Sunday, June 12, 2011
Prairie Ringneck Snake
These snakes are secretive and nocturnal. You are unlikely to see one out during the day without actually looking for them under logs, rocks, or other things they can hide under. These snakes are somewhat social and occasionally will be found in large aggregations of up to 100 snakes. I commonly see as many 4 or 5 together under one rock.
Females are generally larger than males and they reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 or 5. Mating usually takes place in the spring when the female will release a pheromone from her skin that attracts nearby males. The male will rub the female with his closed mouth, and move in such a way as to line up their bodies, he then bites the female around the neck to anchor her. After mating, the female will lay up to 10 eggs; the young hatch sometime during August or September. Although occasionally mating takes place in the fall, and the female will delay fertilization until the following spring. When the young hatch they are approximately 3 to 4 inches long and will be completely on their own to fend for themselves. These snakes live approximately 10 years in the wild, but are capable of living up to 20 years in the wild. They are becoming increasingly popular in the pet trade because of their mild nature and beautiful coloration although, in my opinion they do not do well in captivity, and may only live up to 5 years. Because of their secretive nature, they are not very exciting animals to keep anyway. They will bury themselves in the containers substrate or hide out under stones or any other hide you provide for them and only come out during feeding time.
Very little is actually known about this snake, and much research still needs to be done to fully understand their lifecyle. I smell a research project!