Cave racer, Orthriophis taeniurus ridleyi

Origin: Thailand

Size: 4-8 feet

Lifespan: 15-25 years

Basking Temperature: 82-83 degrees. 84 maximum. 10-12 hours per day preferable

Cool End Temperature: 76-79 degrees

Humidity: 70-80%

Substrate: Coco chip, coco husk, or cypress.

Baby enclosure size: 30″ x 12″ x 12″

Adult enclosure size: 4’ x 3’ x 2’

Difficulty: Novice-Intermediate

Cave racers (aka: Cave dwelling rat snakes) are a subspecies of beauty snake, and are large, slender, active colubrids. Their smooth, transitional pattern and sharp colors make them iconic animals. Colors vary from cool blue to warm orange. With regular handling, they can be quite docile and are generally more handleable than Vietnamese blue beauties. Unsocialized individuals may be defensive. Due to their size and activity, we consider them an an intermediate species, but may be appropriate for some novices.

This guide is a brief overview of basic care and minimum husbandry requirements and is not intended as a comprehensive guide to care. Our best advice:

Read, read, read! Studying about your new pet is the key to a long and happy life for them, and years of enjoyment for you.


Enclosures must be long enough for the snake to stretch out fully and exercise. Cave racers should be given vines and foliage to climb. Upgrade your snake’s enclosure any time they are no longer able to stretch out. Avoid glass aquariums with screen lids as they do not hold sufficient humidity. Provide multiple hiding places. Cave racers can be kept in bioactive enclosures.


Coco chip, coco husk, and cypress make excellent and great looking substrates for blue beauties’ enclosures and help retain humidity.


A common misconception is that as animals from southern Asia, they require high heat. As their common name would imply, these animals are extreme shade dwellers who avoid sun and hot areas. A basking spot can be provided at one end of the enclosure regulated to 82-83 degrees. Ceramic heat emitters or panels are preferable. When using heat emitters, a guard must be present and secure to avoid burns. Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature with the probe secured directly in the basing spot. Do not guess! Do not use only a thermometer. Overheating can be quickly fatal for your new pet. Basking spot may be cycled for day-night, with a constant ambient temp of 76-79 degree recommended. Cave racers are shade dwelling animals that do not like direct sunlight.


Humidity should be maintained at 70-80%. Place a good quality hygrostat in your snake’s enclosure to monitor humidity. Using the correct substrate and misting occasionally is usually sufficient to maintain appropriate levels, but a fogger may be used if you wish.


Provide your snake with a non-porous water bowl and change it frequently. Snakes frequently defecate in their water bowl, so frequent disinfection is essential. We recommend F10 Veterinary Disinfectant or original (yellow) Listerine diluted to 10% with water.


Cave racers tend to be somewhat more docile than Vietnamese blue beauties, but still require regular handling from the time they are young to develop into well-socialized adults. Keep two hands on the snake at all times as they are extremely agile and can get away quickly. Use a firm but comfortable grip. Young snakes that are being socialized may bite. The best reaction is no reaction. With time and gentle handling, defensive strikes will become less and less frequent. Children should always be supervised when handling snakes. Do not handle them while they are in shed or right after meals.


Allow your new snake at least a week to adjust to its new habitat before feeding. Mortal Coil Serpentry supports feeding frozen feeders. Your new pet is already feeding on frozen thawed. Live feeding is not recommended. Warm frozen prey to a natural body temperature (~90 degrees). Do not feed your snake from your fingers. Present prey with tongs, holding it by the base of the tail, and wiggle gently in front of the snake. Do not handle for at least 24 hours after feeding.

Hatchlings to 2 years:

1 rodent the approximate girth of the snake once per week. Mice and African Soft Furs are superior to rats of equivalent size for nutritional value.

2+ years:

1 rodent the approximate girth of the snake once every 1-2 weeks. If the snake is refusing meals ~50% of the time, adjust the feeding schedule accordingly.

The correct body shape for a cave racer is round, but somewhat taller than wide.