Size: 4-6 feet
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Basking Temperature: 82 degrees
Cool End Temperature: 76-79 degrees
Substrate: Cypress, coco chip, coco husk
Baby enclosure size: 20″ x 10″ x 10″
Adult enclosure size: 3’ x 2’ x 2’
Difficulty: Novice to Intermediate
Chinese beauties are medium-sized, slender, active colubrids. They have impressive coloration and patterns and uniquely amongst beauty snakes, captively bred morphs are known. They are much more docile than some other beauty snakes, and socialize relatively easily. While their husbandry requirements are not difficult to achieve and they are relatively hardy, scarcity of information on their care and keeping makes them arguably an intermediate species.
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. Chinese beauties 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. Chinese beauties can be kept in bioactive enclosures.
Coco chip, coco husk, and cypress make excellent and great looking substrates for Chinese beauties’ enclosures and help retain humidity.
HEATING AND LIGHTING
A basking spot can be provided at one end of the enclosure regulated to 82 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. Chinese beauties 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.
Chinese beauties require regular handling from the time they are young to develop into docile, 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, but this is uncommon. The best reaction is no reaction. 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. Chinese beauty snakes will not typically eat when in shed.
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.
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 Chinese beauty is a little taller than wide.