Water snakes ps first post

Why don’t people like water snake and is there a market for water snakes because I love them and want to Breed them but wouldn’t if there is no market for them

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First of all, Welcome to the community! :wave: :partying_face:
I think the reason most people don’t keep water snakes is because most people haven’t heard of them. I’ve never heard much about them and I haven’t read much about them. The market is small but I think there is a market so if you bred them they would sell. There is a category on MorphMarket dedicated to them here. However a lot of them are wild caught and imported.

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Thank you :heart:

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Do you own a water snake

Not yet but planning on it soon

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oh mee too, I might get a gopher or a baby banded water snake

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Welcome! How has your stay been so far? I’m not too experienced with these guys, but wanted to say welcome anyways.

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Thanks for welcoming me my stay has been good so far I’ve been a lurker for a while and decided to make a account

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If you’re interested in working with watersnakes in the Nerodia genus it’s extremely important to recognize that snake fungal disease is decently common in this genus and can be easily spread via contaminated bedding (and infected snakes) to new areas. At this point, I really cannot recommend anyone purchase wild caught Nerodia from anyone.

A colleague of mine, Dirk Stevenson, who used to be employed by The Orianne Society but now works as a wildlife biologist for his own consulting company, has conducted extensive research on snake fungal disease in the Southeast. Coauthors include other colleagues of mine who are currently employed with The Orianne Society (Houston Chandler and Ben Stegenga). In Georgia alone, the highest positivity rate was in Nerodia erythrogaster, Nerodia taxispilota, and extremely unfortunate, Drymarchon couperi. Snake fungal disease cannot be identified by external features and instead swabs must be sent for genetic testing (typically qPCR).

Frankly, purchasing any wild-caught snakes, especially from the eastern United States, runs a very real risk of spreading snake fungal disease to new areas. Anyone who is selling wild caught Nerodia in particular should stop immediately.

The disease is a fungal infection which causes the snake to rot from the inside out. It’s particularly bad on rattlesnakes, as during brumation the fungal infection runs rampant and can literally rot the faces off infected snakes. This disease is bad news and is relatively new, we don’t know much about it yet.

If you wish to begin a captive Nerodia colony with wild caught snakes you must fully quarantine for at least a year (which includes at least one, preferably two brumation cycles) and submit skin swabs regularly for qPCR testing. The testing costs approximately $50 a sample and only a few labs in the country have the markers for testing this disease.

Only when your snakes are definitely clear of SFD can you responsibly breed and market offspring for sale. At this point we’re not sure if the disease can be spread to embryos incubating within the mother (Nerodia are oviviviparous, aka live-bearers, so disease transmission in-vitro is possible).

To read Dirk Stevenson’s paper regarding the prevalence of this disease in Georgia, go here: Ophidiomycosis surveillance of snakes in Georgia, USA reveals new host species and taxonomic associations with disease

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Yikes that makes me very glad that I didn’t buy a wild caught when looking for my new water snake.
How long would you recommend quarantines for a captive bred baby, Florida banded. And would you recommend that a cbb be tested for this.
Thanks

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Buying a captive bred hatchling I would think has reduced risk, but please be aware that I have no data to back that claim up. We still know almost nothing about how this disease is transmitted, all we know is that it’s fungal and seems to be an environmental fungus that somehow turned virulent. Records of this particular disease go back all the way to potentially 1945 in the United States and was recorded in Europe in the 1980s, we’re not sure if it’s being transported by humans or if the fungus has just always been there.

I would ask about how long the lineage has been in captivity. If the captive bred offspring is from wild caught parents I would be much more cautious. If the parents have been asymptomatic in captivity for years (no blisters, no skin lesions, no eye problems), the babies are probably safe. However, individuals with no external symptoms have tested positive for SFD so it’s really hard to know.

Dr. Matt Allender at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the scientist who developed the testing markers for SFD. He continues to be the main lab in the country who runs these tests. For whatever reason younger animals don’t test positive as frequently as older animals. For peace of mind, I would run tests on the parents and on the babies, but this testing cost will quickly exceed the retail value of the animals themselves (the snakes rarely sell for more than $50 each).

For more information about SFD, Dr. Allender is quoted heavily in this news article: Study Finds Fungal Disease of Snakes in 19 States, Puerto Rico

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