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Posted by oldherper on April 27, 2003 at 22:12:38:
In Reply to: Please elaborate on lidded v. lidless systems-- posted by Jeannie on April 26, 2003 at 19:41:53:
When I design and buld my racks, I design them so that the boxes slide into the shelves with a small amount of friction, so there is NO possiblility of movement up and down. Then I make the boxes (actually the lids) touch each other on the sides. That eliminates the possibility of the plastic "bowing" out to the sides. I use Sterilite sweater boxes for adult snakes which have a flat raised perimeter on the lid so the that shelf above the box is making slight contact with the lid all the way around. The smaller shoeboxes don't present a problem anyway.
I have used lidless systems in the past also, with good results. As a matter of fact, the first rack system I ever used was a lidless system with the old clear shoeboxes. I copied it from one that was in use at the zoo in Tyler, Texas about 20 something years ago. I have never had anything even close to an escape from either a lidless or lidless system. (That's not to say I've never had an escape, but they were all from aquariums with screen tops). The only real problem I have ever had with lidless systems involved feeding response. When you are keeping a large number of snakes (250 to 300) it is impossible to feed them all outside their cages. There just isn't enough time. When you throw a large number of venomous species into the mix, then you have a real possibility of getting bitten removing a lidless box from the rack.
:Also, where can I get those Iris boxes you mentioned (I've only found smaller sizes of Iris).
:Thanks for the info. and help!
:::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!