African House Snake
African brown house snakes are perfect for beginner snakes. Their placid demeanor makes them easy to handle and they adapt to any environment, so taking care of them is a bliss. Whether the African house snake is your first snake or an added addition to your existing collection, you will not regret having this little guy.
With over 35 years of experience and hundreds of snakes, lizards and amphibians sharing these moments with us, it is safe to say, we have this kind of figured out. Some things we learned through trial and error and others through unending research. Here are some tips on what helped us understand and care for these beautiful creatures even better.
(Our blogs share general concepts, information and experiences in keeping reptiles and amphibians. Please do not use them as a definite guide. Before you obtain your animal, do thorough research or consult a veterinarian in your area.)
What makes the African house snake such a perfect exotic pet?
Being non-venomous is a big plus for these snakes. They are shy when they are younger, making handling even easier. Because they are a small to medium sized snake, their diet consists of small rodents, such as pinky mice or fuzzy mice for the hatchlings and younger snakes, and larger mice for the bigger snakes. The bigger snakes only get fed every two weeks, meaning of course that they do not cost a lot to feed.
They will withstand almost all mistakes that a beginner in the art of Herping will most likely make.
Does the African house snake bite?
A bonus is that they have a placid nature, you must really irritate them before they will strike, and when they do, it doesn’t hurt, leaves no marks and do not break the skin. This means that the risk of infection is illuminated.
Below you will find more information and in in-depth care sheet that will assist you in taking care of your African house snake.
- Common Name
African brown house snake
- Scientific Name
- General information / Description
The African brown house snake is a small to medium size, non-venomous snake. As the name states, it is mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Although they are one of the most popular snakes kept as exotic pets all over the world.
The African house snake can be found in different environments, from dry to humid even sandy to grasslands.
- Size and life span
The African House Snake can easily live up to 20 year. Get ready for a long-term commitment when you decide to get yourself one of these beauties. They can get up to 1.5 meters, but average around 1 meter for females with the males weighing in at about 70cm.
The African house snake is without a doubt one of the better snakes to get for a beginner, or if you are looking for a snake that easily adapts to its surroundings. The African house snake climatizes easily and makes itself at home before you can say ‘snake’. They enjoy climbing, so add a hard surface decoration for them to climb on or bask on.
According to the Swiss law in keeping a snake – The terrarium should be the length of the body; the width and the height should be half of the body size. For instance, if your snake is 50cm, your terrarium should be 50cm in length, 25cm in width and 25cm in height. This is the minimum size.Keep in mind, as the snake grows, you must make sure to upgrade the size of the terrarium as well. This measurement standard allows for 2 snakes to be kept together, therefore, make the terrarium the size of the bigger snake. Please refer to your local government’s legal requirements regarding the enclosure and size before you get an animal.
The African house snakes are happy with any substrate you put down for them. You can place them on, gravel, newspaper, moss, whatever substrate is reptile safe, they will love you for it.
In captivity it is better to keep the African house snake at a maximum temperature between 29-30 degrees Celsius and cold spots between 24-25 degrees Celsius. Coming from Africa, they do like it a bit hotter than normal.
You do not need to add special lighting to the African house snake enclosure, as they are nocturnal. You do, however, have to add some light, as they need to differentiate between night and day, as well as seasons. During the summer, leave the light on for them for 12 hours, in the winter, shorten their daylight period. (This is important as well for them to indicate breeding times)
- Behaviour / Nature
The African house snake is the perfect beginner snake, as it has a placid nature and adapts easily to its surroundings and environment. It is a bit anxious around humans, but rarely strikes.
The African house snake has a timid nature, and although you get people that like to cuddle with their reptiles daily, we like to keep them a bit more natural and stress free. Handle them if you must clean their enclosure, for general check up or maintenance. But they will also appreciate it if you just let them be, as if they were still in nature. It is ultimately up to you how you want to interact with your reptile, just make sure you handle them with care, love and respect.
The African house snake can be fed once per week. The size of the food should not be bigger than the thickest part of the snake’s body. Their diets consist mainly out of rodents. Generally, mice, but some of the larger snakes will go for a rat. The baby snakes can be fed frozen pinky mice (defrosted of course) with some attention. Once they have taken to frozen feeders, you don’t have to worry to give them anything else.
Breeding period is late winter, just before spring. Males can breed in their first year, but it is better to wait till they are 18 months before breeding. Females should be kept from breeding till they are around 3 years of age.
African house snakes can breed up to 4 times per year. The average size per clutch is around 10-12 eggs. Big clutches can be up to 30 eggs.
Incubation temperature is between 26-28 degrees Celsius. Eggs are roughly around 4cm long and can take between 60-80 days to hatch. You can expect the hatchling to be around 20cm.
Please take care when breeding and only breed if you really must. Make sure the babies will have a house to go to once they are born, remember, that can be up to 120 houses that you have to find.
While your African house snake is shedding, add a box with humidity substrate in his or her enclosure. They do not always need it, but it helps when they can get relief immediately and not only once you notice it.
- Species / Colors
The African house snake used to be grouped with the lamprophiid species, they are now grouped with the Boaedon species.
In our day and age, the possibilities are usually endless. The same goes with the African house snake. They have morphed into the most fascinating colors, from Butter to Albino Anerythristic, Calico, Erythristic, Hypomelanistic, Ilumo, Patternless, just to name a few. They have bold, thick stripes (usually a creamy white color) that stretch from the rostral scale, goes through the eyes all the way to the back of the head. The stripes on their bodies can differ from each other, some can run along the length of the body and others from side to side, these stripes can even touch and intertwine. You can even find ones without any stripes.
- Health / Diseases
The African house snake can suffer from illnesses and ailments such as; respiratory ailment (keep a look out for an inflamed neck) as well as mites. You can treat your pet snake at home for the minor problems but rather take it to a veterinarian when you are uncertain.
Get involved in a group or forum that shares the same passion as you for snakes and reptiles. This is also very helpful when you notice something out of the ordinary about your snake, and you are just looking for general input or advice.