Beginner’s guide for smallest arboreal snake

Well, hello there fellow pet snake enthusiast! Are you interested in keeping a smaller type of snake? Would you be interested in keeping a more beautifully adorned snake? Well then, this article is for you! In this article, we’ll be taking a look at a smaller breed of arboreal snakes – perfect for intermediate to advanced snake owners. 

Without further ado, let us slither on to the article! Main thought: The smallest arboreal snake species is the viper class. The two smallest species would be Eyelash Viper and Bush Viper.

Eyelash Viper: Smallest arboreal snake

Eyelash Viper
Eyelash Viper

Size: 14 – 18 inches (Male); 24 – 36 inches (Female) 

The Eyelash Viper, alternatively known as Bothriechis schlegeliiis the first snake on our list. The eyelash viper gets its name from the scales above its eyes – which look like human eyelashes!. According to South American legends, these snakes will blink at someone before killing them. However we know this as false, as snakes don’t have the muscles to be able to blink! 

This snake species is gorgeous to look at  – and comes in various colors. This can range from bright neon yellow and even a muted grey. However, it’s their superciliary scales, or “eyelashes” will definitely make this snake stand out and unique from the other snakes in your collection. 

Smallest arboreal snake: Eyelash Viper – Green spotted breed
Smallest arboreal snake: Eyelash Viper – Green spotted breed

If you’re looking to own or purchase this snake, keep in mind that the Eyelash viper is highly venomous. Some pet owners have died by being bitten by their pet Eyelash vipers. Thus, this snake is best for advanced snake owners who have received proper training and equipment. 

So if you’re looking to own any venomous snakes, make sure to consult local snake owners. They’ll be sure to teach you the basics of caring for these types of snakes, as well as tips and other tricks to make sure you don’t get bitten! 

Eyelash Viper

Feeding Guide for Eyelash Viper   

The Eyelash Viper has a varied diet. Thanks to their venom, they can easily take down rodents, frogs, and even small birds. If you’re planning to keep these pets in captivity however, you won’t need to provide them all food types.

Mice and frogs will suffice for their needs – preferably frogs however due to the lower fat content. Additionally, keep in mind you don’t have to give your pet Eyelash Viper.

When feeding your pet Eyelash viper, make sure you have thawed the food and have your protective gear on – especially gloves as well as long tongs. To feed, simply hold its food (frog or mice) from the back end and present it to the snake.

In a short moment, the eyelash viper will bite onto its food. Once that’s finished – simply leave your snake alone to digest its meal.

Don’t forget to provide your snake with an accessible source of water. Snakes drink of course! 

Due to its small size, you want to feed this snake only once or twice a week. Give it too much and your snake might become obese! Besides, snakes have slow digestion – so they don’t get hungry too often! 

Cage Size and Requirements 

The Eyelash Viper
The Eyelash Viper

Due to their small size, you’ll only need small cages for this species of snake. For the cage, a 20-gallon cage will do. Just remember that the Eyelash viper is an arboreal snake – meaning it’s adapted for climbing branches and trees in the wild. You’ll need to design your cage so you can satisfy this climbing need. 

To do so, all you need to do is install perches, ledges, and branches into the cage. Branches can be easily bought from pet stores, or you can find your own in your backyard! 

If you are planning to make your own branches, make sure to disinfect and prepare these branches. If you don’t disinfect them, they might infect your snake with unwanted diseases! 

Finally, never forget to satisfy your snake’s humidity and temperature needs. This is necessary as snakes are cold-blooded and therefore rely on the environment to control their body temperature. Keep it too cold or too hot, and the snakes might get stressed out and die! 

For eyelash vipers, all you will need would be a temperature of 32C on average, alongside a high humidity. Make sure the cage offers plenty of air circulation as well. 

Bush Viper

Bush Viper
Bush Viper

Size: 16 – 22 inches (Males);  20-32 inches (Females)

The Bush viper, or known by its scientific name Atheris squamigera, is a species of arboreal snakes.  Compared to other snakes like the carpet python which can grow up to 5 feet, the bush viper can only grow up to a maximum of 2.6ft. Thus, this snake is perfect for snake owners who’d like a smaller snake. 

What sets them apart from other snake breeds would be their scales – which are highly keeled and curved. Additionally, these scales can come in a variety of different colors. These colors can range from neon green up to cool reds. 

Although these snakes are beautiful, taking care of this snake is a difficult job. For one – Bush Vipers are highly venomous. Some pet owners have died due to snake bites from their pet Bush viper.

Compared to the more docile constrictors like carpet pythons, Bush vipers don’t like getting handled too often either. So expect to keep this snake in its cage.

Bush viper is very small arboreal snake
Bush viper is very small arboreal snake

Because of the risk of snake bites, owners must take the possible precautions. First of all – snake enthusiasts wanting to own this snake must check with their local authorities if it’s legal.

Some countries have banned any selling or ownership of these snakes. So before you go buy one, check with local laws and regulations with keeping pet Bush Vipers.

Now assuming you are sure that it is legal to keep pet bush vipers, make sure you have all the proper gear and equipment. Apart from its cage, you will be needing protecting equipment. Heavy-duty thick gloves (like welding gloves) should be strong and thick enough to protect you from snake bites.

Bush Viper

Feeding Guide

The bush viper feeds on various animals in the wild, which range from small rodents, frogs, and even birds. For an easy source of food, it’s best to use rodents or frogs. Keep in mind you don’t have to feed your pet Bush Viper live food – and it’s better to just use frozen food that’s been thawed.

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Because these are small snacks, you’ll only need to feed them once a week. When feeding, make sure to hold the food using very long tongs – just to make sure you’re safe from any snake bites.

These snakes will react quickly – biting onto the food and injecting it with venom. Let go of the food from then, and leave the snake alone so it may digest its meal. 

Cage Size and Requirements 

These snakes are mostly inactive – you could even call them “lazy”. These snakes can stay perched on the same branch for days at a time- without moving or changing position at all.

Because of this and their small size, these snakes will not need large cages. A cage with a volume of 15-20 gallons will be enough to keep them happy! 

Because these snakes are arboreal snakes, they’ll be needing branches or vines to perch and climb on. So when designing the terrarium, make sure you’re able to provide for its climbing needs.

You can do so by putting in branches into the snake’s cage, making sure it’s secured by using heavy-duty glue or epoxy.

The Bush Viper is one of the smallest arboreal snakes
Smallest arboreal snake in a cage

Finally, make sure you satisfy your snake’s humidity and temperature requirements. These snakes love high humidity and prefer a temperature of 27C. If you don’t satisfy these requirements, Bush vipers may become agitated and cranky.

This will especially be bad for both the snake, as it can cause unwanted stress. This is especially dangerous for you – as a cranky snake means it’s more likely to bite! 

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If you’d like a more natural aquarium, you can also use Devil’s Ivy as decoration. 

Will they be small forever? 

For one, remember that keeping a snake is a big responsibility. The snakes mentioned in this article will require a lot of training and effort to keep – so if you know you’re not ready please avoid buying these snakes. 

Now, will these snakes keep small forever? Not quite. Remember, keep in mind that these snakes can grow up to their listed maximum sizes. If you’re looking to keep them in their neonate or “baby” size, that’s just not possible. 

Any means of keeping snakes “small” involve starvation, cramped cages, and other cruel means. These are forms of animal abuse – something illegal and something never snake owners should never do. 

So if you’d like to keep “small” versions of these snakes, make sure to purchase male snakes. The male snakes for these species are much smaller than the females.

Rather than check for the gender of the snake yourself, make sure to instead as a reputable local breeder to provide you a male snake. 

So if you’re not prepared to keep venomous small snakes like these, you can look up other smaller species. Species such as the Kenyan sand boa are relatively small, non-venomous, and are best for beginners!

Last update on 2020-07-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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