Acquired: Wild caught / rehabilitation animal
Aiken, South Carolina, United States
Posted Jan 22, 2010
The snail eater can be found in South America and is a member of the colubrid family. Nocturnal, they are rarely seen unless you really look for them. The most commonly found one is the Nebulatus or clouded snail eater. There are more colorful versions found in Costa Rica-they resemble the pink and green version of the eyelash viper as far as coloration and pattern-but they are very rare and impossible to get out of the country. These snakes are exclusively snail and slug eaters. Mine will readily eat either, and will take the slugs frozen/thawed. I simply place the thawed slugs on their logs in their cages and they come by and eat them during the night. I find slugs at nearby farms during the spring and summer months and freeze them for future use. Live snails can be purchased online, or found in gardens. Take care to be sure there are no pesticides used in the area that will taint the snails or slugs. These are a shy species that are not very visible and their plainer brown coloration do not make them especially beautiful display animals, but the sheer strangness of their heads and looks make them desirable nonetheless. They are extremely difficult to obtain as most importers do not get many in, and fewer survive to be sold. Due to the nature of their prey, they need to be fed more often than other snakes...at least every 5-7 days. I tend to feed smaller amounts more frequently...every 3 days or so. These animals require warmer temperatures and higher humidity than other colubrids and need to be kept under the same conditions as a green tree python or amazon. Being arboreal, these snakes like lots of cover and branches to climb on at night. I use sphagnum moss as a substrate, provide silk plants and vines to climb on and a moderate water bowl to provide drinking water and soaking. Sibons are very docile as their prey has no teeth. They will flatten their heads in defense to make themselves look larger, but will attempt to escape rather than bite. I've never had one bite or attempt to bite. The most interesting thing about this snake is it's ability to remove snails from the shell. Their jaws are inflexible, much like ours, to allow them to have more leverage to pull snails out of shells. This makes them unique in the snake world. I'm planning on pairing up my trio this year and hope to have some eggs. If I can accomplish this, it will be the first captive born and bred babies in the United States.