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Posted by -ryan- on May 13, 2003 at 17:44:47:
Well, I still haven't convinced my parents, but I wanted to see if you guys thought I was ready for a snake (either kingsnake of some sort, or cornsnake. I was thinking about ball pythons, but I'm not sure that's the way to start). I have only looked at a few caresheets and stuff so far, but this is what I have determined:
-10 gallon tank is good until they are about 30" long. When he/she grows up, it will need at least a 29 gallon aquarium (or is it 20long?). It can be good to have something bigger, but sometimes having too large of an enclosure can make a snake feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Also, you need a very very secure cage. I am looking at working out something like straps that wrap around the tank, or something like that. I am still looking for ideas.
-Heating should be provided to get the temperature at about 80-85 (i think) on the warm side, and about 70-75 on the cool side. This can be provided by either a heating pad, or a heating lamp (I would probably use the lamp, unless you think the pad is better).
-Inside the tank should be at least a hide on the warm side, but should have a hide on the warm side and the cool side. You also need a waterbowl. Size depends on whether or not your snake likes to bath or lounge in the water. You can also add some grapevine or other branches to give the snake something to do. Some will use it and some won't (my old snake didn't ever use his, well, maybe a couple of times). You should have the cage setup so there is room for the snake to comfortably move around, but not so much room as to make it seem that there could possibly be a predator hiding nearby (I assume that's how they think). For substrate, you can use various things. Stuff like repti-bark, aspen bedding, repti-carpet (not astroturf), and other products like those (as long as they aren't cedar or pine). I think I have heard that if you use something like wood chips, you should feed the snake in a seperate container.
-You should feed smaller snakes ever 5-7 days, and larger snakes every 10-14 days. The size of the prey depends on the size of the snake. You shouldn't feed anything bigger than the thickest part of the snake (well, just a tiny bigger is okay). Also, I have heard that you can feed the snake in a seperate container (like a rubbermaid container or large garbage can or something, right?). The only thing I have been trying to figure out with this is 1.How are you supposed to get the snake out without getting bitten everytime? They are in feeding mode, so how will they know that it's you and not a mouse? 2.You are supposed to wait 2 days after feeding before handling the snake, so will moving it from the container back into the tank upset it's stomach at all? Feed Thawed frozen mice for convenience, and most importantly, safety of the snake.
-When you bring the snake home, you have to give it a few days before handling or feeding. Make sure you have everything setup for the snake at least a day before you bring it home. I think there's more, but I can't really remember right now.
-When handling the snake, it's important to realize that getting bitten is part of owning the snake. I think when I get my snake, ir it lunges at me, I'll just let it bite. That way he/she will realize that biting isn't going to get rid of me. Also, when handling, it's important to be supportive of the snake. Don't let the snake dangle down.
If I think of more, I'll add it to the list, but right now my brain is kind of drained because I had to take a crap load of tests in school.
So, do you think I am ready? Right now, I have a 10 gallon tank, but for the adult snake, I have space for a much larger enclosure, but I think I will go with a 30 gallon. My only real barrier is my parents. I think I can get them convinced, but if not, I guess I can live with that decision :(
It would be nice to have a reptile that doesn't cost $10+ every 1-2 weeks like my growing bearded dragon (hopefully he will stop growing soon though, and it will only be $10 every month).
Well, I am going to try to take my mom to this nice petshop next time I go to get crickets, and then I can let her look at the snakes and hold them.