The OTHER Diamondbacks!

pitbulllady

Arachnoking
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No, not the Rattlesnakes....OR the professional Major Leage baseball team from AZ, but these guys, Nerodia rhombifer, aka Diamondback Water Snakes:





I picked up this captive-bred '08 pair from a seller in TX on Faunaclassifieds, and they arrived via FedX today. They are still a bit scared and flighty, which is understandable considering they just went half-way across the country in a cloth bag inside a box, but if they follow the typical Water Snake pattern, they will quickly settle down. The male tagged me once, then seemed rather puzzled that this didn't get the expected reaction, and the female musked me pretty good, but I've handled them both since without either getting bitten or skunked. They are between 2 1/2 and 3 feet right now, with the female being slightly chunkier, which is normal. The male has a really nice green tone to him. They are rather odd-looking snakes, like the Brown Water Snakes(N. taxispilota), with those red, somewhat bulgy eyes and funny-shaped heads, very different from Bandeds and Northerns and Red-Bellies. I would love to have at least a pair of every species of North American Water Snake that's legal to own, and this isn't a species that is often seen for sale, especially not here on the East coast.

pitbulllady
 

insect714

Arachnoknight
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:clap: Good looking snakes, looks a lot like a water snake I found in Oklahoma a few weeks back but was hard to see any pattern as it was in pre-shed mode and very very drab in color even with our lights on it at night.
 

Terry D

Arachnodemon
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PBL, Nice! IME, some indivs of this sp get friendly in captivity- at least two adults I've found have. The rest've stayed there ususal monstrous selves. {D Thx for sharin'. Terry.
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
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I like to catch these when I go to east Tx, never tried to house them though. I would go under a hwy underpass with waders at night and spot-light them, haven't done that in a while, find all kinds of things, esp. when the ponds are drying up. I have taken them to people that think they are cottonmouths, which is almost everybody!. I've seen some really big thick ones. Maybe you will get people to catch on by showing them "they work", my fav is the broad-banded. Tempted to get into herps again, I'm almost all inverts, you're kind of motivating me to get a broad-banded. I used to have one, bowl of water, throw a fish in, a branch, it worked out really well.
 

Terry D

Arachnodemon
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I've found most Nerodia to be quite the scavengers. I had a yellow-bellied swallow a piece of cutbait from my hand while bank-fishing from a shady point near Cotton Pocket on Cross Lake in Shreveport.

As captives- I've never kept them for long- usually a few weeks to observe before releasing...........and yeah, being skunked is not much fun :barf:X5
 

insect714

Arachnoknight
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Is the ability to "skunk" with this snake similar to that of a Garter Snake? Because in my history with Garter Snakes they tend to lose the ability once they are no longer on their wild diets. In the Northwest slugs are the diet item that give the Garters the ability to smell so foul.
 

pitbulllady

Arachnoking
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Is the ability to "skunk" with this snake similar to that of a Garter Snake? Because in my history with Garter Snakes they tend to lose the ability once they are no longer on their wild diets. In the Northwest slugs are the diet item that give the Garters the ability to smell so foul.
ALL snakes have musk glands and the ability to use them, and quite honestly, I have found that the Water and Garter Snakes(which are closely related, by the way, and have actually been known to interbreed)pale in comparison to any of the Elaphe/Pantherophis group of snakes, including Corns, when it comes to sheer STINK. But yes, the diet of these snakes DOES have an affect on the odor of both their poop and musk. I try to get my Water Snakes to eat scented rodents at least part of the time, which reduces odor and poop volume, and I've also found that most simply become so tame so quickly that they don't bother with musking at all. The same goes for biting, IF they even try to bite at all. The female Diamondback musked when I first took her out of the bag, but I've handled her a couple of times since and she hasn't tried to musk again or bite and was actually quite calm when I held her last night. The male musked AND bit last night the second time I held him, but then he seemed to realize that neither plan was working because I was still holding him, so he just sat and chilled. The third time I picked him up he was a bit flighty at first, but didn't musk or bite. 99% of the Water Snakes I've got have never, ever so much as attempted to bite me unless it was a feeding response(if you've seen these guys eat, they put Retics to shame). I've never seen one that I'd describe as "monstrous" in terms of disposition at all, and I've had plenty that were "monstrous" in size, though. Even the worst of them has not been as bad as the typical wild-caught Corn or Rat Snake and are nothing compared to many of the cb Ball Pythons I've dealt with!

pitbulllady
 

kevin91172

Arachnobaron
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Very nice.We have a lot of those around my parts.Sadly a lot of them get killed,because of uneducated people.

" I killed one of those gosh darn water mossicans":rolleyes:
 

Terry D

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Is the ability to "skunk" with this snake similar to that of a Garter Snake? Because in my history with Garter Snakes they tend to lose the ability once they are no longer on their wild diets. In the Northwest slugs are the diet item that give the Garters the ability to smell so foul.
Yep, and another term for it that I've frequently heard over the years is "cloacal popping". Garters/ribbonsnakes not nearly as bad, though.

Interesting note on diet change leading to a halt in this. :)
 

pitbulllady

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Very nice.We have a lot of those around my parts.Sadly a lot of them get killed,because of uneducated people.

" I killed one of those gosh darn water mossicans":rolleyes:
That happens a LOT around here; people kill these snakes and think they've killed a "Water Mocassin" or "Red-Bellied Mocassin". Even at the Pee Dee Deer Classic last August, when I took one of my Bandeds to present to Steve Scruggs of "Let's Get Wild" Snake Education presentations to replace his old Banded that finally croaked, and brought along my male Red-Belly and the Super-Hypo male Banded I've got, and was standing right next to Steve's HUGE Cottonmouths in their cage, people STILL asked me if the snakes I was HOLDING were "Water Mocassins"! As IF I'd be standing there free-handling two venomous snakes in a crowded public place(one little boy, who must have been all of six, pointed out this observation to his mom, who thought I was holding "Cottonmouths") to begin with, and THEN having two very real Cottonmouths right beside us in a cage clearly labled "WATER MOCASSINS OR COTTONMOUTHS" wasn't enough! It's really hard not to notice Steve's two Cottons, since you can't accuse the man of not feeding his snakes; those things look like spare tires!
It was pretty funny what he told one guy, though, after the guy looked at the Water Snakes and then looked at the Cottons, and said, "Well, I STILL can't see any difference". Steve looked him straight in the eye and said, "And you DROVE here with that vision problem? With your KIDS in the car with you??? Please, sir, let me know when you're ready to drive home, so I can be sure I'm not on the road at the same time!"

pitbulllady
 

ZephAmp

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In the Northwest slugs are the diet item that give the Garters the ability to smell so foul.
I must disagree.
I did an 8-month study on eastern garter migration routes and during that time I was musked, bitten, and puked on by numerous garters, many of which were chocked to the brim with earthworms. The smell was still horrible even though they had a different diet. Thankfully I got used to the smell after having it spewed all over me week after week. :p
 

P.jasonius

Arachnobaron
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Nov 19, 2006
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Great lookin snakes! Their heads make me laugh inside. I've caught so many that bit and skunked me over the years that I didn't really have an interest in keepin 'em, but now that I do have one that's tamed down, I'm kind of sad I didn't start sooner. There's some decent morphs out there, for those into that sort of thing, for real cheap.

It's both a shame (htf) and a good thing (ie price) that these guys are so over-looked as pets. Once we get our animal room renovated I might get a couple more species of these!
 

LeilaNami

Arachnoking
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I've found most Nerodia to be quite the scavengers. I had a yellow-bellied swallow a piece of cutbait from my hand while bank-fishing from a shady point near Cotton Pocket on Cross Lake in Shreveport.

As captives- I've never kept them for long- usually a few weeks to observe before releasing...........and yeah, being skunked is not much fun :barf:X5
That's how we got ours. He ate minnows and frogs from our hands while we were sitting on the bank of a drying creek. He crawled into a container after that. :rolleyes: {D
 
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