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Caring for Pet Snakes

Caring for Pet Snakes

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Published by scribdgeeks
Basic facts on pet snake care
Basic facts on pet snake care

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Published by: scribdgeeks on Aug 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Caring for Pet Snakes
Snakes are very interesting creatures. Despite the commonnotion that snakes are harmful animals, varioussnakespecieshave become the interest of pet enthusiasts. Captivesnakes can thrive and breed in either lush cages or spartanquarters, but the aim in all cases is to provide a healthy,secure and absolutely escape-proof environment. Somespecies do, of course, have more specific caging necessities.For example, Terrestrial snake species do well in horizontallyoriented cages but for arboreal species, consider verticallyoriented terraria.
 The size of the enclosure for your snake will depend on itssize and level of activity. Some snakes, such as boaconstrictors, are fairly inactive while some, such as blackracers, are more active and need comparatively largercages. They become stressed when crowded. For inactivespecies the enclosure should be at least as long as the snakeand at least three quarters as wide. For active species theenclosure should be twice those dimensions.Snake vivariumis the usual choice of enclosure although youcan buy custom enclosures, some with sliding glass frontsthat make it easier to feed and handle the animal. For all butarboreal snakes, the height of the enclosure is not a concern.But snakes climb glass walls with ease and are strongenough to push open covers that are not clipped down. Thesame sizes of enclosures will also serve two snakes but thesnakes will have to be separated when fed to keep themfrom latching onto the same piece of food. The furnishings of the enclosure can be simple for most petspecies: a newspaper substrate, a hidebox big enough forthe snake to retreat to and water bowl. For specializedspecies, there are other considerations. A rough greensnake, for example, must have a planted moist terrarium; a
green tree python requires a high perching site; a sand boamust have a substrate deep enough for it to be able to buryitself.Newspaper works well as a substrate for all except thosethat live in the water or need sand in which to burrow. It iseasy to replace and cheap. Larger animals such asreticulated pythons are best kept on bare floors, which canbe hosed down. Snakes from watery habitats must have aplace to dry off or they will develop "blister disease."
Heat and Light
 Your pet must be able to thermoregulate which means itmust be able to choose from a range of temperatures. Mostspecies require an ambient temperature of 77 to 87 degreesFahrenheit, with access to warmer areas, such as a spotunder an incandescent light bulb. At night, heat without lightcan be provided by infrared bulbs, a heat pad or ceramicheater, all available at pet stores. The day/night cycle is important for health and breeding andshould be synchronized with a timer to the daily cycle of your pet's natural habitat. In contrast to many other reptiles,snakes do not require ultraviolet light for vitamin D3synthesis, so no special overhead lighting is required.
Various snakes consume everything from frog eggs toantelopes, but the commonly kept species do well on aweekly feeding of pre-killed mice or rats, which may bepurchased frozen at pet shops. Large specimens may requirea pre-killed rabbit every 2 to 4 weeks, while insectivorousspecies such as the ring-necked snake need two to threemeals of crickets per week. The size of the meal dependsupon the size of the snake or, more precisely, the size of itshead, which is pretty much the size of its stomach. Do notfeedsnakes foodthat is too large. Although they may take it,

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