Meet Λαθραία and Τολμροδ

Resources & Education:

Meet Λαθραία…

and Τολμροδ.

They are brothers from the same litter; and, they were born on 10-April-2021.

I took possession and custody of them on 28-May-2021, from Mark, Owner of East Coast Constrictors in Melbourne, Florida.

Garter snakes may be cold-blooded; but, they are far from cold-hearted in my research of them and my limited interactions with them as a new owner of two baby garter snakes. I hope this BLOG will convey my assertion to you regarding the wonderful hearts these two beings have in their world and mine.

Τολμροδ and Λαθραία are from the family of Colubrids and sub-family, Natricinae. They are from the genus Thamnophis and from the species, sirtalis: Common Garter Snakes.

From the Common Garter Snakes, comes sub-species. Sub-species are usually, not always, based upon a specific color pattern and/or specific location. For example, the Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia.

The Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia has specific colors not seen in any other garter snakes in the world; and, the Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia can only be found in the San Francisco Bay Area — nowhere else in the world. Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia is an endangered species and illegal to own in the United States.

Τολμροδ and Λαθραία are common garter snakes found in Florida. They are specifically known, in layman’s language, as the Florida Blue and Gold Common Garter Snakes. These particular garter snakes have the blue strain color.

The sub-species of Τολμροδ and Λαθραία is Thamnophis sirtalis similis.

In layman’s language, this sub-species is called, the Blue-striped Garter Snake, which is found in Florida.

If you wanna drill down deeper about the Thamnophis sirtalis, you can search the Internet; this was just a quick summary of Τολμροδ and Λαθραία’s lineage.

Τολμροδ and Λαθραία are captive-bred and captive-raised. These two features are important to me; because, I only purchase captive-bred and captive-raised pets.

I don’t believe in taking animals from the wild and making them pets. I just don’t feel morally responsible for removing an animal from its home for my own selfish pleasure. I am cognizant, at one point in time, wild animals had to be caught in order to create captive-bred and captive-raised animals for guys like me to purchase…I appreciate that; I just feel that once the animal breeders have established captive-bred and captive-raised animals you want, then the breeders should be source of getting your animals as pets instead to removing a wild animal from his or her home.

This BLOG will record my time with Τολμροδ and Λαθραία.

Oh, I forgot to give a little information about the names I gave them. I took several Greek course studies while doing my undergraduate studies, and I just enjoy the language and culture; hence, I based my naming conventions of both my babies on my Greek studies.

Λαθραία: Lathraía: Pronounced: La-thray-yah. His name, in Greek, means Stealth.

Τολμροδ: Tolmirós: Pronounced: Tole-mee-rose. His name, in Greek, means Bold.

31-May-2021, @ 1030 Hours PDT:

Yesterday, 30-May-2021, I offered them chicken liver; and, Λαθραία did not come out to eat. He ate tilapia last Wednesday in Florida before jumping on the plane to San Francisco, CA. So, I’m hoping he will eat today.

Of course, Τολμροδ, boldly ate three servings yesterday: pinky torso and two big pieces of chicken liver.

Today, I will prepare for them sushi-grade salmon. The fishes that I prepare for Τολμροδ and Λαθραία are Non Thiaminase Fish: tilapia, salmon, and trout. Many thanks to Emily and Ed, Owner & Founder of Snake Discovery. If you’re gonna get into reptiles, of any genus, please check out Snake Discovery — they cover not only snakes but almost all reptiles you will encounter for your journey in reptile husbandry. Please read up on Thiaminase and Non Thiaminase Fish.

From yesterday’s feeding, I learned that the food stuck to the feeding-lid; hence, this time, I will use wax paper, as their feeding dish.

Ahh…much better. Τολμροδ easily pulled a big chunk of salmon flesh.

When I feed them sushi-grade fishes, I add calcium and multi-vitamin powder. I do the same when feeding them chicken hearts and chicken livers.

When I feed them pinkies, I use the calcium powder; because, pinkies don’t have bones; but, they are high in protein, and low in fat; hence, I don’t need to use the multi-vitamin powder. As Τολμροδ and Λαθραία get older, I will consider feeding them live pinkies, and I will eventually get them on hoppers.

When I get them eating chicken feet, I will coat the chicken feet with the multi-vitamin powder. I won’t be serving them the entire foot; I will only serve them the digits of the chicken foot. I’m guessing the chicken digits’ bones and tendons will provide Τολμροδ and Λαθραία with the calcium they need when I serve them pinkies, chicken livers or sushi-grade salmon, tilapia, or trout.

After thoughtful deliberation, I’ve decided against feeding Τολμροδ and Λαθραία live fish and live frogs and toads. I also decided against earthworms. The reason being is parasites. These live food items carry parasites; and, if Τολμροδ and Λαθραία eat them, they will get parasites — that’s a big deal-breaker for me. I might consider feeding them frog-legs. Anyway, I’m still working on creating a food menu for them that provides them with high nutrition, variety, and safety.

I’m concerned that Λαθραία hasn’t eaten since he arrive to his new home. Hopefully, he will eat tomorrow; I will serve them tilapia, which is the food they have been consistently eating while living in Melbourne, Florida.

2-June-2021, @ 0954 Hours PDT:

I am so happy! I found a shed; and, it’s from Λαθραία. He had been in hiding since he moved into his new mansion; and, I was really concerned; because, he wasn’t eating, drinking water, nor exploring his new mansion. He had been hiding in the den I made.

Mark, East Coast Constrictors, told me to leave him alone until he is done with his shed-cycle. While in shed-cycle, snakes can’t see all that well, and they aren’t in the mood of moving around…after all, if they can’t see all that well, I can understand they would feel vulnerable to predation. Also, they don’t have an appetite.

I removed Λαθραία’s shed from his home, and I fed it to the super-worms, which are food for Arogog, my tarantula.

After I removed Λαθραία’s shed, Τολμροδ came over to see me, and he and I were establishing eye contact with each other.

All of a sudden, he took off, and he headed up-stage. I did not know the reason. It was sudden.

Little did I know, he detected the presence of his brother, Λαθραία, up-stage. Do you see him up-stage?

For the first time, Λαθραία came out on his own after his shed; and, his brother, Τολμροδ, raced to greet Λαθραία.

They gave each other a hug. Such a beautiful experience for me to witness. Like I wrote earlier in this BLOG…Τολμροδ and Λαθραία may be cold-blooded, but they are definitely NOT cold-hearted.

After the hug, Λαθραία took off — he had a lot of exploring to do — understandable…after all, he had been in the den for almost a week; so, I’m sure he wanted to stretch out and race around a bit for his first day out.

His brother, Τολμροδ, did some cobra-poses for me near his den. He loves doing Vogue poses for the camera — Λαθραία doesn’t like the camera — he is camera-shy and seldom poses for the camera. Τολμροδ shed before arriving to San Francisco, and his colors are vibrantly stunning.

Do you see that bulge in Τολμροδ’s mid-section?

That’s the food he ate: two large pieces of chicken liver…

and three large pieces of sushi-grade salmon filets.

Λαθραία’s new skin is so vibrant with colors. He explored his new home for most of the day; and, I enjoyed watching him go here and there flickering his tongue.

Very busy little guy!

I tried to get Λαθραία to eat, but he wasn’t interested; he was too busy racing around his new home checking out the new sights and new smells.

Look at his vibrant colors after his shed. Both he and his brother are stunningly and strikingly beautiful! I just adore them!

I will be elated once Λαθραία eats. I’m still worried that he hasn’t eaten nor drunk any water.

3-June-2021, @ 0845 Hours PDT:

Finally! Λαθραία ate and drank water!

I presented him with one pinky and three pieces of sushi-grade salmon. He did the flicker to get the chemical stuff in the air that the flesh of the mouse and salmon are giving off. Once the chemicals landed on his tongue, he processed the chemicals and determined, “yup — it’s food!” He ate the whole thing! I’m elated!

Keep on eating — you have a lot of catching up to do!

Mmm, yummy — mouse guts — the head of the mouse is in that pile too!

Ahh, good job! You got the mouse head!

More organs — vitamin enriched! All the stuff for a healthy Thamnophis sirtalis!

More mouse organs!

Sushi-grade salmon is one of my favorite nigiris, too — enjoy!

4-June-2021, @ 0905 Hours PDT:

Trust is one of the beautiful gifts an animal can give to me; and, when I get an animal’s trust, I’m overwhelmed with joy; and, I hold that animal’s trust dear to me and don’t ever take advantage of that trust.

Τολμροδ has been coming up to me and establishing eye contact with me; hence, I asked the Trinity if this was the time to Τολμροδ establish hand-feeding with him.

So, I pulled out a piece of salmon; I opened the door; and, I presented the salmon to Τολμροδ with my hand; and, after a few tongue flickers at the salmon, while in my hand, he gently accepted the salmon; and, he at it in front of me.

I was elated and honored. We are building a trusting relationship. I wish I could have filmed it, but it was impromptu — next time, I will set the camera up and film the transaction.

Some experienced snake owners recommend using tongs instead of direct hand-feeding; because, snakes sometime don’t know where their food ends and might mistakenly bite the finger holding the food. So, I will consider tongs in the future. At least in my first direct hand-feeding session with Τολμροδ, he was gentle in taking the salmon from my finger.

Λαθραία spent all day in his den. I guess all that eating he did yesterday, 3-June-2021, he needed today to rest and let his body digest the pinky and salmon.

I did some more research of food items…I am gonna add chicken feet to their diet. In all, their diet will consist of chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken feet, pinkies, and sushi-grade, salmon, tilapia, and trout.

6-June-2021, @ 0930 Hours PDT:

Τολμροδ is in blue; hence, I left him alone. Look at his eye and body’s coloration; they have a dull bluish-gray tint to them. Those are physical signs he is in his shed-cycle; and, he will shed very soon.

I picked up Λαθραία. Although he is a bit shy than his brother, he is use to me and has identified me as a non threat these days. I picked him up, and we spent an hour just doing hand-over-hand and resting on my hand checking out the sights and smells outside of his mansion.

He seems to be intrigued by my Bougainvilleas; he spent a considerable amount of time staring at it.

I like the shininess of his skin; it was picking up the colors of my Bougainvilleas. He just kept looking at them and staring out the window. A jogger jogged past my window, and Λαθραία tracked him. I really enjoyed bonding with him.

Both he and his brother are very calm in my hand, and they have not taken on any offensive behaviors against me: biting or musking.

Λαθραία finished his shed cycle last week; and, I am anxiously awaiting his brother to finish his shed cycle. His colors will be amazing.

After my time with Λαθραία, I returned him back to his mansion; and, he spent most of the day in stealth mode — camouflaged at his favorite basking site.

For this reason, I named him Λαθραία.

His brother, Τολμροδ, is more out in the open; and, for this reason, I named him, Τολμροδ.

Λαθραία does do some venturing outside; he’s on his way to the den to check up and be with his brother, Τολμροδ, who is blue right now and being a recluse in the den until he is ready to shed.

At least both of them are no longer hugging the sides of the walls to get around their mansion — they are traveling in the open section of the mansion to cut across to and from their den.

Both have been eating; and, I’ve seen noticeable growth since having them in my home. I hope they continue to be healthy and grow. I really enjoy their company; and, I’m honored to be part of their lives.

It’s sleepy-time for them, and I had another great day with them.

9-June-2021, @ 1130 Hours PDT:

Guess who shed?

Τολμροδ.

I got to observe him shed for the first time while being under my care. I’m very happy with my work thus far…why?

Because, with the help of Snake Discovery, I created a home for Τολμροδ and Λαθραία that is not only cool-looking BUT also functional.

When Τολμροδ shed, I observed him using the humidity box the day before; then, when he shed, I observed him burrow into the substrate and crawl out of his old skin. The shed wasn’t broken into pieces — the shed was one whole piece, just like his brother’s shed, which means the humidity is properly set, and the substrate is rough enough for Τολμροδ and Λαθραία to use during their shedding process.

I’m very happy with my work thus far with my build and design of Τολμροδ and Λαθραί’s home.

Area(s) of improvement:

I want to get them in a feeding cycle.

I will feed them pinkies tomorrow, 10-June-2021.

10-June-2021, @ 1230 Hours PDT:

After a nice one-piece shed, Τολμροδ had to show off his new vibrant colors — he is showing more and more blue with each new outfit. 😀 I happened to catch him during his afternoon stroll. He seems to think he can get pass the glass wall and explore the desert.

After finding out that ain’t happening, he caught the scent of the pinky I set out for him.

I gave a lateral slit from the head of the pinky down to the butt of the pinky.

I didn’t record it nor take pictures of Τολμροδ’s take of one half of the pinky; because, I didn’t have my iPhone 12 Pro set up. Presently, he is taking care of the half he took into his den. The other have awaits a second serving should he choose to come back for seconds. I don’t know if he will; the half he took was pretty big.

I wish Τολμροδ and Λαθραί would feed at the same time. As it presently stands, they eat at alternate days.

I’m just grateful and thank the Trinity that Τολμροδ and Λαθραί are eating, appear to be happy with their mansion, and are healthy so far.

Ha! Ok, I think Λαθραί smelled the pinky on Τολμροδ, and I think Λαθραί pulled the pinky into his den; but, the pinky got stuck on the wax paper and was dragged into the den. I will give it some time and retract the wax paper. I can also check out both their guts to see who at the last half of the pinky.

I’m gonna have to figure out a way to resolve the food from sticking to the wax paper. Maybe, I moisten the food before laying it on the wax paper. I will work it out.

Τολμροδ’s new vibrant colors after his shed mesmerizes me. He looks great, and he is showing more blue in his scales.

Most importantly, he and I are bonding very well. I held him for about an hour yesterday, 09-June-2021. During that hour, he spend a lot of focus studying my hands and scent. More touching, is he indicated he want to get to my face; so, I brought his to my face, and he gave me many snake kisses. It was truly a heart-warming experience for me. Now, he doesn’t run from me whenever I open the doors to his mansion. He comes up, looks and me; and, when I extend my hand to him, he comes to lick it; and, today, was the first time he came to my hand when I extended it out to him. I’m so happy about our developing and ongoing bond.

He is so use to my hand; he just comfortably rests in my hand after he finds his spot.

I think he likes my Croix de Loraine team ring.

After handling Τολμροδ for almost an hour, I returned him to his mansion, and he stretched all out showing off his new vibrant colors.

Then, he came back down-stage and just kept looking at me.

Thanks Trinity for another blessed day with Τολμροδ and Λαθραί. I can’t wait for the blessings that tomorrow will bring.

Right now, Τολμροδ and Λαθραί are comfortably sleeping in their den. I’m so happy to have them. Yeah!

11-June-2021, @ 0950 Hours PDT:

Τολμροδ was out basking; so, I put out one pinky and one chicken digit, and he ate the whole thing. Now, he’s resting and letting his big meal digest.

I made some changes to their mansion. I changed the water dish from the 5” ceramic water dish to a Trader Joe’s almond butter plastic lid.

Yesterday, I noticed Τολμροδ’s tongue almost got stuck on the edge of the 5” ceramic water dish. As a baby Thamnophis sirtalis, this is pretty dangerous. The new water dish, the Trader Joe’s Almond Butter lid, is perfect. The edges are thin, so if Τολμροδ and Λαθραί flick their tongues at the edge/rim of the lit, they won’t run the risk of their tongues sticking to the rim. Also, they don’t have to go deep to get contact with the water.

The other adjustment I made was changing their soaking dish to a plastic take-out container lid from my leftovers from The Cheesecake Factory.

The glass bowl is just to big and deep for Τολμροδ and Λαθραί right now. When they get older, I will introduce the glass bowl to them. The lid is more shallow, and Τολμροδ and Λαθραί can skim over the water or soak in it.

The final adjust I did was change the halogen basking light from daylight white to daylight blue.

The Day Blue halogen light, at 25 Watts, provides the basking temperature without the harsh yellowish light. The Day Blue Light puts out a bluish tint — softer for the eyes.

Twenty-five watts is perfect. Under the direct light, the temperature is 110-degrees, and the surrounding area of the direct light, ranges from 86-degrees to 96-degrees. Τολμροδ and Λαθραί seem to like this halogen light better than the 25-Watt Day White Halogen light.

So far so good…I think these latest adjustments work well for Τολμροδ and Λαθραί. Ambient internal daytime temperature is ~80-degrees F. Ambient internal nighttime temperature is ~76-degrees F.

Humidity during the day is 35-40%; and, humidity during the night is 45-60%. Τολμροδ and Λαθραί have their humidity box if they need more humidity; I also mist up-stage in the mornings and midday to get the humidity up.

I will continue to monitor the lighting, temperature, humidity, and other aspects of their mansion and make adjustments as needed.

11-June-2010, @ 2010 Hours PDT:

In the stealth of the night, for the first time, I observed Λαθραί hunting for food; so, I put out a pinky for him; since, he refused food during the day, unlike his brother.

Λαθραί took a whole pinky just like his brother did during the day. After Λαθραί took the whole pinky, I chopped up two chicken feet knuckles and coated it with vitamin supplements, like I did for his brother today. Let’s see if Λαθραί has the appetite to put away those two chicken feet knuckles. Fingers crossed. Yup — he took them five minutes after I put them out.

Great! I’m so happy Λαθραί ate. I guess that will be the feeding cycle — Τολμροδ during the day; and, Λαθραί during the early evening.

I chose the perfect names for them — I was spot on!