False water cobras are an impressive and striking species of nonvenomous snake that are commonly kept as captive pets. Although they are not as well-known as some of the other snake species, they are particularly popular due to their unique appearance and relatively manageable care requirements.
False water cobras are relatively large snakes, reaching up to 7ft in length when fully grown. Therefore, it's essential to provide them with an adequate and suitable enclosure. A minimum enclosure size of 6ft x 2ft x 2ft is recommended. False water cobras are semi-aquatic, so it's important to provide them with a large water dish or even a small pond in their enclosure. The enclosure should have a temperature gradient with basking spots between 85-90°F and cooler areas between 75-80°F. It's also essential to maintain humidity levels between 50-70%.
As with all captive reptiles, a balanced and nutritious diet is vital to maintain the health and wellbeing of false water cobras. They are carnivorous and primarily feed on rodents, such as mice and rats. Young false water cobras should be fed once a week, while adults can be fed every two weeks. Ensure that the prey is appropriately sized, as feeding them prey that is too large can cause health problems.
While false water cobras are generally known to be less aggressive than other snake species, they are still a large and powerful snake that requires careful handling. It's essential to handle them confidently and securely to avoid causing any harm to the snake or yourself. Start by handling the snake for short periods, gradually increasing the length of handling sessions as the snake becomes more accustomed to it.
Maintaining the cleanliness of the enclosure and drinking water is crucial in keeping the false water cobra healthy. Spot cleaning should be done regularly, while a complete enclosure cleaning should be done every four weeks. Ensure that any water in the enclosure is changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth. Also, always provide fresh drinking water to the snake.
In conclusion, false water cobras are fascinating and rewarding pets to keep in captivity. By providing them with a suitable enclosure, a nutritious diet, appropriate handling, and regular maintenance, you can create a healthy and comfortable environment for your pet snake. As with any exotic pet, make sure to conduct thorough research before acquiring one and always seek advice from a qualified vet or experienced reptile keeper if you have any concerns.