The Wagler's Viper Page

More than you ever wanted to know about:

Captive care of

Tropidolaemus wagleri

Wagler's Viper or Temple Viper

(Or Scott's Instruction and Operation Manual)

By Scott Lacina

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Hydration is critical for good health in these vipers. Misting should occur 1 - 2 times per week. Tropidolaemus wagleri does not need to live in a wet environment, just a humid one (note: water does not bead on their scales). A thick spray or stream of water is preferable with adult vipers, as a fine mist like spray will elicit a frenzy of strikes. This may be used to advantage when feeding or hydrating a stubborn snake. An elevated water dish is the key to good hydration, show the snake where it is by placing its head in it. Misting will help to stimulate the snake to drink on its own once they learn.

Soaking the snake may be required to maintain good health, it is certainly a quick solution for dehydration, shedding problems and regular defecation. Be sure to monitor your animals! Soak in 1/2 inch of water in a a sweater box with a stone or stick for a headrest.

Defecation should occur at least once every 90 days for adult animals. If it cannot be stimulated by misting be sure to soak the animal. Typically this soaking needs to last from 1 to 6 hours. Juveniles tend to defecate more frequently.

Adults should be fed once every 30 to 40 days, unless proportions of the viper dictate a temporary variation. Juveniles may feed every 14 days, but be sure to monitor defecation, with 3 feedings for every defecation as a minimum. Adult males retain a much more slender proportion than females, being approximately 1/25 the size of an adult female.

One of the tricks used to elicit a feeding response in a tempramental Tropidolaemus wagleri is to irritate, or anger, the snake by using long tweezers or forceps and tapping the snake on the tail with a mouse, and then the snout if needed. Manipulation of the snake can also anger it enough to strike. If a strike occurs with a fickle feeder, stay still, or exit the animals field of vision. Once the animal has grabbed the prey item they will typically swallow it, but movement may startle the animal and cause it to lose interest. Evenings are the best times to try to feed.

Shedding usually occurs twice a year in adults, and 4 to 6 times a year for juveniles. If a snake has problems with dry shedding it will need to be soaked in sweaterbox with 1/2 inch of water and a rock or stick with edges to rub against. I have soaked my animals for up to 3 days.

Roosting is a sign of good health in adult Wagler's Vipers. Give the animals a number of branches of varying width. Thinner branches seem to be preferred. If a snake stops roosting it is generally a sign of a problem. The problem could be anything including dehydration, wrong branch size or thickness, constipation, and parasites.

Housing for juveniles can be as simple as a sweater box or shoebox sized plastic enclosure. Juveniles sometimes feed better in smaller cages and often will roost on a wad of paper or the edge of their water bowl. Such an enclosure does not require an elevated water dish.

Tropidoleamus wagleri are NOT social animals. Give them enough room to establish their own territory if housed with others. An 18in. x 24in. x 36in. enclosure should be a minimum for adult animals. Plants or other forms of dividers should be used to obstruct the view of other Wagler's. Over a period of time they will establish their own territory in th enclosure and defend it vigorously. Once removed from their territory they will become more placid. If introducing a new viper into an the enclosure of a long term captive, its best to remove the long term specimen for a day or two and rearrange the caging materials before introducing them both. Failure to do so has resulted in extremely aggressive behavior from the long term specimen, an harm to both specimens is both possible and probable.

The recommended temperature range is 78 - 85 F. days and 73 - 79 F. nights. A 12 hour temperature an photoperiod are recommended, but not essential. Tropidoleamus wagleri do not bask, indirect light and ambient temperatures are sufficient. It is use of UV and "Black" lighting is not recommended.

Prophylactic treatment of parasites is recommended with wild-caught adults, with a proportional dosage of flagyl having sometimes amazing results.

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Singapore Governments Venomous Snake Page


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