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Posted by Chance on April 23, 2003 at 13:12:28:
In Reply to: black mamba enclosure?? posted by timbo on April 23, 2003 at 10:54:28:
Though I've never kept polylepis, I have now kept viridis and angusticeps. Recently a friend of mine (who has kept a few polys) described to me the "perfect" mamba enclosure, and after hearing it, I tend to agree. I'll see if I can regurge the info here, and hopefully if I can, I'll be able to regurge it very well whenever I decide to build one of these for myself.
Assuming your cage is at least 3' tall or so (taller preferably, because even polys will frequent branches), think about a way to put all your climbing utilities toward the upper side of the cage. You can do this by either tying them up there sturdily with thick ropes or whatnot and tacking the ropes to the sides of the cage, or just nail the branches to the cage itself. You could also think about using PVC piping and run it through the sides of the cage. This way is more sanitary and easier to clean, but sucks for aesthetics. Either way though, I doubt the snake will care much. Also, have your trapbox located somewhere toward the top. Now, envision making a slit in the side that is removale through which you can slide a horizontal shift divider. This divider is placed a bit below the climbing utilities and trapbox. Now, whenver you need to change substrate or water bowl, just make sure the snake is up in the branches, and then slide in the shift to separate the bottom half from the top half. You'd of course have to make a double door system for the cage, because you'd need to have a door that opens to the bottom only and one that opens to the top for cleaning up there. Whenever you need to clean or replace the branches, this is where the trapbox comes in, so you still don't have to touch the snake.
A smaller adaptation I thought of adding to this is for mambas like polylepis that might be a bit more inclined to want to be terrestrial but still don't like to use a trap much. Place some horizontal ledges sticking off the walls with basking lights shining on them to encourage the snake to use them. That way, the snake doesn't have to be in the limbs if it doesn't want to be, but hopefully would utilize the ledges rather than the floor of the cage. The ledges would of course be situated just above where the horizontal divider is, but as low as possible to further encourage the more terrestrial-loving snakes to use.
Anyway, hope this helps. Certainly sounds like a good idea to me anyway.