Beginner Guide to Pet Snakes

9. Husbandry

Compared to a majority of pets, snakes are docile and relatively inactive reptiles, so they require extremely small amount of space. However, you need to ensure that their vivarium has enough space for their horizontal and vertical body movement. You should get aquariums made up of glass or plexi-glass because they allow you to easily observe the pet snake and simultaneously keeping a check of humidity & temperature within the vivarium. The vivarium is supposed to have a latch to keep the snake enclosed. Snakes have a reputation of being great escape artists. You can consider enriching the vivarium by adding branches of grapevines, hanging ropes or hardwood trees into it. Avoid adding the branch which might injure the snake. Also, given their reclusive nature, snakes love to have a hiding place, so you can also create a hide box with an easy access inside the vivarium.

10. Bedding

One of the best bedding substrates for your pet snake include butcher paper, paper towels, unprinted newsprint, or terrycloth towels. You should strictly avoid using kitty litter, pea gravel or wood shavings. These materials support bacterial growth, so they are not good for a healthy life of your pet. If ingested, they can lead to serious head complications for your pet snake.

11. Climate

Pet snakes require high humidity & warm temperature. During the day-time, the temperature in their vivarium has

Snakes as pets

Snakes as pets

to be around 80-85 degrees F, while during night hours the temperature can vary between 70-76 degrees F. You can place heat lamps in their vivarium for maintaining ideal temperature. Environment can be appropriately maintained by placing a heating pad underneath the small tank. You should avoid placing heating rocks inside the snake’s vivarium. Installing a thermometer inside the vivarium is a great step towards maintaining a suitable temperature.

12. Lighting

There is no alternative to the direct & unfiltered outdoor sunlight, so you can consider placing the vivarium such that snake can get adequate heat. But, you have to remember placing one side of the vivarium under the sunlight while the other where sunlight won’t reach throughout the day. This is to ensure that your pet snake can easily move in and out of the heat & cold area depending upon her need. But, if you’re not able to provide your pet snake direct access to sunlight, then you can rely on UV light source.

13. Grooming

It is an extremely important activity, especially when your snake is shedding her skin. If you are able to keep the humidity & temperature in control, then the snake can take care of this activity herself. Generally, a snake sheds her skin once a month. This process would take at least one week. If there are some problems due to which she hasn’t shed her skin for a long time, then you may have to get in touch with a snake expert to assist her with the shedding process. One of the prime reasons for her inability to shed the skin might be the dry atmosphere. You would have to raise the level of humidity in the tank. Also, you might consider keeping dampened paper towels or some soft substrate material within the vivarium. This might solve the problem and she might start shedding her skin again. Snakes require branches and smooth rocks where they can rub their skin at the time of shedding. You would have to add these things in vivarium at the time of its installation in your home. If above mentioned steps to assist the snake with her shedding doesn’t work, then it’s time to contact a veterinarian.

14. Essential Equipment

Unlike most pet animals, snakes must have their personal enclosure because they are extremely shy species. Also,

Corn snakes make great pets

Corn Snakes as pets

while deciding about the vivarium of a pet snake, you shouldn’t go by general convention wherein bigger is always better. Most small snakes become anxious if they are left in a vivarium, which are bigger than their actual size.  While purchasing the vivarium for your pet snake, you should also buy substrate materials. These materials include mulch, gravels and sands. They are kept at the bottom of vivarium for replicating the natural habitat of pet snakes. It is mandatory to have them in the vivarium. Some snake owners choose to use several layers of newsprint, as it is a cheaper option. Since, newspaper prints are easy to manage and remove from the vivarium, so most snake owners choose this option. But, the closer you can get towards offering your pet snake with a natural habitat, the more are its chances to live longer. Depending upon the type of snake at your home, you can add climbing branches, vines and rocks in the vivarium.

All snakes require a hiding home. This can be a hole made up of rock, or a piece of cardboard wherein your snake can easily fit in. Snakes love to spend major portion of the day at a place where they can feel safe and relax without any disturbance, so you should definitely add a hidey-home.

Every snake requires some under-tank heating. Avoid solely sticking to a heating pad beneath the tank. The heating pad can be placed underneath the hidey-home of vivarium and provide adequate heat to the snake. The idea is to maintain a balanced temperature within the vivarium. One end of the enclosure has to be cool while the other relatively hot. These basic techniques will ensure a comfortable stay of your pet snake.

You should always remember the above mentioned suggestions and techniques for ensuring a comfortable and happy existence of your pet snake. If there’s something that you don’t know about your snake, then you can research about the same online. But, if the online research doesn’t help, then getting expert advice is the best way out.


Brogan Renshaw
Brogan Renshaw

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