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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently purchased a ornate flying snake... loved her so much I ended up getting two more. All females so far. Currently looking into importing a male.
That being said, I would love any input from anyone who has bred these snakes before. I'm from Canada and as far as my research shows no one in Canada is currently breeding them. And there is a HUGE demand. The first one we got the guy selling it had over 100 replies wanting it. In the 24 hours he had his ad up.

I never had any desire to breed my animals before. But the demand is there and these snakes fascinate me. If anyone can give me any pointers or advice I would love to hear it. Still a good long while before it will happen but I would like to gain as much knowledge as possible before going through with it.

I have found a few older threads on hear about them but not enough info about breeding.

Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, just noticed the "Breeding" section which I probably should have posted this in. Sorry, it's early and I still haven't finished my morning tea. My brains not at 100% functioning level yet. lol
 

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Well, I have written extensively on another forum about how I keep my Chrysopelea ornata, so I'm going to be a bit lazy and just do some deft cut-and-pasting... all the info is there hahaha! I have had one of my caresheets half-finished on these for months now, sooner or later I will get round to doing it!

Without further ado:

C. ornata isn't particularly difficult to keep providing you follow some basic guidelines: these snakes can't be kept like a corn snake or king snake in a spartan enclosure with newspaper and a plastic flowerpot... (or maybe they can.. hasn't worked for me!).

The best way forward with active, diurnal snakes like this is to treat them in the same way as you might a chameleon or anole... people once regarded chams as being impossible to keep for more than a few months, yet look where we are now... it's the same with these agile little tree snakes - give them a spacious viv with good air circulation, full spectrum lighting (I use two fluorescents for lighting: a repti-glo 5.0 and a life-glo II bulb - one for the UV, the other to simulate bright sunlight). One of the Arcadia t5s would be a great alternative - I am currently experimenting with this brand with a number of species and so far the results are very positive!

A good basking spot is also required as they love to sit under a spotlight (maybe 30-33C), other areas of the terrarium should be kept cooler though to provide the usual thermal gradient... around 24-28c is sufficient, letting the temps slip to room temperature at night has done mine no harm (my room temps remain at a fairly constant 21-22 C at night).

It is easy to keep these snakes in planted vivs as they are rather light and small, and lights are provided... good species are Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila) as ground cover, and maybe some Ficus benjamina (they don't always seem to do well, though), Schefflera (Umbrella Tree), Spathiphyllum (Peace Liliy) or the ever-useful Pothos.

Of the various Chrysopelea, C. ornata is by far the easiest to get going on rodents, some you have to be patient with, others will take from tongs from the get-go... if these are long-term captive they should already be feeding and therefore that much easier to deal with. Babies will stalk and eat small insects and crickets, I supplement mine with mouse tails until they are large enough to take pinks.

They need to eat regularly as they have a higher metabolism than many snakes, a few pinkies or fuzzies twice a week should be fine for small adult males, the larger females (which can reach a relatively heavy-bodied four or five feet and positively dwarf the pencil-thin males) can handle adult mice, but I prefer to feed smaller prey items (a few fuzzy mice) to lizard or frog eaters to ease digestion.

They stress easily and hate being handled, they are definitely a "look, don't touch" kind of snake, but can be quite active and will move about a lot. One thing, they can be aggressive towards each other, I had one male kill another specimen that was kept with it... John Coburn stated in one of his books that he attempted to keep these with an Ahaetulla, which resulted in the Ahaetulla being envenomated and killed. Although Flying Snakes are venomous I don't believe they are of any medical significance to humans, the litle scratches I've had for bites sometimes itch though. However, recently Tigersnake made me aware of more severe effects he suffered from a large specimen, so caution is definitely advised!

Chrysopela need spraying every so often with warm water, but don't overdo it - I find they don't actually like high humidity, and prefer slightly drier enclosures, with a regular misting for them to drink... compare this to Bronzebacks (Dendrelaphis pictus) which at first glance are very similar (they even share the concave vent and have been reported to "glide" as well), and love to be sprayed with warm water.

For this species, I find glass enclosures best as they permit a thermal gradient easily, are ideal for humid conditions and, if used with a mesh cover, allow sufficient air flow. If a glass enclosure is being used, then it would be best to cover up three of the sides (these snakes can get severe "wanderlust" and can damage those square-shaped noses by continuously trying to get through the glass - they have a habit of fleeing wildly in all directions when startled and can injure themselves this way, smashing into the glass as they do so).

Then again I actually like glass vivs for the reason most people don't like them - because of the heat loss - it makes it easier to provide a hot spot in the viv and allow for a thermal gradient (48" "long" glass tanks are very good for this - a hot spot at one end can keep up a good basking area, and then the temps get progressively cooler at the other end).

This is particularly useful for temperate and European species, but even for many "tropical" forest species (a lot of Asian and African arboreals for example can come from montane forests which can have rather cool microclimates). I would put forward Exoterra style vivs as ideal for this species, the 90cmx45cmx60cm version is absolutely ideal for a small group, or a 45x45x60 for a single animal (escept the largest females).

A wooden viv would probably do just as well but I tend to be instinctively wary of small ones as they tend to have too consistent a temperature and can be hard to provide a decent gradient... with bigger vivs - especially those with good air flow - this isn't so much of a problem of course!

I have limited experience with fibreglass vivs so couldn't comment on their suitability.

A couple of other useful tidbits of information that might be useful:

I provide fairly chunky vertical logs (with bark still on) for mine, these snakes are remarkably well adapted for climbing (I have seen one climbing the bare stucco wall of my lounge) with concave vents that grip vertical surfaces rather well... although they will invariably bask on forks or horizontal branches they do seem to like ascending and descending the vertical logs (that simulate tree trunks). I even adjusted the basking lamp for a time so that it was striking a vertical log, and was rewarded with seeing the snake basking "sideways" on the tree trunk - proof of their agility and tree-climbing skills!

Also, they do like to dig quite a lot (as I mentioned above they have somewhat blunt square-tipped snouts that I have always associated in my mind with digging...) give them a fairly deep substrate to root around in, and make sure there are flat surfaces like bits of bark for them to hide under as some tend to sleep on the ground rather than in the branches.

This species is certainly not a beginner snake, but is far from the hardest species out there... they just require a little more "lateral thinking" than many species - as I said, if you treat them more as arboreal lizards than snakes I think they are likely to do better - people used to think chameleons were next to impossible to keep, yet several species are pet shop staples nowadays.

A quick note on breeding - as with Bronzebacks these species just seem to breed by themselves, although I have considerably more success with the Flying Snakes than with Dendrelaphis - I have had many of the animals of my group since around 2005 (I bought them in bulk from Crystal Palace Reptiles for the price of £25 each!) and have bred them nearly half a dozen times. The eggs are small and the babies miniscule, but they are more vigorous and tougher than newborn Bronzebacks and most will devour small crickets and spiders and, unlike the adults, usually assist-feed on mouse parts quite readily. They grow fast if fed every day this way and soon are capable of taking first live, tiny fish and then f/t pinkies.

Regards,
Francis
 

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Several people who have seen them have commented that a few of the specimens of Chrysopelea ornata I have are very yellow... in old books I have this species is referred to as "Golden Tree Snake" or "Golden Flying Snake" so seemingly at least some populations are yellow-coloured like this the others are bright turquoise with black edges to the scales).













One further note on this species... pray the ones you get are happy to take f/t rodents or some other food source... they have relatively strong jaws and healthy animals can be strong and stubborn about refusing assist-feeding... a real pain in the neck to get them to take food they don't want to...!

Luckily most will take food without too many problems!

Francis
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow those are very yellow! Mine look yellowish under certain light. But are bright green. Gorgeous snakes. That you for your imput. I'll probably bug you a bit more whenever I get into breeding for real!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh, on more question. How many eggs usually laid in a clutch?
Want to weigh the options of profit against potential health risks to my snakes.
 

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Oh, on more question. How many eggs usually laid in a clutch?
Want to weigh the options of profit against potential health risks to my snakes.
Well, this species is actually quite fecund, they tend to multi-clutch on the years they do breed. Off the top of my head I believe clutch range from my female has been between eight and thirteen eggs, but I will have to check my records tonight to make sure. It is also worth noting that she is actually a heck of a lot smaller than the other, gargantuan, female I once had that sadly died,so clutches could potentially be even larger for such big specimens.

As to profit... it is very difficult to make profits keeping and breeding such unusual, "niche" species like this, especially if rear-fanged as is the case here... sure, everybody says "wow! I want one!" but when it comes down to it, you will find the market for specialist snakes like this very small...

You might sell the first few clutches to those eager souls who really do aspire to own some, but after that you will soon find you will be lucky if one in five enquiries results in a sale.

Also, these snakes are not like Corn snakes;they are very labour-intensive to rear, so you shouldn't go in with the idea of making a profit as, quite frankly, you won't.

Regards,
Francis
 
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