Lystrophis pulcher care

Lystrophis pulcher terrarium

Even though these snakes have a similar body shape to that of the Heterodon species, the Lystrophis pulcherspecies is not as adaptable and is therefore not a beginner species.

When selecting a cage for your Lystrophis pulcher it is best to look for an enclosure thatwill hold humidity well. Especially youngLystrophis pulcher can dry out quickly and will require a higher humidity. Also make sure the cage will hold a deep layer of substrate. These snakes need to be able to bury themselves to thrive, denying this to them will result in an unhappy, stressed snake.

Because these snakes do not get very big, a tank of about 70x40x40cm will house a single adult without any problems. Provide a deep layer (5+ cm) of substrate. It is best to use a substrate that holds moisture well but that is mold resistant. Coconut based substrates are best in our experience, although other substrates can be used with equal success.

A water dish is also required. Use a dish with a large surface area to help keep humidity up. Also keep an eye on your snake to make sure it recognizes standing water. There are known cases of Lystrophis not recognizing standing water and they will only drink during misting or from a drip system, most however will manage fine with a water bowl. A hide may also be provided, but if the substrate meets the above mentioned requirements it will probably not be used.

Because of the snakes burying and secretive nature we provide heat through under tank heat mats. This allows the snakes to thermoregulate without having to come out of the substrate. Providing a hot spot of around 28 to 29°C during the day with the cool end around room temperature should work fine. At night you can have the heating turn off or provide a hotspot that is a few degrees lower. Having lighting in the enclosure is not required for the snake. It can however make your enclosure more pleasurable to look at, so it is depending on the owners tastes. The Lystophis species of snake are most active during dawn and dusk and will come out of the substrate to look around the enclosure at these times. For most of the day however, they will remain hidden.

Feeding these snakes can be tricky. First thing to consider is the frequency. Baby Lystrophis pulcher can be fed every 5 days or so. They have a quick metabolism and grow quickly. Not feeding enough will stun growth and can have negative effects in the long run. Be careful not to overfeed as it can have disastrous results as well. Adults can be fed on a weekly basis.

Once feeding on rodents these snakes are not too much trouble. Young Lystrophis pulcher can however be picky, especially wild caught specimens. These animals can be tricked into eating rodents by scenting these with lizard, toad, salmon or tuna. They will often accept pieces of fish as food but the nutritional value is too low to be the main food source. Once these snakes accept scented rodents, just lower the amount of scent used until the animal is feeding on (dead) rodents on a regular basis. Baby Lystrophis pulcher are very small, sometimes even to small to eat pinkies whole. In this case you can try to feed pinky heads or mouse tails until the snake is large enough to eat whole pinkies.

When feeding properly, these snakes grow quickly and will reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age.

The Lystrophis pulcher like to use the substrate to hide and make their own burrows, so we recommend an appropriate substrate to their needs.

Wood chips - Substrate Western hognoses

Wood chips

Recycled paper chips - Substrate Western hognoses

Recycled paper chips

Sawdust - Substrate Western hognoses


Coir - Substrate Western hognoses


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