Dragon Snake: Does it Exist for REAL? Yes! Is Dragon Snake Venomous?

Dragon Snake AKA Xenodermus javanicus
30-second summary:

💲 Cost for a Single Dragon Snake – $300

🌵 Natural Habitat of a Dragon Snake – Underground, marshes, swamps, rice fields, and streams

🐲 Unique Characteristic of a Dragon Snake – It looks like a cross between a snake and a crocodile.

⚖️ Dragon Snake Weight – 1 to 2 pounds

Medical name: xenodermus

The reptile(xenodermus) world is one of the most fascinating worlds in the kingdom of animals. Reptiles are mysterious creatures exhibiting interesting characteristics, shapes, colors, and textures on their bodies.

Dragon Snake as pet

Often misunderstood due to lack of information or familiarity, owing to the secretive nature, reptiles are mostly feared and dreaded. But, just like all other wild animals, even they have aspects that make them interesting and endearing to conservatives and animal lovers alike.

One such extremely fascinating species is Dragon Snake (Xenodermus javanicus), the only snake in its genus. Dragon Snake is known by different names in different places like Javan tubercle snake, Javan mud snake, and rough-backed litter snake.

There is very little information known about Dragon snakes in general, as they spend most of their life in hiding. The same is the reason why they are not very popular as pets, but those who do keep them as pets must know certain important aspects about them.

As the name might suggest, dragon snakes are very much an existing species that thrive in the Southeast Asia. They live a secretive life and are non-venomous, making them absolutely safe.

While it is imagined that a non-venomous, small snake would be ideal as a pet, dragon snakes are quite high maintenance and get stressed in captivity, making it difficult for them to survive.These harmless snakes are best left alone.

Dragon snake – Looks and Characteristics

A dragon snake can be categorized as one of the most unique looking snakes owing to its rough skin texture, as opposed to other snake species. The dragon snake has three rows of large, keeled scales that run down the center of its back, giving it a distinctive appearance.

Dragon snake in a private captivity
Dragon snake in a private captivity

Temperate dragon snakes are non-venomous snakes that are mainly found in the high altitudes of Southeast Asian countries. Spending most of their time hiding, these semi-fossorial species are known to hunt only during the night and their most preferred prey are frogs.

Although it is not known why they prefer frogs and small feeder fish so much over other prey animals that most snakes hunt, but for their choice of food, dragon snakes are mostly found in areas that are close to water bodies.

Dragon Snake Behavior

Dragon snake is essentially a nocturnal snake, which means it is active through the night and absolutely passive through the day. It is excessively shy and secretive and like to keep to itself.

The quintessentially rare dragon snake doesn’t like being disturbed when in its natural habitat. It also doesn’t like to be surrounded by people making it an unpopular pet. When handled too much, a dragon snake can exhibit extreme reactions where it stops eating, threatening its own life.

What Are Some Importance Aspects of Dragon Snake Care?

Despite being high-maintenance and hard to handle, dragon snakes can be kept as pets if they are properly taken care of and provided with suitable surroundings and environments.

One of the most important things to keep in mind during dragon snake care is the kind of substrate you use. Something like sphagnum moss is considered to be most suitable for them as it retains enough moisture but doesn’t get too wet. Being a semi fossorial snake type, they live around water bodies and like moisture.

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Secondly, providing them a safe, dark, and dingy space is important as they spend a lot of their time hiding. Make sure that these wet surroundings created for their living are kept mold-free, or else these snakes can fall seriously ill.

Maintaining appropriate temperature and light

Unlike other pet snakes, dragon snake care is somewhat cumbersome, as they require a very different environment to survive. They can’t tolerate too much heat or light. It is advisable to keep the temperature of their enclosure between 70-77 F to keep your dragon snake happy.

They love living in the dark, so ensure that the dragon snake enclosure is basically a dimly lit room. To ensure that you are maintaining the right temperature, you can keep a thermometer handy. A dragon snake, exposed to a temperature of more than 80 degrees F for more than an hour can die.

Ensuring Apt Humidity and Air Quality

A humidity level of 85-95 percent is what dragon snakes like. This is a very high level of humidity to maintain, which is why choosing the right substrate is important. Anything that loses moisture too soon is not ideal for dragon snake enclosures.

The best thing to avoid losing humidity is to mist the enclosure every now and then. But mist it only enough as too much wetness can also prove harmful for the snake.

Maintaining the Right Water Level

Dragon snakes are believed to love water. It has been observed that they are often seen curling up in the water and can sit in that position for hours. So, providing a big enough water container in their enclosure is also one of the most essential things to keep in mind.

Also, make sure to keep the water and the container absolutely clean. You can take it out every few days and give it a thorough wash and replace the water. This will provide the snake with enough clean and fresh water to survive.

What to feed dragon snakes?

Dragon snakes are voracious eaters, which means they have a good appetite and like to hunt every now and then. So, it is important to provide them with prey on a regular basis.

Dragon snakes prefer to eat frogs, in addition to small fish like mosquito fish, guppy fish, and platies as well as large-sized treefrog tadpoles.

Watch Dragon Snake Feeding on Treefrog

Healthy snakes can easily eat up to three to five tadpoles in every feeding session.

However, do remember that dragon snakes are very secretive and don’t like to expose themselves, even when they are kept in captivity. This means that if you feed them with adult frogs, the snake will not come out till that far and not eat.

Hence, smaller frogs are ideal for them. When feeding them with fish, use a shallow water container to make it easy for the snakes to prey and hunt.

How long do dragon snakes live?

Since there is very little information available about dragon snakes living in the wild, there is no exact data about how long they live. But in captivity, it has been observed that they live up to seven years.

They live through three stages – hatchlings, juveniles, and adults.

Normally, a female dragon snake lays only about 2-3 eggs in a year (yes, this is what makes them really rare and precious), the hatchlings remain hidden inside their burrow for a few months before they start stepping out.

Once they become a year old, they start hunting, and as per their amazing appetite, they look for a lot of prey. Adult dragon snakes reach up to 25-30 inches long and continue preying on their favorite prey – frogs. They lay eggs during the rainy season.

Also read: How to identify Worm Snakes? Where to Find them?

What are the Health Issues that a Dragon Snake Faces?

Parasite Invasion

One of the biggest health concerns faced by dragon snakes is the dangerous parasites that inhabit them. While the external parasites are quite easy to spot and treat, internal parasites are the real concern. If there are signs of potential parasite load, it is advised to take them to the veterinarian immediately to get them treated for internal parasites so that they can live in the prime of their health.

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The Stress Factor

As familiar as this line might feel, even reptiles feel the stress, especially the dragon snakes. One of the common most difficulties of keeping dragon snakes as pets is their seemingly unnecessary stress.

If a dragon snake is handled or touched too frequently, it goes under too much stress and can even stop eating as a result. One of the most peculiar characteristics that it shows when under stress is that stiffens its body so much so that it seems as if it is dead. However, most believe that it is more of the snake’s defense mechanisms than a stress-related response.

Also Read:  7 Most Dangerous Snakes in Turkey: The Deadly & Venomous

In a nutshell

While snakes are known as killers around the world, thanks to the kind of image that is reflected in popular media, a large species of snakes are non-venomous and only attack in self-defense, much like the dragon snake.

Dragon snakes are very different from your other species of snakes. Unlike most snakes, who have a smooth external surface, they have three rows of large, keeled scales running down their back. They were first described in 1836 by a Danish zoologist named Johannes T. Reinhardt. And since then, not much has been discovered about them due to their secretive nature.

Most snakes are nocturnal and only come out from their hiding to hunt or when provoked. The image that has come into existence of them being dangerous and harmful is mainly due to man-animal conflict where man often encroaches into their territory and animals are forced to come face-to-face with the human settlement.

Frequently asked questions about dragon snakes

Why are dragon snakes not popular as pets?

Dragon snakes are very secretive and like to be left alone. Any kind of contact with humans or excessive handling can stress them out, posing a life-threatening danger. One of the most unique characteristics of this snake species is that they get stiff when under stress, which works for them as a defense mechanism.

Dragan snake as pet

Apart from that, they are very high maintenance and require a very spot-on surrounding in captivity to survive. They require a very high level of humidity, which is difficult to maintain.

That apart, they also have a persisting issue of developing internal and external parasites that can be tough to manage. All these things make them challenging to maintain as pets.

What are the things to keep in mind when keeping dragon snakes as pets?

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to choose the right substrate, something that can retain a high amount of moisture while not getting too wet.

Dragon snakes live around water bodies in the wilderness and thrive in a moist and humid atmosphere. It is rather important to provide them with a similar environment so that they can survive.

They are also unable to withstand high temperatures, and if they are exposed to anything above 80-degree F, for more than an hour, they can die. Another thing that must be kept in mind is providing them with the right food at the right interval.

They are believed to be voracious eaters and they must be provided with their favorite food – frogs to survive and thrive.

How long do dragon snakes live?

There is no clear record of their lifespan, but those who keep them as a pet have observed that dragon snakes live for up to seven years in captivity.

They lay only 3-4 eggs during the rainy season every year and that is why they don’t grow in numbers too fast.

Are dragon snakes dangerous?

Dragon snakes are non-venomous and they are not aggressive either, making them absolutely safe. They also remain hidden for the most part of their lives and only come out of their burrows during the night to prey on small frogs and fish.

They avoid being seen, even in the wild, making them a harmless species of snakes.