Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (2024)

The tentacled snake has a flat head, is short, thin, and has fangs on its back and tentacles on its face. Tentacle snakes are native to Southeast Asia, where they can be found in shallow water environments where they search for fish, frogs, and crabs.

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (1)

Given that this species becomes stressed in unfavorable or shifting water conditions and is only mildly poisonous, tentacled snakes are relatively challenging to care for and are best kept as display-only pets.

Summary of Tentacled Snakes

Common nameTentacled snake, tentacle snake
Scientific nameErpeton tentaculatum
Natural habitatStreams, ditches, and brackish water in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia
Adult size20–30 inches
Average lifespan10–20 years
Housing20 gallons minimum, 77–82°F, and 55–60% humidity


Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (2)
Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (3)
Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (4)
Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (5)
Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (6)
Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (7)

The tentacled snake (Erpeton tentaculatum) is native to Asia, where it can be found in the murky, shallow, and warm waters of rice fields, lakes, and slow-moving streams.

Tentacle snakes may survive in fresh, brackish, and ocean water. The snakes are nocturnal and spend the majority of the day laying in the water’s weeds, waiting to pounce on passing prey. In the wild, tentacled snakes are not regarded as threatened or endangered.

Manifestation and conduct

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (8)

The flat-headed tentacled snake has a short, thin body with rough scales. Two frequent hues of the snake are light brown with dark stripes and dark gray with light brown mottling. The snake’s hues and markings serve as camouflage, making it appear more like a branch or twig than a snake waiting to pounce on its prey.

The two tiny tentacles on the tip of the snout, which serve as sensing organs and are supposed to aid the snakes in locating their prey, are what give tentacled snake its common name. Small fangs in the back of the snakes’ mouths discharge venom to paralyze their small prey.

Male and female tentacle snakes are identical in terms of size and morphological characteristics since they are not sexually dimorphic.

Size and Duration

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (9)

Small snakes, measuring 20 to 30 inches on average, are tentacled snakes. Some snakes can reach lengths of 35 inches in the wild.

A tentacled snake typically lives about 14 years. A snake of this species should have a minimum lifespan of ten years and a maximum lifespan of twenty years in captivity.


The tentacled snake is a gregarious snake that spends the most of its time slithering through covert locations or swimming around the tank in search of prey. Because this species isn’t known to be hostile or territorial, many tentacle snakes can be kept together in a big tank.

Aquatic creatures include tentacled snakes. They spend the most of their time underwater and are almost powerless on land. Although the snakes are friendly and approachable, Handling them only sometimes is advised because this species grows anxious when removed from the water. Tentacle snakes are known to become stressed in small, dirty tanks.

Tentacled snakes’ residence

In humid environments, murky, slow-moving waters are the tentacled snake’s native habitat. Set up a safe, water-based aquarium with lots of swimming room to ensure the snake is content and at ease while in captivity. A glass aquarium is the ideal home for a tentacled snake.

Case dimensions

A single tentacled snake needs an enclosure that holds 20 liters of water. A 55-gallon tank or more is required for a group of three or more tentacle snakes. A tentacled snake’s aquarium should have water that is 6 to 12 inches deep. Snakes don’t require a place on land to live because they can breathe by swimming to the water’s surface.


Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (10)

Tentacled snakes need a typical day-to-night light cycle while in captivity, which can be accomplished by putting the tank in a space with windows that let in natural light or by adding artificial lights to the underside of the tank’s cover. Even if your tank is located in a room that is well-lit, install lighting if you intend to add plants to the tank to make sure they have adequate light to develop.

Although tentacled snakes do not require UVB to thrive, UVB aids in the synthesis of vitamin D and may enhance the snake’s color and level of activity. It is not required to install UVB illumination within the cage.

Thermodynamics and Humidity

In order to replicate the natural water temperatures of the snake’s natural habitat, a tentacled snake enclosure must have a temperature range of 77 to 82°F. To reach the desired temperature, use an aquarium heater, and use a thermometer to check the temperature. Maintain a constant temperature to shield the tentacle snake from stress and illness.

A tentacled snake enclosure should have a humidity level of between 55% and 60%. If the water heater is adjusted to the proper temperature, the enclosure’s humidity levels are maintained by the water naturally evaporating from the tank.

Substance and Adornment

In an enclosure for a tentacled snake, no substrate is necessary. However, to enhance the tank’s aesthetic, natural, non-abrasive substrates like gravel or sand can be employed. Because tentacled snakes aren’t known to consume substrate, it is acceptable to utilize substrate in their enclosure.

Give the tentacled snake logs, rocks, and underwater vines to anchor to while hunting. For anchoring purposes and to give the tank a natural appearance, live or artificial plants may also be employed. Tentacled snakes don’t require any special bedding to sleep because they are submerged.


Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (11)

To maintain consistently clean water in your aquarium for tentacled snakes, install a filter. Since the snakes produce a lot of waste, a powerful filter, such as a submersible or sump-style filter, is required. To maintain hygienic conditions, regardless of the filter you employ, you should also change around 25% of the water in the tank once a week.

Every one or two weeks, test the water for nitrates and ammonia in addition to filtering to make sure there are no more than 2 ppm of nitrates and 0 ppm of ammonia present.

Empty and thoroughly clean the tank every two months. While you clear out the main tank, move your tentacled snake to a another tank with water. Wipe down the surfaces with reptile tank cleaning supplies, and warm water should be used to soak the tank decorations. Use of soap or other substances that aren’t safe for snakes should be avoided.

Care of Tentacled Snake

The tentacled snake requires little maintenance. To prevent stress and illness in captivity, this snake needs a nutritious, high-protein food and clean, warm, slow-flowing water.

Water and Food

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (12)

In captivity, tentacled snakes prefer eating live food like tiny feeder fish. A tentacle snake will eat bettas, rosy barbs, feeder goldfish, minnows, mollies, and guppies among other things.

Allowing the tentacled snake to eat anytime it wants (the snakes typically consume 20 to 30 2-inch fish each week), keep a school of 30 to 50 fish in the tank. If the fish supply runs out, replenish it.

The food of young tentacle snakes is the same as that of adult snakes. To prevent the fish from hurting the snake, make sure the feeder fish are no larger than one-fourth the snake’s length.

Given that they spend the most of their time immersed below, tentacled snakes don’t require a special water bowl.

Realated reading: Elephant Trunk Snake Care


When handled, tentacled snakes are calm and unlikely to bite. If the snakes mistake your hand for food, they can strike out. This kind of water snake may grow agitated and ill if handled for an extended period of time.

Because the stomach muscles of the tentacle snake aren’t made to support its weight on land, lifting a snake could result in internal damage. Handle tentacled snakes only if absolutely required, such as when moving the snake from one water-based tank to another or doing a medical exam.

Typical Health Problems

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (13)

Tentacled snakes are strong, healthy snakes that don’t often become sick. The main reason for these snakes’ health problems is poor living conditions.

As a fully aquatic animal, the tentacle snake may experience internal and external problems if it spends too much time on land. Ensure the snake has constant access to water and secure the tank lid to prevent the snake from fleeing to avoid these injuries.

The tentacled snake may experience psychological and physical health issues due to fluctuating or inadequate water conditions. High quantities of ammonia and nitrate in the water can harm a snake, resulting in signs including lethargy, a reduced ability to feed, and fading color. Install a powerful filter to get rid of these impurities and test the water once a week for nitrate and ammonia.


Depending on their age and rate of growth, tentacle snakes lose their skin every few weeks to every few months. The algae that the snakes develop on their skin is shed as they shed their skin.

As soon as you see shed skin in the water, remove it to maintain the water clean.


Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (14)

Tentacled snakes are difficult to reproduce in captivity, and little is known about the breeding procedure. Tentacle snakes reach sexual maturity between the ages of three and five, when they give birth to live young.

Keep three or four male and female tentacle snakes together in a healthy setting with high-quality water for the best chance of breeding success.

How to Select and Purchase a Tentacled Snake

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (15)

A tentacled snake can cost between $200 and $350. Due to the difficulty of rearing this species, tentacle snakes are typically caught in the wild and imported from the United States. Look for trustworthy breeders who will make sure the snakes are transported safely, lowering the danger of disease for the amphibians.

When selecting a tentacled snake, make sure it has typical eating habits, smooth, shining scales, and eyes that are clear and alert. Avoid snakes that are acting lethargic, have hazy eyes, or that have pus or discharge coming from their skin, eyes, noses, or mouths.

Tentacled Snake: Care Instructions and Species Information (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated:

Views: 6141

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.