Equipment for a Vietnamese Blue Beauty
Vivarium: Vivarium AX48
Lighting: Lights for viewing only two Komodo ceramic fittings, one PT-2131 Neodymium spot bulb 40w + Bulb Guard
Heating: PT-2047 Ceramic Heat Emitter 150watt and ceramic guard. Pulse Habistat pulse proportional Thermostat.
Substrate: Orchid bark or Moss Aspen or Beach Chippings.
Décor: PT-2804 X-large water Dish, PT-3040 – PT3052 mix of 4 - 6+ plants, Vines 4 PT-3082 they need plenty of vines and branches to climb. BarkCave large.
Distribution: Blue Beauties are colubrids native to the Vietnam-Thailand-Burma areas of Southeast Asia, from heavy forests to cultivated fields and mountainous areas.
Size: These are some of the longest rat snakes at typical lengths of 7 to 8 feet.
Lifespan: From 15 to 20 years.
Scientific name: Orthriophis taeniurus callicyanous
Description: These are stunning snakes, long and slender with a blue-grey base colour offset with cream and darker blue markings in 4 different patterns that change as you move down the body. Black orbital stripes accentuate the eyes while the chin and underside remain a creamy white to yellow. Just after the head is a length of solid blue-grey before it changes to a diamond/ladder pattern of darker blue and cream along the back. Further down the pattern stretches into more vertical cream stripes which change yet again just after the vent into much darker smooth horizontal cream stripes along a much darker blue background.
Hatchlings are much more olive green in colour and grow bluer as they get older.
Behaviour: Blue Beauties have a reputation for being nervous snakes, but with regular handling they can be very docile and charming pets. They are diurnal and largely active during the day.
Difficulty Rating: Not a beginners snake as they can be aggressive.
Enclosure: The minimum enclosure size for an adult Blue Beauty is a tall vivarium 48” x 24” x 24” (LxWxH). The snake will appreciate as much room to explore as you can give it so long as there are places to hide, climb, and lounge. A young snake or juvenile will need more hides for larger enclosures to reduce stress, but the smallest you should use for a hatchling should be 20L. Keep only one snake per enclosure as they have been known to take snakes as part of their diet.
Substrate: Aspen is as good substrate as they love to burrow through it. I use dried bamboo leaves as it looks more natural for my natural vivarium. Newspaper and the like is nice and easy to clean but not as aesthetic. Coconut husk based substrates, Beech chips, are decorative substrates that are ideal for Blue Beauties. Cedar is deadly to reptiles, do not use Cedar bedding! Gravel, sand, mulch, and corn cob are not recommended for these snakes.
Temps: The ideal temperatures for Blue Beauties are 72-80 degrees. They do not seem bothered by temperature fluctuation but do not go bellow 70 F or above 85 F they go off their food and appear stressed above 85 F. One of my Blue Beauties goes off her food if it goes above 78 F.
Humidity/Water: Humidity does not appear to be a factor with Blue Beauties, Though adults like to soak in a water dish that is large enough for the snake to soak but not large enough for them to submerge their whole length at once. For my adults I use ceramic dog dishes.
So far there have not been any shedding problems. Do not use distilled or chlorinated water! Chlorine is dangerous to reptiles, and the distillation process removes all of the natural nutrients from water that animals need. If your tap water is chlorinated either use a de chlorinater obtainable from good reptile or aquatic shops, or let the water stand for 24 hours before use.
Furniture etc: Blue Beauties love to bask in high places such as on top of their hides or on ledges and cruise along branches over and under… The more you give them to climb, the more active they will be. Like all snakes, they do need at least one hide preferably elongated like cardboard tubes.
Feeding: Hatchlings and juveniles - 1 or 2 pink/ fuzzy mice to 1 or 2 pink/fuzzy rats every 7 days; Adults - 1 or 2 medium rats or 2 small rats every 7 days. I feed mine frozen/thawed. Like most snakes, judge based off the roundest part of the body. Your Beauty will typically sleep off their food for a day or two after. Do not handle your snake for about 3 days after feeding to avoid risk of regurgitation, this goes for any snake.
Choosing to feed in a separate container or in the enclosure is up to you. I’ve found that it depends on the snake. Some are more comfortable eating in the enclosure and being moved only stresses them, and others don’t care what you do so long as there is a rat in front of them. I tend to hide their food among the branches and make them hunt for it. It all depends on what works best for you and your snake.
Handling: These snakes need regular handling to stay tame, and like many colubrids are very fast active curious snakes.
Acclimation: New arrivals need at least a week or sometimes even two of just settling in, getting used to the new enclosure and routine, before they get handled. Just to get them off to a good start.
If they are newly imported wild snakes they will probably be dehydrated and full of worms and parasites.
To re-hydrate a snake put it in a large enough plastic container with a lid and some holes in the lid for air transference. Add ½" Luke warm water and half a can of a bottle of sports drink de-gassed or some critical care powder. Let the snake soak for half an hour. This allows the snake to drink and the skin to absorb some moisture and the sports drink adds essential salts EDTA and minerals that have been lost. Do this daily until the snake is fully re hydrated, usually 4-5 days.
Take too a reptile vet for worms and parasites.