Herper.com Blog
Colubrids

Keeping Egg-eating Snakes

Dasypeltis is one of two known colubrid genera that eat only eggs (the Indian Elachistodon being the other.) I have never kept this species, but found the article below in the excellent publication Advances in Herpetoculture. This snake is occasionally imported, and not particularly expensive when it is. Make certain you can identify the snake, however, as I once saw a guy try to sell a montpellier snake (Malpolon) as an egg-eater.

The author suggests keeping these snakes (D. scabra in particular) in a fashion similar to other small colubrids. He maintained them on pine shavings (I personally would recommend an aspen or newspaper substrate, as I don't trust the oils in pine) in a 38 L aquarium with a screen top. He included a hide box and water bowl. Temps were 28-30° C in the day, dropping to 25° at night. Photoperiod was about 14 hours light, 10 hours dark (set by a timer).

He fed the snakes, recent imports, quail eggs. After acclimation, they would take about six or seven eggs at a time. Eggs were left in for at least 2 nights before discarding. Hatchlings were fed finch eggs.

For a discussion on breeding these snakes, please read this article. The author brings up some interesting points in other areas, like sperm storage, how the snake is adapted to an egg-eating lifestyle, and its possible mimicry of vipers.

The author does point out that this snake will breed year-round with little problem, so combined with its fascinating diet (assuming you can get quail eggs year round), it may be possible to see more of this snake in the future of herpetoculture.

Citation:

Jones, Z.S. 1996. Captive maintenance and breeding of rhombic egg-eating snakes (Dasypeltis scabra). Advances in Herpetoculture. ed. by Strimple, P.D. International Herpetological Symposium, Inc. Special Publication No. 1