Snakes have been gaining popularity as they make splendid pets. Before purchasing a snake it is important to do your research as snake care is no walk in the park. That statement should not deter your interest as the extent to most snake care ends at buying a heat source and then a thermostat to monitor it. All snake species require different types of snake care. The two easiest simplest species for snake care are ball pythons and corn snakes.
Purchasing your snake is probably the most important step of snake care. It is best to purchase your pet snake from a breeder who specializes in selling snakes. Often times regular pet stores will have expensive prices while not providing the snake adequate living conditions. Do not buy a snake from a cage that is dirty with feces. The most common time to own a snake that is not healthy is right after it is taken home from for the first time. Be sure to check the mouth of the snake and if it appears dirty, this is a sign of infection. Make sure to slide your fingers along the spine of the snake to confirm it does not have any mites or ticks. Do not purchase a snake that displays any signs of being unhealthy. Never purchase a snake that is aggressive towards you as this would not be a good first step to start out on. Once again, purchasing from a snake breeder is optimal as I have never met one who did not want to show a novice the ropes.
To provide the best snake care it is nice to complete the enclosure for your snake before ever bringing your new snake home. The most important element of a snakes enclosure is the heating. For most snake care you will need to maintain a day time temperature between 79 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. At night it is best for the snake to drop the temperature between five and twenty degrees. To make sure the snake does not get stressed out, it needs both an area to bask in the heat and an area to hide. To provide an area to bask for your snake, place a heater under one side of the cage. The cage for a snake will have a similar appearance to hamster cages. A hide can either be purchase from a snake care outlet or it can also be homemade. The actual container used for the snake enclosure is also very important. Aquariums work great but make sure to cover three of the sides. The snake will easily get will feel in danger and be stressed out by having four different directions an attacker could come. This is why the hide is so important to the snake. It is thought that to provide the best snake care, the enclosure should be long enough for the snake to stretch out completely. Other types of plastic storage containers can be used but make sure they have adequate air holes. Make sure to have a lock on the top of the cage. A variety of different substrates are options for the ground level of the snake’s cage. Whether you choose artificial turf or just newspaper is is essential to clean the substrate on a weekly or at minimum bi-weekly basis. A water bowl is also necessary. This should be large enough so that the snake can submerge itself fully but they will rarely if ever do this.
Feeding is probably the most difficult aspect of snake care. Make sure you look up information specific to the species of snake you own before feeding it. Snakes are carnivores and they should be eating food that is similar to what they would in the wild. Most snakes will eat hamsters, rats, gerbils, or other rodents. Snakes are fickicky eaters so you will learn your pets tendencies. Baby snakes are usually feed rats unless they wont eat rodents in which case they might prefer lizards. As your pet snake grows and matures it is cheaper to switch them to rats. Some snakes even like to eat birds. Consult an authority because ball python care for instance will be different then milksnake care. A baby snake will need to be fed three to four times a week but that number will decrease as the snake reaches its maximum size when its intake will increase.
There so many problems that can occur while trying to feed a snake. If the snake is stressed or the cage conditions are not correct the snake may not eat. Snakes have also been known to be anorexic sometimes going months at a time without a meal. Never let a snake go longer than a few months without feeding. If this happens, make sure to take your snake to a veterinarian. Sometimes force feeding becomes necessary. This can be quite a stressful experience for both you and the snake so unless you have experience in the field of force feeding, asking an expert to perform this might be best.
The best part of owning a snake is the handling. The more time you spend handling your pet snake, the more comfortable the two of you will become. Natural born snake hatching’s are generally more aggressive and difficult to handle. Most ball pythons, kingsnakes, boas, and milksnakes are tame pets. When a snake has a bowel movement just after you pick it up, this is out of fear. Place any snake that bites you right back into its enclosure. The severity of snake bites range, but make sure to take all precautions. Here is a great video on how to handle a snake:
It is important to monitor the health of your snake but this is often a problem of snake care. If you find and mites or ticks on your pet snake, there a probably many more. This can easily be treated by consulting a snake care sheet. Different elements in the cage can give the snake blisters by constant rubbing so this is something to watch for. Snake can get Mouthrot which is a stomach infection and should be treated right away by a veterinarian. If a snake has trouble shedding, just submerge the snake in water to soak off the excess skin. Respiratory and gastrointestinal infections are fairly common among pet snakes. If anything seems abnormal about your pet snake, consult a snake care expert as soon as possible.