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Posted by chris_harper2 on April 25, 2003 at 23:44:34:
In Reply to: Rack design questions posted by Jeannie on April 25, 2003 at 16:54:07:
:I'm working on designing a rack to house a small collection of corn/kingsnakes and rosy boas. I have a few questions and hope to get some answers here.
:1) I'm looking at Rubbermaid/Sterlite underbed boxes for the collubrids, but the boxes are only 6-7" high. Is that high enough, or do they need some climbing room (mine do seem to climb a bit)?
First, if you're looking for a box that size I much prefer the Iris CB-110 or CB-70. They have reinforced bottoms and will be much more durable and escape proof due to their extra rigidity.
Second, Cornsnakes will climb if you provide them with the space to do it. Whether you provide it should be based on your personal preferences and needs.
:2) If the shelves are approx. 40" wide, will I have a problem with sagging in the middle? Will melamine shelves combat this problem?
Melamine coated particle board does tend to stay pretty straight, even at a 40" length.
Are you making the boxes slide in width-wise or length-wise. The latter will provide more stability for the shelves and be more escape proof overall. Anytime I build a rack with boxes over 24" long I always make them so the boxes slide in length-wise.
I think the previous poster mentioned building racks that still utilize the lids of the boxes. These can actually be LESS secure depending on the design of the box so I'm extremly skeptical to recommend them. I could go into this more if you want.
:3) How much of a gap should I have between the shelf above and the top of the box? Will I be able to keep neonate rosies in a lidless system (I'm thinking not...)? If I need to keep lids on my neonates, will their humidity stay low enough?
Shoot for 1/8" with the adults. It's always easier to fill in too great of a gap than to increase it if your shelves swell a bit, etc.
I house neonates of most snakes in shoeboxes with the lids on, but make sure to find a lid that is completely smooth so the shelf above it can hold the lid down securely.
I do know that Common Kingsnakes and even many of the small species of Lampropeltis can be kept in lidless rack systems as hatchlings but I'm not sure if I recommend it. Cornsnakes have also been kept in these setups. I have no idea about hatchling Lichanura.
These are questions better asked on the specific forums. For what it's worth, I know many large L. triangulum breeders keep their neonates in lidless rack systems so if they can't get out not much else will. But a lot of this can depend on the quality of construction and variance within the boxes.
:4) How many rows of holes are required for adequate ventilation in a lidless system? A lidded system?
Totally depends on 1) the species in question, 2) conditions in your home, 3) conditions of your local climate, 4) how you have the boxes setup (substrate, etc.), and 5) how much supplemental heat gradient you provide and where it's situated relative to the water bowl.
But don't worry. It's very easy to add or fill ventilation holes as needed.
:Thanks very much to all who answer!