Scientific Name: Elaphe mandarina
These are medium sized ratsnakes that at maturity will reach anywhere from 3.5 to 6.5 feet in length. It is reported that males tend to be larger than females. The main color of the Mandarin Ratsnake is light gray. It has beautiful yellow and black markings on its body that make it incredibly stunning to behold. The head of this ratsnake is also quite beautiful with black and yellow lines that appear to form arrowheads and rings near the nose. Young Mandarin ratsnakes are very similar in appearance to adults, the main difference is the increase in intensity and contrasts between colors as the snake ages. The Mandarin Ratsnake is described as relatively non-aggressive. They rarely bite, and while younger snakes are described a bit high-strung, older Mandarin Ratsnakes apparently are a lot calmer.
During the daytime the Mandarin Rat Snake should be kept at temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the evenings drop the temperatures to somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This species also requires a moist hide spot with moist sphagnum moss. They should also have a dry hiding spot. Feed appropriate sized mice and when they get bigger provide pinkey and fuzzy rats. Do not handle for 24 hours after feeding.
Captive bred specimens are increasing. Babies seem to do quite well on pinky mice.
At one time the beautiful Mandarin Ratsnake was incredibly rare in captivity. Today this stunning snake is becoming more common among hobbyists.
Native to Southeastern Asia, the Mandarin Ratsnake is truly one of the most beautiful species of Ratsnake in the world. Because Mandarin Ratsnakes can be difficult to keep and are relatively rare in captivity they can be rather expensive. Wild-caught Mandarin Ratsnakes are notoriously difficult to maintain in captivity. The Mandarin Ratsnake is very susceptible to disease when it is stressed. This combined with the fact that they are easy to stress, particularly after capture, contributes greatly to their high mortality rate when these snakes are imported from the wild. The average imported specimen usually only lives a couple of months. Luckily, captive breeding programs are increasing, so finding captively bred specimens is getting easier. It is strongly recommended that anyone interested in these snakes try to find a captively bred specimen. Specimens bred in captivity are said to be hardy and relatively easy to take care of. In the wild these snakes are largely nocturnal, meaning they are mostly active at night.
The Mandarin Ratsnake originates in the forested areas and mountain regions of Southeastern Asia. It is most commonly seen in Vietnam, Southern China, and Northern Burma.