Siberian rat snakes reproducing in the Netherlands


This is a Siberian rat snake video, recorded in the Paris zoo in France.

Its French name is Couleuvre de l’Amour. In which ‘Amour’ does not stand for love, but for the Amur border river between China and Russia.

Nevertheless, it has a reputation of having a ‘gentle temperament’ among terrarium keepers.

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

16 February 2016 – In the mid 1990s an unknown number of Russian rat snakes [or: Siberian rat snakes] was released in Eelde (Drenthe province). Today, the species still lives in Eelde, and there are several reports from outside Eelde. The population seems to survive and to reproduce successfully.

Population in Eelde

Most sightings of the Russian rat snake in Eelde and around it are of adults, but regularly subadult animals are also observed. These data are a strong indication that successful reproduction happens. However, until 2014, there was no hard evidence.

To better understand the reproductive biology of these exotic animals RAVON has conducted research in the fall of 2014 and 2015. Various compost heaps, in which snake eggs may hatch, were examined for the presence of egg shells. Thereby have been found both clutches of Russian rat snakes and grass snakes. A total of 286 eggs of Russian rat snakes have been found. The particularly high hatching rate calculated was striking.

A comprehensive English language article containing all the research results will be published in a scientific journal in the course of 2016.

See also here.

Feral Pacific gopher snakes from North America in western Dutch sand dunes: here.

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