Chester Zoo Successfully Hatches <em>Orthriophis moellendorffi</em> Rat Snakes

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Chester Zoo Successfully Hatches Orthriophis moellendorffi Rat Snakes

The Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom last week posted video onto social media of the first Moellendorff's rat snakes (Orthriophis moellendorffi) the

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The Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom last week posted video onto social media of the first Moellendorff’s rat snakes (Orthriophis moellendorffi) the zoo has hatched.

The Moellendorff’s rat snake is named after German malacologist Otto Franz von Möllendorf who died in 1903 at the age of around 55. The snake is commonly called the flower rat snake. It is of the family Colubridae and is endemic to China, Vietnam and possibly Laos. It grows to about 5 feet in length and is oviparous.

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Moellendorff's rat snake

Moellendorff’s rat snake. Photo by Rosa Jay/Shutterstock

It is primarily a terrestrial species and has a red head, greenish gray colorations toward the front of the body to the neck, and a reddish and black coloration toward the tail. The tail is red with black and orange bands.


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The Moellendorff’s rat snake is not a popular snake with reptile keepers but there are captive breeders who work with this species. It feeds on rodents as well as birds and small vertebrates. The species is also apparently popular with fashion houses that, sadly results in the taking of snakes from the wild.

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