Beauty rat snake

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beauty rat snake
Beautysnake.jpg
Taiwan beauty rat snake
(Orthriophis taeniura friesei)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Orthriophis
Species: O. taeniurus
Binomial name
Orthriophis taeniurus
(Cope, 1861)
Synonyms

The beauty rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus), also known as the beauty ratsnake, the beauty snake, or the cave racer, is a species of long, slender, semi-arboreal snake that is native to East and Southeast Asia. Several subspecies are recognized. Their average total length (including tail) is about 5–7 feet (1.5–2.1 m), with an unofficial record of slightly under 10 ft (3.0 m). In captivity some calm down to be nice pets, but others have been known to be quite temperamental even many years after capture.

Coloration[edit]

The ground color of O. taeniurus is yellowish-brown to olive. The dorsal surface of the head and neck is unicolor. The markings on the back almost always consist of two pairs of black rounded spots, which join together. From each eye there is a dark stripe, which extends to the corners of the mouth. The upper labials are yellowish-white.

Breeding[edit]

The temperature for hibernation is around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). Mating usually results about a month after hibernation period. Hatchlings are about 30–45 cm (11 3417 34 in) in length and shed after about 14 days. Following shedding, pinkie mice should be fed immediately. They grow quickly and attain a length of 135 cm (4 ft 5 in) after only 14 months. They are capable of reproduction after only 18 months.[1]

Subspecies[edit]

Subspecies of this species include:[1]

  • Chinese beauty rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus taeniurus) - Native to China.
  • Cave-dwelling rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus ridleyi) - This snake is native to Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, and as the name implies, often lives deep within caves where its diet consists mainly of bats. They have a yellow to beige background color that darkens to a grey-black towards the tail. A white to cream mid-dorsal stripe starts about half of the way down the body and continues to the tip of tail. Both sides of the head are marked just behind the eye with a black stripe surrounded by blue.
  • Mocquard's beauty rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus mocquardi) - Native to southeastern China and northern Vietnam, as well as the island of Hainan.
  • Taiwan beauty rat snake (Orthriophis taeniurus friesei) - Native to Taiwan.
  • Vietnamese blue beauty (Orthriophis taeniurus callicyanous) - Native to Vietnam; frequently exported for the pet trade.
  • Orthriophis taeniurus grabowskyi - Native to Sumatra and the provinces of East Malaysia and Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.
  • Orthriophis taeniurus schmackeri - Native to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.
  • Orthriophis taeniurus yunnanensis - Native to China, India, Laos, Myanmar, eastern Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Orthriophis taeniurus ssp. - Native to Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.

In Popular Culture[edit]

The 1988 Hong Kong film Thunder of Gigantic Serpent features a member of this species as Mozler, the titular monster.[2] Much like the real life counterpart, Mozler is kept as a calm pet throughout much of the movie.

Use[edit]

The beauty rat snake is an important species in the snake skin and live snake trade in China.[3]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Orthriophis taeniurus at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database
  2. ^ Internet Movie Database, Retrieved May 10, 2012 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399762/
  3. ^ Zhou, Z.; Jiang, Z. (2004). "International trade status and crisis for snake species in China". Conservation Biology 18 (5): 1386–1394. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00251.x.  edit

Further reading[edit]

  • Cope, E.D. 1861. Catalogue of the Colubridæ in the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Part 3. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 12 [1860]: 553-566. (Elaphe tæniurus, new species, pp. 565-566).

External links[edit]