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Thread: King v. Corn v. RT boa... asking your opinion!

  1. #1
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    Default King v. Corn v. RT boa... asking your opinion!

    Hello,

    I'm in the position to add a new reptile to the family! I have only ever had a ball python in the past and, while a beautiful snake, I'm looking for something that will be a little more active... clearly kings & corns would be more active but what about the activity level of a boa? similiar to that of a ball python? Any preference in animals between kings & corns? ...each snake I am considering is already fairly adult (between 2 & 3 years)... I am particularly interested in a female eastern chain king snake that someone I know is selling (which is fed frozen) but have heard that they can be nippy at times & tend to musk often... anyone have experience with this? The boa I am looking at is 6ft and 3 years old, a female (fed live)... it is currently housed in a 421d boaphile cage... would this be sufficient for life? given she might only grow few more feet? Snake is already 3-4 years old... How much more growth would be expected?

    I have done research on all these questions already but... would like opinions given the context of my particular situation... Thanks! :]

    Am really looking for a handleable active snake... but something with a decent size bulk (corn is at the bottom of my list right now)

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    I have six kingsnakes (one is actually a milksnake) and I adore them all. They range in size from less than 2 feet to almost 4.5ft. I have only been bitten by the milk (who is the youngest). Kings have a reputation of being nippy especially when they are young but I haven't seen this in mine except for the milksnake. The bite also occurred when I was bringing the animal home after purchasing it: haven't been bitten since. My Mexican black musked a few times when I first purchased her (previous owner rarely handled her) but now she is very easy to hold. I take a couple of my kings into my classes for my students to handle: they always do very well with the students: no musking, biting or thrashing around.

    My florida king and my Mexican black are very "out and about" snakes. They are also garbage disposals! The shiny scales and EASY care of kingsnakes make them my favorite by far! I have never had corns in captivity, but wild caught ratsnakes and corn snakes are mean buggers! I also do not like the keeled scales of Elaphe (or whatever the genus is now) as much as the smooth scales of a Lampropeltis. I also prefer the blacks and white coloration that tends to be more common in kings than the oranges and yellows of corn snakes.

    I have owned a red tail boa once: the snake was less than 2 feet long and every time I walked into the reptile room this animal went into a frenzy of biting and striking at me through the glass. I had to handle it with gloves unless I wanted shredded hands and it was a picky eater and a bad shedder. I kept it for as long as possible and then said "screw this" and rehomed it to someone that likes messing with red tails. I have been MUCH happier with my kingsnakes.

    Edit: Since everyone else is putting up pics, I though I would add some too!

    Kala, my MBK hanging out:


    Sven, my speckled king (best snake ever: he's never bitten, musked, shaken his tail, lunged, anything from the day he was caught):


    Shiro, another one of my show and tell snakes:


    and Noel, my milksnake:
    Last edited by ShadowKorin; 04-05-2012 at 03:47 PM.

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    lol the conversation I had on the phone with my friend yesterday who is getting into breeding ball pythons "they are boring, if I wanted boring I would have kept my redtail"....lol I will eventually get a bp, he will make sure of it lol.

    Now I do love my kingsnake, dont get me wrong my RTB was nice but as far as interactive...yeah they were boring. My kingsnake is active, easy to handle before and after feeding. But each species of kingsnake, or even by local can differ in personality. Cali's tend to be a bit more pissy. And working at a pet store for a long time we ordered a lot of baby kings and as Sarah said, they can be cranky babies, but many grow out of it. Greybandeds, like what I have, are known to be one of the more mellow species of kings, and he is a perfect doll to handle. Also helps he was raised by a little girl so he was very used to handling.

    And as Sarah said kings are super easy, they require very little heat, I use an UTH simply because of where he is kept at gets colder, but many people have kept them with no heat at all with success. They really are IMO the best starter snake species if you can get past the pissy baby part, which not all go through that, like I said some types are just more prone to it. And also I do think they are much more attractive, I find corns boring, their patterns are just boring, their colors are boring. Dont get me wrong I have seen a few beautiful ones but I would rather have a run of the mill Florida king, they have more pattern wise going on and for me that is more attractive. But even with looking at something like greybandeds, with the different locals you have different colors and degree of patterning. To me you have a lot more options to find something that really interests you.

    Like I said I had a RTB, and I do think they are beautiful, you will always find me staring at them at reptile shows, they are just simply stunning IMO, their pattern (or lack there of), the bright colors, and I simply love the head shape (which I HATE the head shape of corns). But you have to ask yourself do you have the space for such a large species? What are you going to do when you have a pissed off 6' RTB trying to eat you vs a 5' kingsnake, quite a difference in bites.

    If you like girth but not that interested in bp's but want something smaller than a RTB, try a Hogg Island Boa, they resemble the RTB's but are a bit smaller. Rainbow boas do not get terribly huge IMO, very beautiful snakes also. If I were to get another boa and it not be a sand boa, I would probably get one of these guys. Childrens python, another fav of mine, another small species usually around 3', sometimes a little larger, although not terribly flashy they make good pets. Cay Caulker boa is another possible idea...if you can find them and they range from about 4-5.5'.

    As far as how much more will the female grow...she can get larger. It is not uncommon or unheard of for female RTB to reach 9-10' in length. I dont know how big that boaphile is, but realize she isnt done growing yet.
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    Having never owned a king I can't speak to their behavior or care.

    If you want plenty of choices in regard to color, check out corn snakes. They come in a lot of beautiful morphs (just like balls do), you'd have a hard time picking just one. I have a normal, which was my first snake ever, and a hypo bloodstripe who is so beautifully red you need sunglasses to look at her. They're both very active, although the little blood is a bit more spastic. She was a nippy hatchling for the previous owner, but so far she hasn't taken a snap at me. Not that it would matter since she's small enough it would just be a pinprick. However, trying to hold her is like trying to hold water. You definitely wouldn't be bored with her! If I remember correctly, her behavior is fairly common with bloods, they tend to have a bit more of an attitude.

    I don't have a red tail, but I do have a costa rican, which is an insular locality of boa constrictor imperator. He was a little nippy and hissy when he was younger, and cage aggressive, but with calm handling he's gotten a lot better. He hasn't bitten or hissed in months, though I'm still careful when reaching into his tub. He's not as active as the corn, but more so than the ball. I don't know if that's common in bcis, if it's just his personality, or if he'll eventually outgrow it. He is almost always moving around when I handle him, but slowly and more deliberate. However, I would think a redtail, which grows so much larger, would probably be less active, more like a ball python, but I don't know as I've never actually owned one.


    [ 2.0 Kitteh ][ 1.1 Corn Snake ][ 0.1 Crested Gecko ][ 1.0 Gargoyle Gecko ][ 1.0 Ball Python ][ 1.0 Costa Rican BCI ][ 0.1 Leopard Gecko ][ 0.1 IJ Jag Carpet Python ]

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    My roommate picked up a King Snake back in October. He's still a kid and unlike ShadowKorin's- he's a nippy little monster. Cute as sin though. He's extremely active and as described- a little black hole when it comes to food.

    He refuses nothing and after feeding usually looks for more lol.

    As far as activity goes- he's like a fish. He is all over his tank which I live planted. I have to say- just having dirt as a substrate really adds to his activity. He's constantly burrowing and scootin' around in there. You never know where he's going to poke his head out. Since his tank is on the desk that shares my computer I constantly see him rooting around, climbing plants, creeping along the edges of the top of the tank trying to find a way out (!!!) or peeking out at me from every angle imaginable. His favorite places to be includ a tunnel that runs along the front of the tank and one that leads up under his water dish.

    Extremely rewarding snake to have just from his activity. He's always up to something. But he is sassy, maybe even especially so for a king. He'll rattle his tail, huff puff, strike (constantly) and while you hold him occasionally he's just going to rattle his tail the entire time. Very entertaining to say the least.

    He won't get big compared to a boa, that's for sure. But if you're looking for an active, very personable snake- you can't beat a king.
    Here's a pic of him. His patterning kills me because not only does he have a little heart on the top of his head- but it appears that he has MASSIVE Eyebrows.


    I'll be moving next month and I'm thinking I'm going to have get one for myself to make up for not having him around.
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    Come live with me Ansli and share my king
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    Quote Originally Posted by thongwedgie View Post
    Come live with me Ansli and share my king
    <3 <3 <3
    The name Stella fills me with dread.
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    While I can't boast the *coughcough* extensive kingsnake collection that Shadowkorin has, I completely agree with her on the assessment. I have a 5 foot plus California kingsnake and a 3 foot Florida kingsnake. Every snake has it's own personality - some are easily handleable while others...just want to be left alone - and the kingsnakes and cornsnakes tend to be the most active. I have met and handled nippy kings and corns, and many of these snakes can tame down with patient and gradually progressive handling. I would recommend handling any snake you are interested in and basing your decision on that particular snake's temperament.

    As far as the eastern kingsnake, I would ask if it's wild caught or captive bred. WC animals can have heavy parasite burdens, and you'll have to consider the risk to your other animals. I would at least make sure that you are able to quarantine the new snake well away from your established collection - preferably in another room - for at least 30 days. Kingsnakes tend to musk fairly often until they become accustomed to handling, and some may continue to musk well into adulthood. My California kingsnake rarely musked as a juvenile and completely stopped after she was a year old. She was also quite docile as a young snake and was handled regularly from the time she was four months old. On the other hand, my Florida kingsnake has no problem biting or musking on me, and while I can tell he has improved, he will never be a "show and tell" snake. I acquired him as a yearling, and I do not believe he was handled very often prior to entering my collection.

    Since you are interested in a more active snake, you might want to consider western hognose and African house snakes. Both of mine tend to be quite active, and while the house snake is nocturnal, I frequently catch him cruising around his cage at night.

    Top left: African house snake
    Top right: Yearling Florida kingsnake
    Bottom left: Adult California kingsnake
    Bottom right: Yearling western hognose snake
    1.1 Lampropeltis getula (Caldera, Zorro), 1.1 Crested gecko (Hiyori & Sundae), 0.1 Western hognose snake (Hinamori Momo), 1.0 African house snake (Kensei), 0.0.1 Amazon tree boa (Kon)

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    I can speak on the rtb, as I'm a huge boa fan. The size of the female will be determined by locality. I don't recall you saying what type of boa she is, but I am willing to bet she is a bci, as most rtbs in the pet trade are. That being the case, 9-10 feet is huge for a female bci, they more commonly reach 7-8 feet. With that being said, a 421d will work for her whole life. A 421d is a 4 foot by 2 foot floor, and the rule of thumb for boas is square feet needs to be = or greater than length of the snake.8 feet being the sq feet of the cave makes it perfect for most bci boas.

    Now to speak of activity. My boas are all more active than balls when you take them out. They enjoy looking around, and pretending I'm a tree haha. They will explore if you put them on the ground, and are good fun IMO. Inside their cage, they are pretty inactive. They mostly hang out in their hides. They really aren't showy animals while in their enclosure. Lol a pet store near me has a beautiful lipstick albino super jungle that I have only seen once out of maybe 30 visits to the store lol. It prefers to stay in it's hide I guess.

    One poster mentioned they had a redtail that was aggressive, had bad sheds, and was a bad eater. This is all signs of a health problem, not a mean or hard to care for snake. I have never once had a boa shed badly, and if you house it in a boaphile, you won't ha e problems either. Many people have problems with "fish tanks" because they lose humidity too fast causing uneven sheds.

    I wanted to add, at 3-4 years a female boa will slow way down on growing length and grow in girth primarily. I would not be at all surprised if she didn't hit 7 foot.

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    I think that corn snakes are the most easy snake to have I have one andit is a snow corn not fully grown by all means but very sweet and does not mind being held andeats really well boas are much more work then corns and they get to be a pretty good size. Here is a picture of my snow corn I love the way the patterns and colors are on him or her lol. Name:  011.jpg
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