Western Ribbon Snake

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Is the Western Ribbon Snake right for you?

Species group:

Scientific name: Thamnophis proximus proximus

The basics:
Western Ribbon Snakes are native to North and Central America. They inhabit areas next to a body of water including marshes, ponds, rivers, and lakes. They forage among rocks, logs, burrows, bushes, and shrubs, quick to coast over the water when hunting or fleeing.

Appearance / health:
Ribbon Snakes look very similar in their slim, tapering bodies and longitudinal stripes. What differentiates the Western Ribbon Snake from the Eastern Ribbon Snake it that the Western specie has two (sometimes fused) white or yellow spots on the top of its black (sometimes brown) head. It measures about 2.5 feet long. The typical base body color is dark brown to black, with a bright green tint. The markings are three longitudinal stripes with the middle dorsal stripe being orange and the lateral ones cream or yellowish green. The belly is white (sometimes yellow or green). The scales are keeled. Compared to Garter Snakes, the Western Ribbon Snake has no black bars on the labial scales.

Behavior / temperament:
Among the Ribbon Snakes, the Western Ribbon Snake is the most popular in the pet trade. They are small, docile, and easy to care for. They are diurnal or active all day, and under proper care and conditions can live up to 10 years.

Like other Ribbon Snakes, Western Ribbon Snakes prefer an average-sized woodland terrarium with plenty of places to hide, bask, and climb. A large bathing pan is ideal because Ribbon Snakes are water loving, enjoying a dip every now and then. Basking places should be dry, and substrate should be quick drying. Sand is not a recommended substrate because Ribbon Snakes hate having sand in their eyes and mouths. Day temp: 77-82F; night temp: 64-71F; basking temp: 86F; humidity: 50-60%; lighting: 12 hours, partly UV.

Ribbon Snakes can be kept individually or in groups. They appreciate the opportunity to roam as well as hide. Fresh water should be provided daily and the enclosure cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Western Ribbon Snakes feed on small animals that also inhabit areas close to the water. These include frogs, toads, earthworms, salamanders, and fish.

Western Ribbon Snakes give birth to live young. They mate in the spring and deliver an average litter of 12 in late summer or early fall.

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