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How to raise a brood of vipers

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****Nothing quite says evil like a mess of venomous serpents. From time immemorial they have guarded their dens with venom and fury, daring the unwary to step over the line of reptilian retribution. Evil powers have long admired the viper's legless slither through the smallest of openings in search of live prey, their hypnotic slit-eye gaze, their scaliness, and their ability to bask in the noonday sun without burning. They enjoy an advantage over other predators who merely bite and rend the flesh: the agony of dying from poison delivered through disturbingly graphic fangs is nearly an archetypal phobia. Modern villains eager to associate themselves with this nightmare from well before the dawn of the human race need only take a few common-sense measures when putting together a first-class viper breeding operation.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Itty bitty snakey eggs. There are just a few requirements for successful viper husbandry: Keep 'em warm, don't eat 'em, watch the little critters hatch (external link). Or if you go for the livebearing sort, a nice incubator might be in order.
  2. Pen them in. Give your snakes some lovely dark places to hide within their enclosure. You can use hollow chests, clay idols, abandoned vehicles, or a small mausoleum to create the nooks and hiding spots they desire. the optimum temperature is 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and at night a minimum of 75 degrees. There should be an adequate basking area for your snakes, fresh water, and proper humidity. You may also want to provide an emergency egress for the use of the snake wranglers when things get dicey.
  3. Training. If you want your vipers to be aggressive, teach them to fear and hate humans early on so the lessons will stick. When they are hungry, encourage them to strike at stand-ins for intruders, being careful not to allow them to damage their fangs. Vipers are highly sensitive to vibration and you can also train them to swarm over those entering their compound on foot or to pursue them in water, by providing the proper sort of reinforcement.

Chaos green Copperhead logo

! Strokes of genius

  • Size is not everything. If your vipers are only of average size (a meter or two, say), you can easily make up for this by having them in great numbers. Plus, in time, you may well find that the stronger and fitter ones end up devouring their smaller cousins, thus making up for their initial size deficit.
  • Fangs for the memories. Record your successes and failures in viper husbandry week to week and month to month for future reference, including digital photos. It will help you immeasurably in this rather demanding pursuit, and provide you with admiration as you show off your album of shots on your favorite photo sharing site.
  • Cleanliness. It is important to make sure your viper pen is maintained properly both for the health of your reptiles and for the best presentation quality. A plastic window which is dusty and has been marred by victims attempting to claw their way out can obscure the view enough to impair your enjoyment of your brood, so this should be replaced periodically. Viper droppings should be removed by hand (possibly robotic) and composted before using in the garden.
  • The family way. Over time your vipers will begin to breed upon their own, assuming they have not been spayed or neutered. Encourage your best specimens to pair up thus improving the overall quality of your stock. Acquire unrelated vipers among fellow enthusiasts to bring in traits you want them to have, in exchange for your own prized individuals. Vipers are not rapid breeders typically, so patience and persistence are the best ways to ensure success.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Incompatibilities.Be careful to avoid keeping snakes and phoenixes together. Also, if you have both large and small vipers in the same enclosure, make sure there are adequate places for the little ones to escape to lest they succumb to predation.
  • He's not dead, he's sleeping. Snakes cope with low temperatures by hibernating, during which time they can be as stiff and inert as big long strips of leather. Do not dispose of your vipers during the winter thinking that they have expired, as you may discover otherwise.
  • Pestilence. When introducing new stock, quarantining is a wise practice and will save the python rancher a good bit of heartache. Besides diseases such as salmonella, mites and other parasites may inadvertently be brought in to a pristine collection and prove to be difficult and costly to eradicate.

Snakes in the grass

+ Precious and needful

  • A desert for them to live in would be nice. Though if your preferences run toward swampy or forest settings, these can be incorporated into quite attractive snakepits as well.
  • A suitcase to carry them about in. Surprise (external link)!
  • Prey. Buy frozen prey in bulk because it can save you money, or you can go with more succulent live prey (external link)
  • Antivenom.

Further plotting

Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Thursday 26 of August, 2010 07:09:57 EDT by Veeper.

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