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Posted by pulatus on April 13, 2003 at 23:27:08:
In Reply to: Minnows, substrate questions for N. sipedon, N. rhombifer posted by pamotto on April 12, 2003 at 11:44:47:
I've recently switched to cypress mulch as a substrate. It can be bought at lawn/garden centers like Lowes, Home Depot, etc. Its usually chunky enough that the snakes don't ingect it. Its also a little more natural looking than shavings. Humidity is important for snakes, but water snakes in particular will develop blisters on their ventral scales which will kill them if they are kept in a damp enclose. A warm spot provided by an incandescent light bulb in a reflector is important is important - they'll need a warm spot to bask in. When they blue up prior to a shed its easy to pour water on the cypress and still give them warm, dry branches to climb on.
I would never treat fish fed to water snakes, especially not with salt or formalin! If fed minnows from the bait store they will develop a certainly contract some internal; parasites, just as all wild populations of snakes do. But they will live with them fine as long as they are not stressed unduely.
You can get water snakes to eventually accept pink pice, and eventually adult mice, but it takes some coaxing. Keep reading because there are some other important issues with nerodia's diet.
:Our nature center has recently acquired two young (born last fall) CB northern water snakes and one young (about the same age) CB diamondback water snake. They're currently being kept together in a 20-gal. long aquarium on aspen shavings with hide areas, a basking log and a water dish; they have a flourescent light above, but no additional heat. Here's my question: What treatments are necessary for the bait-shop fathead minnows we feed them? I've heard everything from formalin (Quick Cure) to salt (any advice on concentration would be appreciated) to freezing first to gat rid of parasites. (But with that last option, I worry about destroying vitamin B.)I do not know what, if any, chemicals are added to the water at the bait shop before hand, but that would be easy enough to find out.
:Another question--should the snakes be removed to a separate container for feeding? There are several large pieces of bark surrounding the water dish, and most of the eating seems to occur in that area, but I worry that the little guys might ingest some of the aspen shavings. Is that a valid concern?
:I want to make sure these snakes, who all are great eaters, remain as healthy and happy as they seem to be right now!