Image Credit : Crystal Palace Reptiles
Blanding’s tree snake or Blanding’s cat snake, is a species of rear-fanged venomous snake of the family Colubridae. Typical of Toxicodryas is the big oval head with big eyes.
The basic color in the young is light brown to rusty red with darker red to brown large oval spots. In the females eventually the color changes to light gray-brown with darker brown saddle patches, so that they are well camouflaged in the branches. The males turn black.
- Scientific name : Toxicodryas blandingii
- Distribution : Sub-Saharan Africa
- Average Size : 1.8 m (5.9 ft)
- Life Span : 15 years or more
- Difficulty : Intermediate
A terrarium with a minimum size of 0.9 x 0.6 x 0.9 meters (3 x 2 x 3 feet) for each individual is recommended but ideally you should house your individual snakes in an enclosure of 1.2 x 0.6 x 0.9 meters (4 x 2 x 3 feet). Keeping Toxicodryas blandingii in pairs always has the risk for cannibalism so it’s recommended to keep them only in pairs in case you will breed them during breeding season only, although I am personally keeping them in pairs throughout the year in large enclosures without any issues. They like climbing so some steady branches should be mounted in the enclosure along with either real or fake foliage to give a more naturalistic approach in your enclosure.
They usually don’t really hide but at least give them the possibility to do it. With a hollow piece of wood or something like that on both ends of the enclosure in order for your Toxicodryas blandingii to thermoregulate and feel safe while doing it.
As bedding, reptibark or other natural looking bedding can be used. I never tried a bio-active system but that would be an option too. You should always provide a substrate of 0.05-0.1 meters (0.15-0.3 feet) depth.
Lighting – Heating
It’s a recommended to add in the enclosure full spectrum fluorescent tubes on timers that work on a 12 hours on and off cycle.
It depends on the size of the cage but never put the heat source in the middle, because that means both left and right will be the same temperature. Put the light bulb on the left or the right in order to create a thermoregulating environment. Depending on the height of the cage a 70W heat bulb should be enough. Just one hot spot will be enough to provide the required heat of 35 °C (95 °F). The ambient temperature of the enclosure should be 24-26 °C (75-79 °F). During winter the nights get automatically colder. I don’t let it drop under 17-18 °C (63-65 °F).
It is important to give them the availability to drink fresh water, so a water bowl is necessary. You can also give them water via a spray system or a normal plant sprayer.
You should always monitor your humidity. 60-70% humidity would work just fine with Toxicodryas blandingii.
Of course what you feed is depending on their size. Newborn animals have no problem to eat pinkies directly and adults will take rats, mice and chicks once a week. For adult animals I recommend to feed them once every 10 or 14 days depending on the size of food you give them.
Usually this species is quite defensive and not really easy to handle so try to keep handling to minimum (health checks and cage cleaning). They widely open their mouth and then can strike very far. Also don’t underestimate their venom, it is known to be quite potent.
You should spot clean any feces as soon as you see any in the enclosure. The bedding can be changed once or twice a year depending how dirty it is and also depending on your animal size. But with two adults together it will soon be quite dirty so make sure to keep it clean.
Their shedding is normal like all other snakes. Newborn baby’s will shed after 10 days or so. It’s always recommended to raise the humidity level during shedding periods. A good measure to know that your humidity is on the correct level is when your snake has a complete, perfect shed.
Potential Health Problems
No specific potential health problems to mention for this species beyond those affecting reptiles and/or snakes in general. They seem to be a relatively hardy animal when kept properly.
The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.