*Note: The information in these guides has not been updated in some time. Whilst care was made to ensure accuracy when written, these care sheets should now serve only as a starting point for further reading.*
Length: Female African House Snakes average out at 3-4ft males generally reach 2-2.5ft but 4-6ft females are noted in some Eastern localities of the capensis species.
Ease of Care: Beginner upwards, excellent starter snake.
Distribution: House Snakes occur in all of sub Saharan Africa, this species is often found in close quarters with humans - feeding on the rodents & pests that occur near human waste.
General Notes: House Snakes make wonderful pets or attractive display animals, ideal first snakes for the aspiring keeper, and a wonderful snake for the more experienced keeper also, relatively easy to breed in captivity and many new wonderful morphs and subspecies becoming more readily available in captivity these snakes are perhaps one of the best all-round captive snakes.
Heating & Lighting
House snakes require a basking area of 30°C & cool side of 20-25°C should be provided. Heating can be provided by an under floor heat mat on one half of the vivarium these should be thermostatically controlled to ensure that they do not overheat. Never use hot rocks, snakes often wrap themselves around them and are burnt. You can also heat your house snakes vivarium with a heat lamp, ensure this too is controlled to heat only to 30°C - should you choose to use this ensure that the snake cannot get close enough to it to wrap itself around it and get a burn. House Snakes are a nocturnal species however some daylight excursions are not uncommon. A photoperiod of 12 hours day/night is easily achieved if the vivarium with which they are housed is help in a room which is lit by natural sunlight - never put the vivarium where it is hit by direct sunlight, this causes it to overheat, subsequently killing the snake. No UV radiation is required by this species & it is not suggested you provide it with any UV radiation.
These Snakes are known for not being fussy at all, they eat most things given to them - although this is an upside it is also a downside since these snakes rarely refuse food, keepers may tend towards overfeeding and thus obesity occurs, this in turn causes health risks for the snake in mention. Male House snakes may not feed very often, in my experience females only refuse food in the late stages of the gestation period or when they are ill. Due to having such a strong feeding response it is recommended you feed separately & with long feeding tongs. They should be offered a food item once a week, the food item offered should be large enough to make a bump in the thickest part of the snakes body. Don't test how large a food item the snake can fit down there, this can cause various complications & likely, the snakes eventual death.
House snakes are fantastic snakes they rarely show aggression - as youngsters they can be a little nippy (as with all young animals) but tame down very quickly - I have hatched & dealt with more than 40 juveniles, none have bitten me. Don’t get too comfortable with a young house snake - they are very fast and in a sudden fright they can take off with great haste. When House Snakes smell food they go into a "feeding frenzy" and anything that moves can and will be bitten - a feeding bite is the worst bite you could take as the snake will bite, hold on and wrap itself around you & constrict - it can be very difficult to get the snake to let go. CF/WC animals are said to be much more interested in fleeing from you as opposed to biting, but there is a higher risk of such defensive actions.
- Dip pinkies in Tuna Brine.
- Scent the pinkies on other rodents, Rats are recommended. This has been the method I have found works on occasion.
- Don't give the snakes water for 1 or 2 days and then offer a pinkie saturated with water.
- Use a freshly Killed pinkie.
- Force feeding.
- Live pinkies are also rumoured to be a good starter, however feeding live can cause complications getting them onto defrost mice in the future - it is only suggested as an extreme last resort, it is illegal or morally unacceptable in many places.