Hartpury’s animal collection snaked its way into the college’s history books as the campus welcomed a group of baby corn snakes – the first reptiles to ever be hatched on site.
Joining the collection of over 70 species baby corn snakes were successfully born at the college in August and have been carefully monitored by the Hartpury staff and students since. More recently three tiny Garter snake hatchlings have also boosted the collection.
The baby corn snakes needed a specialised incubator to keep them at the correct temperature which the animal staff managed to create using their DIY skills. This incubator ensured the eggs were kept in perfect condition for hatching at a toasty 30°C and 80% humidity.
Baby Garter snakes have also joined the reptiles at Hartpury but unlike the corn snakes, they are known as ovoviviparous which means they are live-bearers. This means they did not need to be incubated like other reptiles.
With a number of fully grown snakes already available for student care at Hartpury, the baby snakes have given the students something different to learn about including the hatching process through to experiencing firsthand the difference in the care needed to look after the hatchlings compared to fully grown snakes.
Animal collection manager, Aleksandra Lipinska, said: “It has been a great learning experience for all the students involved and we are really pleased it has been a success. Now that the corn snakes have had three feeds and three sheds they will soon be available for adoption so get in touch if you think you could give one a good, caring home!”
“Now that we have successfully bred and hatched our first reptiles we are planning on doing some more breeding. We have plated lizards here that are quite rare so we are looking at getting a programme in place to breed them as well uromastyx lizards.”
The corn snakes will eventually grow to somewhere between four and six feet in length and will hopefully be available for students to care for the next fifteen years. The baby boas bought to Hartpury not too long ago are already doing well at one-year-old with students caring for them daily as part of their duties.