Saturday 18 January 1997 (Daily Telegraph)
Pet of the week
THE king snake is a ferocious reptile that eats other
snakes, even those its own size. Yet it also makes a very
Charlie, a king snake, belongs to Nigel Marven, a
wildlife film-maker. Nigel and his wife, the television
presenter Jenny Hull, have a large collection of reptiles
which includes a python, a bull snake and a hog-nosed
He bought Charlie partly because he needed some close-ups
of him for A Rattlesnake's Tale, which will be broadcast
on Febuary 6 in the Incredible Journeys series on BBC1.
"King snakes can eat rattlesnakes because they are
immune to their venom," says Marven, whose film
shows a king snake doing just this.
At their Bristol home, Charlie is given a more prosaic
diet of dead baby mice, which Jenny feeds him using a
small pair of tongs. "I felt a sort of reluctance
about picking them up at first," she says.
If you would like a king snake, you should choose only
captive-bred creatures from a specialist reptile dealer
rather than an ordinary pet shop (which may sell snakes
in poor condition).
For a free king snake care sheet, send an sae to the
British Herpetological Society, c/o Zoological Society of
London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY.
'Incredible Journeys' (BBC Books, £14.99), by Nigel
Marven, accompanies the series.