Before you make that trip to the pet store, ask yourself “Why do I want a snake?” Is it because you’re trying to impress your friends? Is it because you saw a killer anaconda in a popular movie and would like something like that to show people when they come? Do you want to surprise or scare your parents and other relatives during Christmas gatherings? Thanks to an almost ancient role in mythology, folklore, religion, and more recently horror movies and music videos, snakes are in high demand as pets. Unfortunately, many people want a snake for all the wrong reasons and don’t properly educate themselves on pet snake care before giving in to the urge to accept a snake from a friend or buy one at the store. A snake is not a fashion accessory, party trick, or practical joke. Snakes are highly sensitive and, for the most part, wild creatures that should only be kept as pets for the sheer pleasure of caring for and watching a snake. If you fit the profile of a true snake aficionado, then you’ve no doubt already done some studying. If you’re still deciding whether or not a snake is the pet for you, learn more with the information below.
Snakes, like all pets, have their own unique set of requirements when it comes to temperature, housing, and dietary needs. The size of your snake’s enclosure depends, of course, on the size of the snake you plan to keep. A good way to judge how much space your snake will need is to leave ½ square foot of floor space for each foot of snake, as long as the snake is less than 6 feet long. For snakes over 6 feet long, ¾ of a square foot of floor space is adequate. Snakes need to feel safe in their new home as they will be spending a lot of time basking or hiding. A good solution is to get a properly sized aquarium and secure the top with pegboard to allow proper ventilation. Mesh should not be used as a curious snake may rub its nose on this material. Furniture in a snake cage can be relatively simple. Line the bottom of the cage with aspen shavings, reptile mat (or Astro grass), or gravel. Add a hiding place like a pre-made “cave” or a cave you make yourself out of rocks of various sizes to your pet snake’s care list along with a small potted plant, either fake or real, and a shallow dish of water for soaking
Since snakes are cold-blooded, their body temperature is directly dependent on the temperature of their surroundings. Snakes do not have self-cooling or heating systems. They just go in and out of the heat. So it is imperative that you maintain a daytime temperature of 80-85 degrees and a nighttime temperature of 65-75 degrees in your snake’s tank. A stick-on thermometer and a heat lamp or cage heater that goes under the cage will help you accomplish these things. A snake that is even a few degrees below its optimal body temperature will often stop eating.
Speaking of eating, you should probably reconsider getting a snake unless you are 100% sure you can feed your pet live or dead mammals. Smaller snakes will eat baby mice (called “pinkies”) and medium to large snakes will eat adult or pinky mice. Larger snakes may require larger meals in the form of chicks or rabbits. Figuring out what your snake wants from its food may take some work. Some snakes are terrified of live food and will only eat a mouse after their necks have been humanely broken (this kills the mouse instantly). Some snakes enjoy hunting and do not eat food that has already been slaughtered, and some snakes do not care at all. While most snakes can live for weeks without eating, it’s best to feed an adult snake once a week or every ten days. Baby snakes need to be fed more frequently to support their growing bodies. Consult a specific care guide for your snake to find out how much food to offer your pet per feeding.
Once you’ve satisfied yourself that your motivations for keeping snakes are driven solely by your love of these creatures, use your newfound patience to spend time searching for a variety of snakes that fits your budget and personality. Only buy a snake from a reputable source, and make sure you have an excellent pet snake care book on hand or a well-known snake-keeping expert who can answer any questions you may have and help you on the road to snake ownership. happy snakes.