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Hey guys,

I know co-habing is a big hot topic, but I wondered if I could ask one question, just out of curiosity really, hoping the thread won't end up a train-wreck ...

I have a friend who is always telling me I could put another snake in a viv ...

I've read a lot and personally don't and don't intend to put more than one snake in a viv - perhaps it can work sometimes, and perhaps its OK in a big enclosure, but I'd rather not take the risk.

My question was otherwise - are there actually any snake species that live communally in the wild? Or are all reptiles solitary?

Please can we discuss without acrimony? :flrt:
 

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i dont think there are snakes that live together as a community - however some species of snake come together at certain times for hibernation and breeding. garters are one, some species of rattle snake congregate in "nest dens", I am sure there are others
 

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i think i'm right in saying sand boa's can be kept that way too, i would say theres plenty of snakes that can be kept together its just when it comes to feeding time things could get risky.
 

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That's what I was asking really thanks - not are there some species that will tolerate each other without mishap, but are there ones that are actually BETTER off if kept together?
That seems to be his conclusion- but sadly (fail!), I can't remember the particular species involved. It might be worth checking out back issues of PRK online- or searching his name.
 

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Christian Castille, who writes for Practical Reptile Keeping (and I believe on here too, but I don't know his user-name) refers to several 'communal' species- mostly obscure vine-snakey-type-things, though! :lol2:
Wildlifewarrior, although he has been banned for a while now.

That's what I was asking really thanks - not are there some species that will tolerate each other without mishap, but are there ones that are actually BETTER off if kept together?
When I kept my two T.P.proximus- wester ribbon snakes seperatly, they would not eat, however once they were kept together, they ate.
That's one upside of communal housing, that they often start feeding when they see others do so.

Wether or not there's a species BETTER off kept together, I'm not sure.
 

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i think i'm right in saying sand boa's can be kept that way too, i would say theres plenty of snakes that can be kept together its just when it comes to feeding time things could get risky.
Be careful with sand boas the females are far lrger then the males and they can easily be mistaken for food if not well fed
 

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Wildlifewarrior, although he has been banned for a while now.



When I kept my two T.P.proximus- wester ribbon snakes seperatly, they would not eat, however once they were kept together, they ate.
That's one upside of communal housing, that they often start feeding when they see others do so.

Wether or not there's a species BETTER off kept together, I'm not sure.
Really? I miss all the best gossip! :lol2:

Right or wrong (and he seems to have experience to back it up), some species, according to him, seem to do better in groups. I'm only an incidental snake-keeper, but I have certainly noticed the same thing in some frog species.
 

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Certain Thamnophis species are known to form communal dens - or hibernaculum - in the wild for dormancy, as are some species of Crotalus and Sistrurus I believe; although I dare say the phenomenon is not limited to those genera. This is particularly prevalent in climates where seasonal temperatures are rather extreme in their differences.

Further, Thamnophis species have been seen to gather in droves during mating, with large mating balls occurring with fierce competition between males.

In regard to the communal hibernacula phenomenon, I would suggest that this is a matter of convenience as opposed to preference (as it were) for the snakes in question. The number of hibernaculum available to the snakes can obviously be limited, and for safety and security the snakes will congregate during their dormant periods.

As such, in regard to captivity, I would suggest that no snake thrives if kept communally, but it might not necessarily do any worse - as in the wild any snake community is a result of necessity and instinct rather than choice. Nevertheless, one would suggest that Thamnophis would be a better snake to keep communally, if you were inclined to do so, as instances are quite well recorded in the wild. I would discourage any kind of communal living in any species however if you are not experienced with the species that you intend to keep communally. It is important you are familiar with the behaviours of the species (and preferably the individual animal) so you are able to identify any problems quickly should they occur with this kind of keeping.

Having said that, I know people who keep all manner of snake species communally with success (generally at a ratio of 1.1 but not always), including Pantherophis guttatus guttatus and even Epicrates cenchria cenchria.
 

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Certain Thramnopis species are known to form communal dens - or hibernaculum - in the wild for dormancy, as are some species of Crotalus and Sistrurus I believe; although I dare say the phenomenon is not limited to those genera. This is particularly prevalent in climates where seasonal temperatures are rather extreme in their differences.

Further, Thramnopis species have been seen to gather in droves during mating, with large mating balls occurring with fierce competition between males.

In regard to the communal hibernacula phenomenon, I would suggest that this is a matter of convenience as opposed to preference (as it were) for the snakes in question. The number of hibernaculum available to the snakes can obviously be limited, and for safety and security the snakes will congregate during their dormant periods.

As such, in regard to captivity, we can surely say that no snake thrives better or worse if kept communally, as in the wild any snake community is a result of necessity and instinct rather than choice. Nevertheless, one would suggest that Thramnopis would be a better snake to keep communally, if you were inclined to do so, as instances are quite well recorded in the wild. I would discourage any kind of communal living in any species however if you are not experienced with the species that you intend to keep communally. It is important you are familiar with the behaviours of the species (and preferably the individual animal) so you are able to identify any problems quickly should they occur with this kind of keeping.

Having said that, I know people who keep all manner of snake species communally with success (generally at a ratio of 1.1 but not always), including Pantherophis guttatus guttatus and even Epicrates cenchria cenchria.
You can surely say- the writer I referred to said differently, with certain species. As a general principle, I definitely agree with you, but I don't have experience with those particular species, which (I think) were what the OP was asking about.
 

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You can surely say- the writer I referred to said differently, with certain species. As a general principle, I definitely agree with you, but I don't have experience with those particular species, which (I think) were what the OP was asking about.
Apologies, perhaps I didn't word my statement in the best possible way, it is rather sweeping. I have edited. When I said that I meant one can infer on the basis of the evidence I am aware of and have (briefly) presented. I just worded it in an open (an evidently misleading) way.
 

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Apologies, perhaps I didn't word my statement in the best possible way, it is rather sweeping. I have edited. When I said that I meant one can infer on the basis of the evidence I am aware of and have (briefly) presented. I just worded it in an open (an evidently misleading) way.
Yeah, well in terms of species that are regularly available, you are totally right anyway.
 

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I thought certain species of garter lived communally for most, if not all, of the year?
Periods of brumation can last anywhere between a couple of weeks before mating through to 8 months or perhaps longer, I believe. It depends on a variety of factors.

My point is that this 'communal' living demonstrated by Thamnophis is for the purpose of brumation and appears to be for convenience and necessity - appropriate hibernaculum are not always readily available so these snakes need to brumate in numbers. Further, communal brumation has the added advantage of safety and security in numbers.

Nevertheless I do think that if one is inclined to keep snakes in this manner Thamnophis would be a good choice as these kind of snakes are well documented for it in the wild. The pherenomal communication further suggests that this is a complex species that can be inclined to congregate. I do not think however that communal living in captivity should be considered a requirement or advantage. If it were to be considered so keepers who have far less experience would be inclined to start keeping these snakes communally more often. As a result, there is a risk of this spreading to other genera and species, which may be less inclined for communal living and may require more knowledge as a result of the higher risk when it comes to keeping them together.
 

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Periods of brumation can last anywhere between a couple of weeks before mating through to 8 months or perhaps longer, I believe. It depends on a variety of factors.

My point is that this 'communal' living demonstrated by Thamnophis is for the purpose of brumation and appears to be for convenience and necessity - appropriate hibernaculum are not always readily available so these snakes need to brumate in numbers. Further, communal brumation has the added advantage of safety and security in numbers.

Nevertheless I do think that if one is inclined to keep snakes in this manner Thamnophis would be a good choice as these kind of snakes are well documented for it in the wild. The pherenomal communication further suggests that this is a complex species that can be inclined to congregate. I do not think however that communal living in captivity should be considered a requirement or advantage. If it were to be considered so keepers who have far loss experience would be inclined to start keeping these snakes communally more often and then there is a risk of this spreading to other snakes which are less inclined for communal living and require more knowledge as a result of the higher risk when it comes to keeping them together.
It's a similar question to the perennial question over in 'Phibs of 'can I mix species'- the answer is, yes you can, in certain circumstances, with certain species- but only if you know what you are doing- and if you have to ask the question, you don't. So don't do it.
 

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It's a similar question to the perennial question over in 'Phibs of 'can I mix species'- the answer is, yes you can, in certain circumstances, with certain species- but only if you know what you are doing- and if you have to ask the question, you don't. So don't do it.
Exactly, a very good point.

That's my problem you see, I jabber on when a simple statement of opinion such as yours would have been plenty :blush:
 

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It's a similar question to the perennial question over in 'Phibs of 'can I mix species'- the answer is, yes you can, in certain circumstances, with certain species- but only if you know what you are doing- and if you have to ask the question, you don't. So don't do it.
Or, "don't do it until you have asked experienced keepers of the species you plan to house together, and are confident that you won't be doing any harm to your snakes."

On Thamnophis spp. being housed communally (I currently have two groups of garters together, as well as others that are on their own):
- Nearly all garters can be housed together in the right conditions, and it's safe to mix species (if they are the same size and sex). The main exception that tends to be brought up being Wandering Garters (T. elegans vagrans) which are known to eat smaller snakes.
- There's a lot of anecdotal evidence (similar to Anthony Laing above, and I've had similar experience with one of my garters) that they can do better in the company of other snakes. This isn't communal living, it's most likely that they are less stressed when other garters are nearby.
I know of one specific case where a extremely jumpy, reluctant eater ribbon snake taken in by a friend, was housed with a group of calm T. radix and over a couple of months she learned from the radix girls and became a reliable eater and started to tolerate handling.

I could continue, but Greg has a great blog entry about communal housing on his Thamnophis Alba site - Communal housing - Thamnophis Alba - The Scottish Garter Snake

If anyone keeping garters is considering communal housing and has questions I'd suggest starting by reading Greg's blog, and then asking questions on thamnophis.com (garter-specific threads tend to get lost so easily amongst all the boas and pythons on here).
 
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