Reptile Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last weekend I picked up Stabitha, a Kukri Snake. She was deep in blue when I collected her and she did bite me, but I only felt the wet inside of her mouth, no Ghurka-machete teeth were engaged thankfully!

She was weighed (155g) went into a quarantine rub in a rack, with coconut coir substrate, a wide but shallow water dish (the seller said her favourite place is usually burrowing under her water bowl, so a broad one will give her the opportunity). I've also given her a 30cm x 30cm slate place mat on legs for her to burrow under if she wants, and a bit of fake greenery.

I tried to leave her alone to settle in as much as possible, but when I did check on her, she was sitting on top of the slate, half hidden by the plastic leaves. This looked to be a cooler part of the habitat.

She shed on the following Saturday, 7 days after I'd collected her. All in one piece. Immediately after shedding, she swapped to hiding under the slate, burrowed in the coconut coir.

She was sold as currently feeding on scrambled up hen's eggs offered in a small bowl, and would also take pinkies scented with egg, plus had previously eaten a dead/deformed hatchling lizard, but I wanted to see if she'd accept frozen thawed frogs legs as part of her diet. They'll have more calcium in them than pinkies due to their better developed bone structure, and lower fat content. They can be found in Oriental Supermarkets at £6.50 for 500g. Their wild diet includes reptiles and amphibians, but they are most famous for eating reptile eggs. They are named for their blade-like rear teeth, which apparently resemble those kinked Ghurka 'Kukri' knives, developed for slicing through leathery reptile egg shells. She'll be getting all of my slug eggs in future too.

Last night I offered her a bowl containing 1 freshly laid, scrambled up pigeon egg, and some segments of one defrosted frog's leg. I wasnt sure if she'd eat a whole leg or which bit she would prefer, so I used some kitchen scissors to chop the leg into a mostly bony shin joint, a thigh and a hip/saddle joint.

Next morning, all three chunks of frog leg are gone. She's got a slight prey bulge and had moved to a new burrow underneath the slate but over the heat cable.

Just thought I'd start a thread about my Kukri Snake adventure as there's not much written about them. She's a mainland O. purpurascens from peninsular Malaysia sort of area, but I've seen some of the Timor Island red phase O. purpurascens for sale in Germany (and captive bred too!) so I'm very tempted to get a male for her, even if it is a different locality.

Picture as tax, from when I popped her food bowl into her rub.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Congratulations on your find!. Nice to see people choose to work with more uncommon snakes. Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Premium Member
5 snakes, a fair few spiders, 2 elderly horses, a crazy collie and a cat.
Joined
·
2,001 Posts
She is beautiful! It is interesting to read about a snake I don't know about so I'm looking forward to reading about your journey :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Cheers all, I was pretty stoked when I saw the advert and jumped at the chance. Here's a video from the Snake Discovery channel showing what the Tioman Island red phase/local looks like. They put a disclaimer on a following video stating that they made a mistake on the venomous comment (they aren't rear fanged venomous, no glands).

https://youtu.be/SdzbLdDd2vo

And a couple of photos of Stabitha under better, natural light. Very little black, mostly grey and peach, mainland locale.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
This is a beautiful species. Alexander Matusche and a few others have done wonders proliferating the Tioman island locality in Europe.



Picture of one of Matthew Kyriacou's animals. I have a couple reserved myself just as soon as the European shows are back up and running!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,024 Posts
This is a beautiful species. Alexander Matusche and a few others have done wonders proliferating the Tioman island locality in Europe.

image

Picture of one of Matthew Kyriacou's animals. I have a couple reserved myself just as soon as the European shows are back up and running!
The difference between the two is so great they look like different species!
Both are nice but personally I prefer this locality form, based on colour.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
The difference between the two is so great they look like different species!
Both are nice but personally I prefer this locality form, based on colour.
Yeah the red and yellow ones are insane. Getting fairly common now as well, they've spread from Europe to Canada and the US now. Not too pricy either.

There are a whole bunch of really amazing species in this genus that are either so rare as to be virtually unheard of, or simply are not in the European hobby. Some of the Chinese exporters sometimes get them in like O. lacroixi but they usually smuggle through HK so I would not be tempted to try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,024 Posts
I remember seeing kukris crop up every now and again decades ago but if I remember correctly they were mainly a drab brown colour? And small.
I dont know much about them other than the common name derives from their teeth.
I've not really seen a close up photo, never seen one in the flesh.
It looks like the one the OP posted has an upturned, or enlarged, rostral scale. I take it these are very much burrowers/diggers in terms of their feeding behaviour?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
I remember seeing kukris crop up every now and again decades ago but if I remember correctly they were mainly a drab brown colour? And small.
I dont know much about them other than the common name derives from their teeth.
I've not really seen a close up photo, never seen one in the flesh.
It looks like the one the OP posted has an upturned, or enlarged, rostral scale. I take it these are very much burrowers/diggers in terms of their feeding behaviour?
Yeah sometimes you see the odd specimen come in, usually as filler, these are the drab specimens. They are all quite small, usually no more than about 3 feet or less. There are loads of species out there (there are 14-16 in China alone and around 80 in the genus).

Well observed they do root around and dig, they basically act a fair bit like Hognoses - a lot of them will eat reptile eggs and toads (the latter of which they have been recorded eviscerating with their enlarged teeth and dragging the viscera out to swallow).





Most species are fairly plain but among them are a few really nice ones, here are a couple of images from the internet (not mine) of specimens I like. It's just one of those genera that nobody seems to have much interest in - a hidden gem.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,152 Posts
Awesome snake! Really nice to see something different, I'll definitely be following this thread for updates :2thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The difference between the two is so great they look like different species!
Both are nice but personally I prefer this locality form, based on colour.

O. purpurascens does seem to vary a lot! If you compare Stabitha to the Tioman Island locale, she's got a reverse version of their markings. If you start at the head with the lighter, V-shape/eyebrow markings and work along, what are narrow, yellow bands on a Tioman Island are broad, conjoined, light peachy-beige saddles on Stabitha. What is a wide, red band on a Tioman are round, grey patches on Stabitha. It's like her pattern is 'Motley'-ified.


They can also have some longitudinal stripes and black barring;


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yT96YNIIGM


https://images.app.goo.gl/A2ionQmwhyNRDojf6


Unless these slowly get separated out into different species, but at the moment they're still all O. purpurascens.


She ate again last night :2thumb: all 3 bits of frog leg, but lots of scrambled up egg left over.


The genus as a whole are a bit quirky with food, feeding, teeth, combat and defence mechanisms :gasp: apparently the males evert their hemipenes when threatened.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpFN3ZozBK0
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
She ate again last night, and this time I think she was close to feeling comfortable eating in front of me. Either that or she was extra hungry. I spent an hour or so watching her cruising around above and below the substrate, she drank some water and seemed very interested in the smell of her food but didn't touch it whilst I was watching. They seem like very alert snakes.

She ate every scrap of egg and frog leg overnight, so I think I'll increase the quantity next weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Following how hungry she was last week, and reading about how other Oligodon species have been seen to gut live toads in the wild and pull out organs to eat, I decided to try Stabby out on some frozen/thawed offal.

With how popular raw dog diets are now, I thought I'd easily find chicken hearts and chicken livers in my local Just For Pets store. They have a huge range of frozen raw dog food, but not really what I was looking for. Minced chicken carcass and duck carcass, diced mixed organs, but not really what I was looking for.

In the end, I bought some ox heart and lambs liver from Morrisons and chicken livers and lamb kidneys from Tesco. I figured if she doesn't like them, I could always find some way to use them up in stews or pies.

I cut them into chunks or strips about the width of her head and twice as long. I put a chunk of each into her food bowl along with one mixed up pigeon egg.

She was out basking on top of her slate when I went to put the bowl of egg and offal in. Before she slithered away to hide, I tried offering her the chunk of ox heart from some tongs. I touched her on the lips with it and as soon as she tasted it, she started making pac-man munching motions so I put it in her mouth and she wolfed it down. Considering I'd tried this before with the frog's leg portions and she refused to entertain the idea of eating from tongs, and that she generally disappears as soon as I open her tub, I was impressed. Next I offered her a chunk of lamb kidney, which she was just as enthusiastic about, but she struggled with the size/shape/texture of it. Whilst she was wrestling with it, I saw her big back teeth and they are huge for the size of her head. Eventually she spat it out and retreated under the substrate.

I put the kidney piece back in the bowl and left the bowl in overnight. Next morning she'd eaten all the egg, the chicken liver and lamb liver, but the kidney chunk was out of the bowl and covered in substrate. Something about the rubbery texture of kidney means it needs to be cut up smaller.

So Brown Kukri Snakes have a very strong feeding response for offal. She reminds me of a hognose snake with a diet like a more carnivorous garter snake. I can't wait to finish setting up her exo terra and getting her moved in. It'll be easier to get some better photos, hopefully video some of this behaviour.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Tonight I weighed Stabitha before I put her bowl of dinner in her rub. After just over a month here she has gone up from 155g to 194g.

Getting her out to weigh her was interesting. I've not made any attempts to handle or touch her since I put her into her rub over a month ago. She is surprisingly intelligent for a small snake, with very good spatial awareness and eyesight. She knew where my hands were and I think she would have bitten me if I hadn't used my snake hook, tubs and lids to stop her.

Only other update I can give is about eggs and Biotin, from the African Egg Eating Snake group on Facebook. I can remember reading years ago about how infertile eggs lack Biotin, and feeding a diet of infertile eggs can lead to Biotin deficiency, but the following was new to me. Apparently egg whites contain Avidin, which binds with Biotin, making it unavailable for any potential bacterial growth, but also unavailable to anything digesting the egg. In a fertilised egg, the Avidin slowly degrades to release the Biotin to the developing embryo, but in an infertile egg, this doesn't happen.

I generally use surplus fancy pigeon eggs that are fertile but undeveloped. However anyone else who has to rely on shop bought eggs that are likely to be infertile, could combat this by alternating feeds. One feed, offer scrambled up infertile eggs, next feed, offer chopped frog's legs and offal. Last week I tried Stabitha with an eggless bowl of frogs legs and offal and she still ate it.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
As a bit of an update: Stabitha's bioactive exo terra is nearly ready for her to move into, but I think I'll leave her in her current digs for a while longer. She's eating less and looks suspiciously fatter and rounder in the rear third of her body. I'd love to let her run through my fingers to feel for eggs, but I'm sure I'd get bitten and that she'd rather not be mithered. So I'll leave her be and the plants in her new viv can have more time to become established. Might as well have a pretty vivarium if she's going to burrow out of sight a lot.

And I've found a research paper on the colour dimporphism found in this species. The 'Tioman Island locality' or red phase occurs on more than just Tioman Island by the looks of it. It looks like the 'Mainland' or grey phase is more common, but that you get pockets of red phases too. I wonder if it'll turn out that grey phase is dominant and red phase is recessive? The paper doesn't mention any 'integrade/intermediate' phases at all.

https://www.researchgate.net/public..._purpurascens_SCHLEGEL_1837_REPTILIA_SQUAMATA
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top