Please note: this species is also often referred to as simply the bamboo ratsnake.
This article is based on my own experience of keeping red bamboo ratsnakes, and is just my opinion, which has been formed by keeping this species for several years and successfully reproducing them multiple times. I got my original red bamboo ratsnakes from a dutch man at the hamm reptile expo in 2010, I unfortunately cannot remember his name as I am writing this in 2017! I paid about 250 euro for my first pair of this species which didn’t sem too bad at the time as they were retailing in the UK for about 400 sterling each. The prices of this entire genus have dropped a great deal since then, and nowadays they have a value of roughly 100 pounds sterling each.
Housing requirements and Natural History:
This species comes from montain regions in Thailand and as the name thai red mountain bamboo ratsnake suggests, often is found on the edges of bamboo forests in the mountains. More specifically only in the Loei and Phuluang provinces at elevations between 2,600 and 3,000 feet(Brown and Markland 2014). They are mainly fossorial when young, and still fairly fossorial as adults. They need to be kept cool and relatively moist. I keep them on cocoa fibre mixed with bark chippings with a moist hide in one corner. Like all snakes you must be careful to give them choices of humidity as they are only in a small terrarium so will get scale rot if kept constantly damp. This species only attains a size of about 60cm for a large adult (I have heard of bigger females but have not seen one), so obviously does not need a particularly large enclosure. I keep my adults in 18 litre really useful boxes. Due to the fossorial nature of these snakes I do not feel any issue with keeping them in this manner. However Tom Middlebrook also has a pair of them, and he keeps his in a ‘bioactive’ glass terrarium with live plants. He also keeps them under a 5% UVB T8 tube. This is a very shy species, so even then they are not seen often, but the choice of how to keep this species is up to the individual keeper, as they seem to breed and do very well kept either naturalistically or in more basic tub style setups.
The baby snakes obviously have to be housed in smaller enclosures, I raise them in ‘Cadbury tubs’ with a small layer of cocoa fibre and a wet hide at the back of the tub. I raise this species individually, and make sure I keep an area of the tub moist as the babies are more prone to getting stuck shed than the adults.
The main issue is the temperature requirements of this species. DO NOT keep them at temperatures exceeding 30 degrees celcius for long periods, they will soon die if kept like this. Much like the slightly more well-known mandarin ratsnake, this species is not very high temperature tolerant. I do not even provide this species with a hotspot as my room temperature is around 24-26 celcius year round. These and mandarin ratsnakes are the only species I have kept without providing a thermogradient, as the ambient temperature of the room appears to be suffiecient for all life processes. I did use to keep them with a heat matt under the tub, but as it was set to 26c it essentially was redundant.