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Re: Primary and secondary retreats


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Posted by Rob Carmichael on January 28, 2003 at 07:02:39:

In Reply to: Primary and secondary retreats posted by DeanAlessandrini on January 27, 2003 at 13:12:47:

Great info Dean. I particularly like your comment about utilizing larger cages (I do too) as it affords the keeper the opportunity to truly enjoy watching these animals natural behavior (and it sure is a lot easier to establish thermal gradients conducive to this particular species' needs). I, too, have noticed this not only with indigos, but with some of the other herps in our collection; particularly our timber rattlesnakes, eastern massasaugas and gila monsters. Just goes to show how important it is that people like you who have been in the field observing these snakes share this info with private hobbyists/breeders so we can better understand their natural behavior. In the field, I have noticed eastern milksnakes to exhibit similar behavior. Some of these milksnakes cover 2 square miles of "territory" in search of food. They basically have "snake motels" set up utilizing several sites consisting primarily of rock/boulder piles (primary retreats) but can also be found under rotting logs on route to these primary retreats (they actually utilize several primary retreats as opposed to the indigos you mention who seem to prefer one primary area for denning). There's always something to learn!


:Just a tidbit that I’ve found interesting.

:Wild eastern indigos tend to have their “primary” retreat, like a burrow or something very deep and secure, and then they also utilize retreats above the ground (like under bushes etc) during the day when they are “away from home” (home being their primary retreat.) They tend to always return to their “home”, however at night. They have shown to be very loyal to particular primary retreats and return to them again and again.

:I have my cages set up with a cool dark, “primary” retreat, and have recently started to add “secondary retreats” in the warmer part of the cage. I initially did this with a pair of ’01 easterns…and it’s pretty cool the way they are acting.

:It seems they LOVE the secondary retreat during the daylight hours. They will roam around the cage and thermoregulate…then retire to the secondary retreat for a while, then back out…etc during the day.

:But at NIGHT…when the lights are out…guess where they are? ALMOST ALWAYS, and as soon as the lights are out…they head for the security of the primary retreat.

:If you have room (my cages are all at least 6’)…I highly suggest using the secondary retreat in the warm part of the cage. This allows them to have security AND thermoregulate at the same time…so they are not forced to choose between heat and security.

:It makes them happier too. (they told me so)
:





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