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Stink Snake, King Ratsnake or Stinking Goddess Elaphe carinata
By Tom Halvorsen
Elaphe carinata is also known by several common names, King Ratsnake, because of it's cannibalistic habits. The Keeled ratsnake, due to the fact that it has heavily keeled scales, which give it a real rough feel when being handled. The most popular of it's common names is The Stinking Goddess, because of it's highly developed post-anal glands that it readily likes to empty when being handled, and yes this musky substance stinks.
Apart from it's rough feel & stinky habits this is one awesome snake. A large heavily bodied constrictor it has the most striking black & yellow pattern. A tear drop shaped pupil sets this apart from any elaphe sp., and gives the snake a some what oriental appearance, quiet fitting really as it originates from China, North Vietnam & Taiwan.
A large vivarium is needed with a loose deep substrate as these snakes like to "dig". It is recommended that specimens be housed singularly because of there cannibalistic tendencies, and in the breeding season when they are paired it is advised to watch them carefully as females have been known to eat there intended partner. We have also heard of females eating there own eggs after laying them, although it wasn't known whether these were fertile eggs or not.
Not a species for the unexperienced but certainly a challenging and rewarding snake for the Ratsnake enthusiast.
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