Reptile Information from
|REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS|
CARE OF SNAKES
1. Be sure your snake's cage is completely escape- proof; snakes are talented escape artists.
2. Keep the cage warm and dry- 80-85o for non- tropical specimens and 85-90o for tropical specimens, 24 hours a day. More snakes are killed by too little heat than by all other causes combined. A desk lamp or aquarium top heater can supply heat, but a thermometer is necessary. Good floor coverings are Astroturf, -3 sand blast gravel, pine shavings, or newspaper. CAUTION: Never use cedar shavings.
3. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight. Temperatures of over 104o will kill even a tropical snake. Check your thermometer often.
4. Keep the cage clean.
5. A hiding place in the cage for the snake may be desirable.
6. Fresh water should be available at all times. Be sure the container is heavy enough so that the snake cannot tip it over. If the container is large, be sure the snake can get out of it.
7. Feed your species of snake what it prefers; most snakes have a very restricted diet. Offer food to most snakes once a week- more often to younger snakes and less often to older specimens. Some eat only warm-blooded prey, others only cold- blooded, while a few eat both or other foods. Example: Boa Constrictors eat rodents and birds, garter snakes eat fish, frogs and worms. Most snakes will learn to eat and prefer dead prey in captivity, CAUTION: If a live rodent must be offered, DO NOT LEAVE IT until the snake has caught or constricted the rodent. If the snake does not strike in a very few minutes, remove the rodent. Many caged snakes have been killed or maimed by being chewed or bitten by mice or rats.
8. Don't handle your snake for a few days after feeding.
9. Snakes shed their skin regularly, anywhere from 1 to 3 or 4 months. About a week before shedding, the snake's skin becomes dull and its eyes become cloudy. Avoid handling the snake during this period. The eyes will clear up 2 or 3 days before shedding. Keep some rough object such as a rock or branch in the cage to help the snake shed its skin.
10. Learn if your snake likes to climb or burrow, and set up the cage accordingly.
11. When holding a snake, support its body with both hands; never just hold it by its head. Never squeeze a snake.
12. CAUTION: Do not use Lysol or any substance containing phenol in any room where a snake is kept. It is extremely poisonous to them. Insecticides applied to a snake may prove fatal.
13. Never keep a snake if you are unwilling to be bitten.