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Posted by froggystyle34 on April 15, 2003 at 16:30:11:
In Reply to: There's a little more to think about... posted by oldherper on April 15, 2003 at 07:53:50:
:I sort of watched this thread for a bit to see where it was going before weighing in on it. Understand, this is only my opinion....not to be taken necessarily as gospel.
:I think you have to first realize that there are different ways to meet the same snake's needs as far as security and adequate housing.
:Next, you have to take into account that there are different types of keepers. There are people who keep only a few snakes strictly for personal pleasure and want to have aesthetically pleasing housing for the snakes. This obviously requires a lot of room, and will necessarily limit the number of animals most people can keep. It also requires more time per animal to maintain the cages.
:Next, there are people who breed the animals. Many times this is, to one degree or another, a commercial enterprise. The average breeder may house a dozen or more breeder animals of each species he works with. If you work with 8 or 10 different species, this can run into hundreds of breeder animals. Then during the hatch/birthing seasons, you have to house the offspring. This may sometimes necessitate housing (at least temporarily) thousands of animals. In this case, you must maximize available space and make the maintenance as easy and efficient as possible. This will require the use of rack systems. Not as aesthetically pleasing as a large tank with lots of plants, limbs, rocks, etc., but much more efficient while still meeting the animal's needs. If you have a couple of hundred animals around, it it simply not possible to monitor and regulate thermal gradients, humidity requirements, etc. for each individual animal. Racks allow you to control this simultaneously for anywhere from 20 to 60 or more cages per rack. During the hatch season, in a particular breeder's operation, you may find hundreds of hatchlings housed (until sale) in deli cups. Because snakes need contact security and hatchlings don't need a lot of room (and in the wild spend most of their time hiding anyway) this meets the requirements of the animal. It's not a good permanent housing option, obviously, but these animals will be sold (hopefully) soon to a new home with larger, more elaborate housing. Rack systems are also used for large scale importers (bringing about it's own quarantine and desease control issues)and wholesalers. It is also used in zoos to house off-display specimens and in many research facilities.
:Lastly, you have the pet store type operations. Most of these that I've seen barely meet the animal's needs if they meet them at all. They typically use 10 or 15 gallon aquariums with screen tops, have gravely inadequate thermal controls and are usually dirty. The animals normally are not provided adequate hiding facilities because that would be counter-productive to displaying the animal for sale. They also typically practice no quarantine of new animals at all because the idea is to keep the animal for as short a time as possible.
:As far as keeping little snakes in big cages, if you are only keeping a few and space isn't an issue, personally I don't see a problem. So long as the animal has small areas to hide within the big space that allow proper thermoregulation options, it should be fine. Typically if an animal is stressed because of security issues, he will go off feed. If that happens, just put him in a small cage where he feels secure. As long as he's feeding and appears healthy in the big cage he should be OK.
::you would not be "cramming" hides all over the place. a hide can be anything from a silk plant laying on the floor to a couple of half logs that all can make the tank look a whole lot better. i have a 2.5 foot boa in a 4x2x2 cage for now, and he has like 4 hides in there, two of them are rocks, and two plants that he uses for hides. he also has a branch with vines wrapped around it that he hides in sometimes. like i said not all hides are old shoe boxes and such they can be decorative if you use your imagination.