You are hereUnicolor Cribo, Drymarchon melenurus unicolor

Unicolor Cribo, Drymarchon melenurus unicolor

black tail unicolor criboIntroduction Unicolor Cribos are a large, robust colubrid native mostly to Central America. They commonly reach sizes of 6 - 8 feet. Primarily a diurnal species, this is an extremely active and inquisitive species with an aggressive feeding response. Prey is actively pursued and subdued by brute strength. To overpower their prey, Cribos will normally pin their prey against a corner or something solid and crush it to death. They also have very powerful jaws. Prey consists mostly of rodents and birds, however fish and lizards will normally be accepted as well.

Acclimation and Quarantine Cribos are normally not difficult to acclimate. The vast majority of them are still wild caught, and because of the incorporation of lizards and frogs into their diet, they are likely to have a heavy parasite load. Wild caught snakes should therefore be treated for parasites as soon as possible after purchase.

Fresh imports may be dehydrated. Allow the snake to lie in a secure container with lukewarm water. This should be done as soon as the snake is home. This method is very effective as the snake will often drink during this time. A large water dish should be present in the cage at all times.

Quarantine or acclimation enclosures need not be elaborate, but rather sterile and easy to clean. Plastic storage bins are often used for such enclosures as they are easy to clean, come in a variety of sizes, and most provide the security needed for a freshly imported snake. Paper towels, newspapers, or other easily cleaned materials may be used as the substrate. A few cork rounds should be provided for additional security. A ceramic crock sould be used as the water bowl as these are strong, heavy bodied snakes and are likely to tip over anything plastic. This setup should be used until the snake is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing Once the snake is acclimated and feeding well it may be put into a permanent cage. Neonates and juveniles can be kept in 10-30 gallon tanks. Vertical space is not a necessity as these snakes are mostly terrestrial. A cage that is about 48x18x20(LxWxH)is an acceptable size cage for an individual or pair. Glass enclosures can be used as well as wooden cages. By far, the best cages are those made of polyethylene or controlled density PVC as they are not as heavy as glass and are not damaged by humidity.

Furnishing the enclosure is of personal preference. Branches can be used in the furnishing of the enclosure, however the snake will stay on the bottom most of the time. Hide boxes should be placed on each end of the cage to provide the snake with a sense of security as they thermoregulate. Large amounts of foliage should be added to the cage to provide the snake with more places to hide. For substrate, aspen, soil, mulch, ground coconut, and sphagnum moss are all acceptable as these will help to retain the proper humidity levels the snake needs to thrive.

Heating and Lighting Cribos should receive 12-14 hours of light. Light can be provided via incandescent light which will also provide heat, or florescent light, which will provide little to no heat. Be sure to provide a thermal gradient in the cage, so that the snake may choose the area of the cage where it is most comfortable. The warmest extreme of the cage should be between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The basking spot may reach 95 degrees. The cooler side of the cage should be between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is extremely important that the snake is provided with this thermal gradient so they can escape the heat, if it is not provided, the snake may suffer from heat exhaustion and possibly die. At night there should be a slight drop in temperature of about ten degrees. A ceramic heat emitter or an under tank heater are good ways to provide heat at night and during the day because it does not produce light but rather emits a radiant heat.

Humidity Humidity should be maintained between 40% and 60%. Short periods above or below these levels are well tolerated.

Feeding Feeding is straight forward. Rodents of an appropriate size should make up most of the diet. Cribos will also greedily except small chicks and quail and can be offered periodically. The size of the prey item should be relative to that of the snake you are feeding. You should feed hatchlings frequently to ensure rapid growth. A pinky or two twice a week is a good regimen. For adults 1 or 2 small to medium rats once a week will suffice. We recommend feeding be done in an enclosure other than what the snake lives in. By doing this you reduce the likely hood of an aggressive feeding response when you open it's cage. The feeding container can be bear bottom to ensure that the snake only swallows it's food and not any bedding which can lead to a mouth infection or an impaction in the stomach. Most wild caught Cribos readily acclimate to captivity and will start feeding with little effort on behalf of the keeper, however there are always exceptions. If you happen to get an exception you can try the following to get it to feed. To entice a reluctant animal to feed we recommend placing the animal in a restricted container such as a deli dish in order to keep the food and it's scent in close proximity to the snake and leave it alone for about 24 hours. As mentioned above, chicks and quail are relished by these snakes and if your specimen refuses to feed on rodent prey, perhaps you should change the menu. If this does not work you can also try a more grisly method in which the skull cap of a frozen thawed prey item is cut open exposing the brain matter and juices. This works with surprising results and most problem feeders cannot resist the smell of brains.

Water A dish of fresh water should always be available.