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 Captive Vipera berus

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Stuart Dickie



Male
Number of posts : 4
Age : 39
Location : York, UK
Points : 2586
Registration date : 2010-07-03

PostSubject: Captive Vipera berus   Sat 3 Jul - 21:13

Curious if anyone has had success with Vipera berus in captivity?

I've had success maintaining this species without brumation for several years, but yet to have success breeding. My pair are most fond of rat pups (with occasional calcium carbonate supplementation), and as sub-adults are fed every 7 to 14 days - I get consistent feeding by leaving overnight. Defecation is quite frequent... They are "docile" in that they show interest in my presence and are extremely resistant to strike (although I also find wild Adders quit placid) and are quick to investigate when their enclosure is opened.

I rely solely on an ambient temperature of 78 to 80F. Fresh water is always provided and are fine drinking from a small body of water, hiding places in the form of a small typical reptile hide, cork bark and scrunch up newspaper are provided to aid in a sense of security.

Anyone else with success keeping them and wish to share their husbandry details and tips?
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Stuart Dickie



Male
Number of posts : 4
Age : 39
Location : York, UK
Points : 2586
Registration date : 2010-07-03

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Mon 5 Jul - 18:48

Nobody has any husbandry tips to share?...

With its massive range SOMEONE must have had some success maintaining them also? I see some pictures of a keeper feeding neonates happily on mice, so they do exist.

I'll get some pictures up of my pair after they've finished digesting their meals...
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Joni hottinen
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Number of posts : 105
Age : 26
Location : Varkaus, Finland
Points : 2847
Registration date : 2010-02-16

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Tue 6 Jul - 1:36

well. i tried them last summer. had babies frim gravid female but most of them died before first hibernation. only 2 babies survived... problem with these are to get temps low enough. i kept them on coolest corner of my house all time. just small basking spot on 1 corner adult died on hibernation too... so not really success... babies started to eat fairly well with some guys that never started to eat. hoping to have good CB Vipera berus population for everyone to enjoy! Someday maybe...

it would be great to hear something from others taht have had even some kind of success with this awesome species!
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Rainer Fesser
Systematicus
Systematicus


Male
Number of posts : 564
Age : 67
Location : Austria
Points : 4019
Registration date : 2008-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Tue 6 Jul - 2:26

Hello Stuart,

I used to breed V. berus regularly many years ago but they were V. berus bosniensis. Their requirements concerning climate are a bit different from those V. berus berus have, but they also need cool to cold nights and cold hibernation.

A guy in Lower Austria breeds V. berus berus from a place in the Austrian alps (altitude about 2000m) regularly. He hibernates them cold and keeps them at 12° from spring to autumn with a spotlight that heats an area of about a quarter of the terrarium up to a maximum of 35-40° at daytime.
He breeds the snakes regularly, most of the babies take pinkies from the beginning. This fact amazed me the most as almost none of the V. berus from that area, adults, juveniles or babies, that I ever kept (only for short periods for a research-project) accepted any food except mice that live in that area, lizards or frogs (Rana temporaria).

Looking forward to the fotos,
Rainer
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Stuart Dickie



Male
Number of posts : 4
Age : 39
Location : York, UK
Points : 2586
Registration date : 2010-07-03

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Tue 6 Jul - 2:43

Joni & Rainer,

Thanks for the replies. I am also amazed Adders from a high altitude, cool climate have been successfully kept. I was thinking animals captured from warmer parts of their range would be better suited to a captive environment. I have heard reports Alpine Adders often take Grass Hoppers and such when born (amongst other species).

I wonder if a brumation period is given, that maybe the temperatures just aren't cool enough, because if kept slightly warm during brumation and not fed, then the metabolic rate might be increased leading to slow starvation? This is why I am interested if anyone keeps them heated and attempt to feed year round.

I know several areas to see Adders, but I specifically chose a location to acquire a pair based on the habitats ability to maintain rodent population so conversion to defrost rodents in captivity would be less of a problem. Areas with high lizard populations were ignored based on the assumption that Adders from that location would be accustomed to lizards.

Basically when I looked for a location I took into consideration seed trees and fruit bearing bushes to support a healthy mouse population. This logic appears to have worked out good for me, or I just got lucky, as mine take both mice and baby rats.
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Rainer Fesser
Systematicus
Systematicus


Male
Number of posts : 564
Age : 67
Location : Austria
Points : 4019
Registration date : 2008-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Wed 7 Jul - 4:44

Hello Stuart,

I tested a lot of different food for V. berus berus - neonates, juveniles and adults (from the eastern Alps in Austria, altitude from 1200 to just over 2000m). None of them ever took any sort of insects (what all V. ursinii of all ages did), the babies took frogs and lizards (Zootoca vivipara), sometimes baby-mice (microtus-species) the juveniles and adults all took mice that live in their habitat but almost none of them accepted Mus musculus (wild or captive-bred ones) as food.

In our research area you could find lots of mice of any species that inhabit that area.

I think the key for breeding them is a long cold hibernation. All V. b. berus that I had during that period stopped eating in autumn. With the V. berus bosniensis it was the same, breeding only worked if they were hibernated.

I wish you much luck with your´s, they are very interesting animals.

Rainer
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Stuart Dickie



Male
Number of posts : 4
Age : 39
Location : York, UK
Points : 2586
Registration date : 2010-07-03

PostSubject: Re: Captive Vipera berus   Mon 19 Jul - 20:42

Apologies for not showing pictures yet, the female is just in slough!
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