Thinking About Purchasing A Reptile?

So you have decided to purchase a snake and you view it as a pet and a companion, a low maintenance animal that will grow and enjoy life with you.  Something you can hold in your hands and show to friends and family members. An animal that is on the unusual side and reflects your independent nature, and sets you aside from main stream society.  All of these reasons are valid and a snake can be a very interesting subject of conversation.  As for low maintenance, a snake can be considered low maintenance after the initial set up has been completed and you have learned the basics of caring for the species of snake you have chosen.  Snakes are like humans, they come in all types and sizes, when in the infant stage (less then 6 months of age) all snakes are cute, easy to handle and require minimal care.  Like people, snakes grow and some grow and grow and grow, prior to purchasing your pet you must complete a short study program to ensure you purchase the right snake for your needs, in short you must become a smart shopper. 먹튀검증업체

First you should look at your housing situation, if you live in an apartment complex, a snake is not for you.  Should it escape, you have let yourself in for lawsuits filed by neighbors as well as being asked to move.  Snakes do not belong in a multi family type dwelling and that is that.  If you live in a single family home, you have met the number one requirement.  A snake will reach adulthood at two to three years of age, how large of a snake do you want to own if purchased as an adult? two feet, three feet, twenty-eight feet? Most people new to the hobby want a snake that will max out at five feet and weigh less then seven pounds.  This is the ideal  size for a beginner, at this size a snake is easy to handle and does not cost an arm and a leg to feed.  Deciding upon the correct species is the next question. Boa constrictors are not very good beginner snakes mainly because they tend to have an attitude and often bite when annoyed.  Being bitten by a non venomous snake is really no big deal, it is far less painful then an injection at the doctors office and when washed with soap and water, it is forgotten in a day or so.  Members of the Colubridae family are snakes that include King snakes, Garter snakes etc.  These animals are also not generally for beginners as they require a complicated habitat set up and must be fed more often then other species.  Next is the python family, this family has members that reach lengths of thirty feet so you must use caution when purchasing a member of the python family.  One python that is ideal for a beginner is the “Ball Python” it grows to six foot tops and weighs about seven pounds tops.  It is a popular snake and easy to find in reputable pet stores everywhere.  This species of snake is extremely tame and rarely if ever bites. They seem to show affection once they become familiar with their keeper and readily crawl around in their owners hands.  After forty years of handling reptiles I would wholeheartedly recommend a Ball Python for a beginner.  Other reasonably good choices for a beginner are the Rainbow Boa, the Rubber and Rosy Boas, A California King Snake and a Corn snake, all make excellent starter snakes.

Prior to purchasing the snake you must purchase its habitat and accessory items.  You should take them home, set the habitat up, obtain the snakes food supply, I recommend you purchase a three month food supply and then freeze it.  When the food supply gets down to one month left in the freezer, purchase another three month supply and use the oldest first. The following is a list of items you will need to maintain a snake and keep it in good physical health for a life time.  Before you go any farther, a snakes life time can run from ten to thirty-five years!  Ask yourself if you are really prepared for this long a commitment, and please be honest with yourself.  Snakes grow very fast during the first 18 months of their lives.  The 18 inch snake you purchase today will double in size before its first birthday so purchase a tank that will accommodate a 36 inch snake, it will save trips to the pet store in the future and money in the long run. OK here are the items required for a Ball Python (Also any other snake)

#1: The aquarium: I would go ahead and get the 40 gallon tank.  Get a reptile aquarium, not a fish tank.  The difference is about $60.00 and about 15 pounds in weight.   1 reptile tank 40 gallon with locking screen top. Note the “locking” screen top, snakes are escape artists and the screen allows for ventilation.  The top must be lockable, no amount of weight will keep a snake inside, they are masters of escape and will do so if not locked.

#2: Hide boxes, two, this can be as simple as a shoe box with a hole cut in the side large enough for the snake to crawl in and out of.  You need one for each end of the tank.  All snakes require seclusion and a spot they can retreat to for sleep and when digesting food.  It should be slightly larger then the snake.  Its sides should touch the sides of the box when inside.  Snakes like tight places with only one entrance, they know they are safe from attack and are able to relax.  Believe it or not, more snakes die of stress then all illnesses combined.  If you fail to give your pet snake a place to retreat to, I bet it will die before you have had it six months, a hide box at each end is vital.

#3: A heating pad placed under the tank, not touching the glass and set on low should raise the temperature inside the hide box to about 90 to 95 degrees.  This will be the hot end of the habitat, there must be two different temperatures inside the tank.  A snake will need the extra heat after eating, to aid in digestion and taking up minerals and vitamins from the food into its body.  The hide box at the other end should be about 73 degrees to the low 80’s.  Snakes regulate their temperatures from external sources and need a choice available to them.  Also you will need a heat lamp which you will use for three hours a day immediately after your snake eats a meal, the temperature should be between 92 and 99 degrees directly below the lamp.  This is called a “basking spot”. Please be sure the heating pad is adjustable, low med. hi.  Do not use inside heat sources like heat rocks, they have caused severe burns to snakes.

#4: two water bowls one of which must be large enough for the snake to bath its entire body in.  You should use non chlorinated water for drinking and bathing.  The water must be changed daily and sooner if it becomes contaminated by wastes or other items which have fallen into the bowl.  Plastic dog bowls are ideal items, glass is not advisable.

#5: Two thermometers, one at each end of the tank and kept in sight for easy reading at a glance.  A humidity gauge in the center of the tank is also required.  Normal humidity of 40% is fine except when your snake is in a shed cycle.  The humidity must be elevated to 80 to 100% once you notice your snakes eyes start to cloud over which signals the start of a shed cycle.  You must also obtain a spray misting bottle.  It must be used twice a day when in a shed cycle to mist the snakes body and keep the outer layer of skin soft and loose.  Twice a day, AM PM mist.  You must remember not to handle your pet when in a shed cycle, resist the temptation to pick it up or play with it.  Also do not feed your snake once its eyes have clouded.  After you notice the eyes cloud, the snake will shed its skin about four days after the eyes clear. Resume normal activity after the shed has been removed.  Check the two eye spots on the shed to insure the two “Brill’s” clear eye scales have also been removed.

#6: What to put on the floor of the tank?  Never use wood chips, especially ceder chips, they contain a toxin which will cause injury or death yo snakes.  Wood chips stick to food and when swallowed do not dissolve, this can be fatal to a snake.  indoor out door carpet is OK but hard to clean when soiled.  I use 100% white cotton bath towels folded the exact size of the floor area.  I can see any waste deposited on the floor, I can see a tick, flea etc. and deal with the problem.  It is soft on the delicate ventral side of a snake and any parasite is visible at a glance.  I have a few extra ready to use when the one in use becomes soiled.

#7: food, A Ball python will eat two mice a week when six months or less old.  When it becomes larger you can switch to small rats.  I never feed my animals live prey, I refuse to do this for a variety of reasons.  Number one, I find it cruel watching any animal being crushed in the snakes powerful coils.  If the snake is not hungry, a mouse or especially a rat can inflict sever damage to a snake.  Remember the prey animal is fighting for its life and bites can be bad enough to cause infection and the death of your snake.  Live mice at times come with fleas and mites that can injure a snake.  Freezing kill a bulk of harmful organisms.  With frozen food I can stock up when I find them on sale.  I have fed a Ball python of mine, strips of warm baked chicken as a treat.  You should by powdered calcium and sprinkle it on the food item once a month, a multivitamin inserted into the rodents mouth is also a good idea, once a month.