Tricks for Caring for a Pet Snake

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Answered by: Sam, An Expert in the Pet Reptiles and Amphibians Category
Caring for a pet snake can be easy and rewarding. Daily care can be done in a few minutes each day. With their simple requirements and calm demeanor, snakes are quickly rising in popularity as pets. Some species are incredible display animals, while others are calm and handleable. Snakes come in a range of sizes, anywhere from just a few inches long to over fifteen feet long.

To get started you’ll need a few things

- Enclosure

- Two hides

- Water dish

- Heating element

- Thermostat

- Thermometer

- Bedding

- Food

Your setup can be as simple or as extravagant as you would prefer. Enclosures can be secure plastic bins, professional caging or glass terrariums. Whichever you choose should have a secure lid and be able to keep proper ambient temperature and humidity for your snake.

The water dish can be small and shallow or large enough for your snake to soak in. Ceramic dishes are typically heavy enough to avoid being tipped over by a larger snake. Smaller snakes can use tupperware containers. Make sure to check your snakes water dish daily, some snakes like to use their water dish as their bathroom.

Your heating element is extremely important. You can use heat bulbs, heat pads, radiant heat panels or ceramic heat emitters. You’ll use the thermostat to regulate your heat source. Unregulated heat sources can result in fire hazards or hurt animals. The heating element should be on one side of the enclosure. You will be able to form a temperature gradient giving the animal a chance to thermoregulate. Snakes are cold blooded creatures and rely on their environment to maintain proper internal temperatures. Avoid heat rocks, they are difficult to regulate and can burn your pet. The thermometer will read the enclosure temperature. Adjust the thermostat to get the perfect temperature range for your pet.

Hides will give your snake a place to sleep and relax away from prying eyes. Hides can be as simple as a dar tupperware container with a hole in it. If you are going for a more realistic set up, rock-like hides can be purchased at most major pet store retailers or online. As long as your snake can get inside safely your hide will work.

There are a variety of bedding choices available for snakes. Simplistic setups can use paper towels or newspaper. Aspen shavings or care fresh can act as both a substrate and a hide. Several species love to burrow in loose bedding. Change the bedding when soiled and clean the enclosure with a pet-safe cleaner such as vinegar. If using a loose substrate, spot clean as necessary and fully change out the bedding every few weeks.

Feeding your snake be safe and easy. Many pet stores and reptile suppliers offer frozen feeders that can be bought in bulk. Defrost your feeder in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag. Most snakes will benefit from a warm food item. You can warm their dinner by running it under warm water or by using a hair dryer for a few seconds. Some snakes have a difficult time with frozen thawed feeders. Live feeding can be an option but there are risks. A live mouse or rat can bite or injure your snake. Avoid leaving a live feeder with your snake. If your snake is not hungry it could become a snack for its dinner.

The most common pet species of snake stay under ten feet in length. Ball pythons, corn and milk snakes, hog nose snakes and boas are exceptionally popular. Caring for a pet snake will be a fulfilling experience with these easy tips.

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