Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Somma, L. A. 1989. Elaphe bairdi (Baird’s Rat Snake): Drinking Behavior. Herpetological Review 20(3):72.


On 13 February 1988. at 1600 h. a captive-bred (hatched July 1985) male Elaphe bairdi (TL.136.9 cm, SVL .. 89.54 cm). maintained in a 50.5 x 25 x 30 cm terrerium was accidently splashed with water. As beads of water on the snake's head rolled down to the upper labial sceles. swallowing was observed. The water on the labial scales was drawn Into the mouth while It was closed. This behavior lasted 42 sec. This behavior was repeated 23 out of 24 trials conducted during the next 24 days. The duration of swallowing wes 9-62 sec (avg 35.8, N = 25). Swallowing was observed when water touched the head, even though It did not always reach the mouth. During two of the trials the snake tilted Its head and rubbed its labial scales along its dorsum, sucking water droplets off Its body.