found around human dwellings as it forages for rodents.
Appearance / health:
Brown House Snakes are slender and mature to an average of 4 feet in length. Females are typically larger and longer than males. Although often seen with a brown body color, Brown House Snakes can be greenish, orange, dark red, or black. The belly is creamy white. The scales are shiny and iridescent. Characteristic to the Brown African Snake is the pair of white stripes that run from the tip of the snout, through the eye, to the back of the head.
Behavior / temperament:
Brown House Snakes can be kept alone, in pairs, or in groups. They are nocturnal and very peaceful, making them a good pet for beginners. Under optimum care and conditions, they can live up to 15 years.
Brown House Snakes are best kept in secure enclosures no smaller than 10-gallon terrariums. The substrate must be absorbent and easy to clean because the snakes are voracious eaters and produce copious amounts of waste. The recommended flooring materials are newspaper, paper towels, peat moss, or aspen shavings. The enclosure must be provided with hide boxes, branches for climbing, and a water dish for drinking and soaking. Heat gradient: 65-85F; humidity: 50%.
The enclosure must be cleaned weekly and disinfected regularly. Fresh water should be provided daily. Misting is recommended during shedding to maintain the higher humidity levels required.
The Brown Snake’s primary diet is rodents. Captive Brown Snakes can be fed defrosted mice.
Brown House Snakes do not require an incubation period to breed. In fact, they breed throughout the year. They lay 2-12 eggs that hatch in about 70 days.
good first snakes, easiest starter colubrids, hardy little snakes, voracious feeders, gentle snake
reptile shows, color morphs, shiny brown colour, pet trade, different morph colourations
The astonishingly prolific brown house snake.
This little African snake is one of the easiest starter colubrids out there. These snakes tend to be extremely healthy, easy to keep, and easy to feed. They avidly feed on mice, and most switch quickly to eating frozen/thawed. They rarely miss a meal.
Female African house snakes can reach a length of over 3 or even 4 feet, but males seldom exceed 2 feet. This extreme difference makes the adult snakes fairly easy to sex. Males also have a significantly longer tail past the vent.
These snakes are set up with conditions similar to those enjoyed by most African snake species, with a basking spot of 90F and daytime temp of 80F. Nighttime temperature drops are unnecessary and not recommended.
As hatchlings, these snakes are very, very flighty and nippy. Once they reach a year of age, and have some size, they calm, and adults tend to be extremely docile and easy to handle. Just remember to keep your fingers out of the way at feeding time!
These snakes eat and eat...so you must regulate how much you feed them in captivity, to avoid obesity. The reason they do this is because given the opportunity...they breed...and breed...and breed! These snakes will breed at any time of the year, and produce clutch after clutch if given the chance, one after the other until they 'burn out'. Make sure the snakes have ample size and weight if you choose to breed them, and keep the male with the female for only a week, then remove him. The female will retain enough sperm from one mating to lay 2 or 3 clutches!
Females should be 2 to 3 years old and well-fed, and males over 1 year old, before breeding.
These calm (once grown), friendly, and hardy little snakes are good choices for new keepers, for ambassador animals, and for beginners to snake breeding. Their color ranges from dark brown to light chocolate, and reflects a rainbow sheen in the light.
If you choose to get these snakes for breeding purposes, make sure you are getting genuine L. fuliginosis. The slightly smaller but VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL Cape House Snake (L. capensis) is flightier and nippier, and NOT cross-fertile with L. fuliginosis. Some photos provided MAY be of Cape House Snakes. They are very hard to distinguish visually.
Problems with identifying the different Lamprophis species have led to issues with captive breeding these fecund snakes--it is unknown whether any hybrids exist among captive populations. Acquiring snakes from a reputeable and KNOWLEDGEABLE breeder who got them all from one locality is your best bet.
From WingedWolfPsion May 18 2009 4:00PM
Not born in captivity: VERY difficult to look after...
When I was living in Johannesburg, South Africa, a few years ago, a friend of mine gave me three very young (and wild) Brown House snakes as a present. What I am about to say is in no way a criticism of the species as pets (I know they usually make easy pets to look after); it is more a cautionary tale about looking after reptiles (especially young ones) that were born in the wild...Basically, none of the three would take the food (live baby mice) I tried to feed them. After two weeks of trying, I enlisted the help of a friend (who knew more about reptiles than I did) to force feed the snakes with the mice. Although this worked, the snakes still refused to show any autonomous interest in the mice. Eventually, after two and a half months, I let them go back where they belonged. So: be wary of taking charge of any animal that has not been born in captivity - a lesson I learnt the hard way....
From Ross1 Nov 4 2014 5:30AM