- 1 How to Choose a First Pet Snake Species
- 2 Purchasing and Caring for a Pet Snake
- 3 A snake for a pet: what to keep in mind
- 4 How to Determine the Gender of Your Snake
- 5 Temperature, humidity and your pet snake
- 6 Pet Snakes – Low Maintenance Yet Highly Interesting
- 7 What senses do snakes possess?
- 8 Pet Snake Care Guide on Shedding
- 9 Pet Snake Care on Handling and Transport
- 10 Pet Snake Care Guide on Temperature
- 11 Pet Snakes and Live Feeder Mice
- 12 Pet Snake Care on Humidity
If you are thinking of getting an unusual pet, you might consider taking in a snake as a pet. Truly, they are some of the most unusual creatures for pet but a lot of people have already taken them in. However, taking snakes as pets should not happen in a snap. You have to be armed with enough knowledge on pet snake care first. This is so because snakes are very sensitive pets and extra care should be used on them.
Snakes have certain needs that go with their own natural characteristics. For instance, good pet snake care involves knowing when to handle the snake and when to leave them alone – which is most of the time. Snakes are solitary creatures who prefer going about on their own than having someone or something in regular contact with them.
However, since it is a pet, you may hold it at times but not for too long just so they can learn to recognize you. So as a general rule, try not to hold the snake too much as doing this may also prove to be detrimental to its health.
Another important part of a snake’s natural system is hibernation wherein they hide and get lost in their restful sleep. An important pet snake care tip on this would be to give your snake a dark cool room to hibernate in. This is especially a requirement if you intend to breed your snake. Further, take note of the humidity and the temperature around it. Also, be sure to keep supplies of fresh cold water near it.
How to Choose a First Pet Snake Species
What kind of snake should a future snake owner choose? This guide to the best pet snakes for newbies gives some suggestions.
Snakes can be fascinating and unique pets to raise. But beginners often don’t know which kind of snakes work well for inexperienced snake owners. Here are a few suggestions for good beginner snakes:
The Corn Snake as a Beginner Pet Snake
A small, hardy snake, the corn snake is a popular choice for beginners. Because of their size and ability to survive in many different conditions, this snake is a good choice for first-time snake owners, since any slight mistakes are unlikely to seriously harm the pet.
Ball Pythons for New Snake Owners
These snakes tend to be relaxed and calm. Ball pythons can grow up to five feet long, but their growth is over a long period, allowing the owner to become familiar with the snake as it grows. Ball pythons eat live mice and rats and kill them by strangulation, so prospective owners shouldn’t be squeamish about feeding their new pet.
Starting with a Milk Snake
Milk Snakes are another small variety of snake often kept by beginners. The biggest drawback to milk snakes is their propensity for slipping out of their cage undetected. A secure cage is an essential item for new milk snake owners.
A King Snake as a First Snake
New snake owners might want to consider a king snake as their first snake. These snakes are easy to care for, hardy and nonaggressive. King snakes eat rodents, but they aren’t as picky as some other snakes and will often accept pre-killed or previously frozen food. They also come in a wide variety of colors.
Popular Garter Snakes as a Starter Snake
Garter Snakes are small snakes popular with beginners. They eat earthworms, fish, eggs or small mice. Captive bred garter snakes tend to be comfortable with being handled and they usually don’t grow beyond 3 feet.
The Rat Snake is Good for Beginners
Another popular beginner choice, rat snakes are medium-large (5-8 foot) snakes that are generally calm and docile. Like pythons, they are constrictor snakes, so feeding requirements should be taken into consideration before buying a rat snake. They also breed easily in captivity, making it easy to grow a snake family.
The Underappreciated Gopher Snake
These large snakes are often overlooked by people considering a first snake, but they have the advantage of being fairly active compared to many other types of beginner snakes. They like to burrow, so having proper bedding in their enclosure is a must.
No one type of snake is perfect for everyone. Whatever kind of snake a new pet owner chooses, careful consideration should be given to the housing and feeding requirements of the new pet.
All snakes are carnivorous (meat eaters), but some species accept pre-killed food more easily than others.
Other things potential new snake owners should think about are the eventual size of the snake and the amount of interaction they want with their pet. Looking at a few of the different types of beginner snakes can help future owners determine which species will work best for them.
Purchasing and Caring for a Pet Snake
Pet snake owners can be fanatical in their devotion to owning and caring for snakes, and they are the best to ask for pet snake advice.
Snakes are an exotic animal, and owning one is not the same as owning a domesticated animal whose behaviors are more documented and experienced. Even so, there are a few simple tips to help select the right pet snake for a household.
- Best Pet Snake for the Family
To determine the best snake to purchase as a pet for the family, it’s important to consider the age of any children in the family. Some breeds of snake can grow quite large very quickly, such as the constrictor snakes like the boa and the anaconda. Other snakes, like the corn snakes and king snakes, will stay smaller.
If the family has small children, it’s important to consider the size of the snake before making a purchase of one for a pet. Also, it’s important to take into consideration the aggressiveness of the snake in the wild, and whether or not the snake is deemed poisonous. Finding someone who is knowledgeable about snakes in the pet industry is crucial to making a decision about buying a pet snake.
- Best Pet Snake for the Kids
Another thing to consider before purchasing a snake is what type of food the snake has to be fed. Some snakes are required to be fed live food, such as prey they would normally eat if the snake were in the wild. Some children might be sensitive to feeding live bugs, mice or rats to a snakes, and this could be quite traumatic for them to watch.
Smaller snakes that eat only live bugs might be one option, since bugs are something people are used to seeing smooshed or killed. Some snakes are able to eat frozen prey, that children do not have to see as live or being killed for the snake to be nourished. Again, the corn snakes are most likely to eat frozen prey versus live prey.
- Pet Snakes Are Low Maintenance
Snakes, unlike small rodent-like pets or larger dogs and cats, require very little maintenance to maintain a habitat. In fact, since some snakes only eat once or twice per month, people who travel might benefit from a pet snake that would not need a sitter or boarding for short trips.
Cleaning a habitat or terrarium for a snake is also easy, but the snake will have to be handled to be removed from the terrarium for cleaning. If no one in the family can handle, hold, or ensure the safety of a snake with his or her hands, buying a pet snake is not a good idea for the family.
- Pet Snakes Can Live Long Lives
The bigger the snake, the longer it will likely live. According to one employee at PetSmart in League City, Texas, some snakes have been documented living as long as 40 years. Most snakes, however, only live an average of 20 years, with 25 to 30 years not being uncommon. This means a pet snake is going to be a lifelong commitment, and a snake should not be purchased as a pet unless the family is willing and able to care for the snake for its entire lifetime.
Again, corn snakes are the best for a family not wanting a long-term commitment, since corn snakes live only about 10-15 years, reducing the length of time for the commitment.
- Which Pet Snake is Best?
For a family with small children and as a pet for a child, the colorful corn snakes likely make the best pets. These smaller snakes can still grow to decent sizes, but stay smaller around. Also, corn snakes are pretty, fun to watch, and usually have distinct personalities. The corn snake also is one of the easiest to feed frozen or non-live prey.
For more experienced snake owners, a boa constrictor or ball python is a good step up from a corn snake. Both of these snakes are known to do well in captivity, though they often do require live prey to stay healthy. The boa and ball python both are known to live longer lives too, so be prepared to have a pet snake for a long time.
Milk snakes and king snakes both are good snake varieties to consider for a first-time snake pet too.
Handle a few snakes at pet stores prior to purchasing one, and look for one that has a good personality, seems at ease with being handled, and that would make a complement to the family as a family pet snake.
A snake for a pet: what to keep in mind
People usually associate pets with dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fishes and other animals, which seem so harmless and cute. However, there are some people who do not share this same perception with pets. Instead, they choose to get some not so conventional pets such as snakes.
Snakes are currently growing in reputation as good pets. Though some people think they are scary and threatening, there are also people who think they are loving and caring.
Snakes are very sensitive pets. Unlike care for furry and cuddly conventional pets, pet snake care actually involves several things which the carer should be careful to observe and follow.
Excellent pet snake care involves keeping in mind that snakes can grow very large. Thus, careful diet should be given to them, especially so, because snakes have a tendency to overindulge and eat so much. Setting aside the snakes’ eating habits, snakes also require certain conditions for their environments. When these requirements are met, the snakes are expected to grow healthy and properly.
Further, proper pet snake care involves setting a routine for the snakes. Just like in any child and in any other pets, routine is a source of security to the snakes. Set schedules for their feedings and rest. Also, you may choose to set a special time or day when your pet snake can be allowed to have special food so as to encourage compliance with routines.
If you really are decided in getting a snake as a pet, you have to find information first about the types of snakes and which are the best options for pet care. Since snakes need particular care, you also have to be informed on how to undertake the proper care.
Pet Snake Care: What You Need to do Before Buying a Pet Snake
If you are thinking of getting a pet snake, then you should be well informed on certain pet snake care issues. Unlike most house pet, caring for a pet snake is not something you can just learn as it goes. You can’t simply wing it. A snake can be a tedious responsibility for its owner. Before buying a pet snake, make sure you’ll prepare yourself.
Pre procurement plans
Before you buy a snake, make sure that you have a well thought system for pet snake care. Make sure that you already have a secured place for your pet snake once you brought it home. Inspect any cracks that will allow your snake to escape. You don’t want to spend your first moments with your pet snake as a hunting event. Snakes are naturally sleek and slippery. It can easily get out of tiny holes. Don’t underestimate the snake’s capability to escape.
Inform and orient your family members on proper pet snake care.
You’re life is not the only thing that will change in your house. If you are living with other people, better let them be aware on some pet snake care procedures. They might end up hurt if they tried to handle your pet snake without proper knowledge. Also, inform them on how to handle the snake just in case it escapes from its habitat.
Observe some safety precautions in handling your pet.
Don’t put the snake in your neck, especially when you are alone. Also, don’t treat you pet as a weapon against other people. Even joking using the snake should be avoided. The sudden movements can excite the snake. Treat your snake as a pet that has a potential to harm. So be extra vigilant in handling your pet.
How to Determine the Gender of Your Snake
Probing is the Best Way to Find Out if a Snake is Male or Female.
This article is aimed to assist snake enthusiasts who are new to captive breeding snakes. The most basic step is figuring out whether your snake is male or female.
This is the most conclusive way of telling whether a snake is male or female. The act of probing involves inserting a metal probe (available at professional herpetological retailers) into the vent of the snake in question. If the probe tip goes in all the way, it’s a boy. If the tip hardly penetrates at all, it’s a girl. It is that simple. However, there are some risks. Probing could potentially harm the snake internally by puncturing the membrane that houses the reproductive organs. However, with a little practice and attention to detail, this method can be mastered by the average snake keeper.
Another method commonly used within the herpetological community is a technique called popping. The popping technique is really only commonly used to determine the sex of young snakes, like newborns for example. Probing a baby snake could cause major harm to their reproductive tract and render them sterile, so popping has become the most common practice when sexing newborns.
Herpetological professionals describe the popping technique as putting your thumb on the anal scale and gently pulling the scale back to expose the vent. With your other thumb, gently apply a slight pressure on the tail base (otherwise known as the sub-caudal surface). This should effectively “pop out” the male’s reproductive organs. If nothing happens, or very little becomes exposed, you know you’ve got a female. However, much like probing, this is a risky technique which could result in injuring the reproductive organs of both sexes. Caution should be used when attempting the popping method for the first time and, for safety’s sake, always have a buddy on hand to provide assistance.
- External Clues
Besides looking for answers internally, there are other ways of determining the gender of a snake. Python are simple to sex due to their external clues. Most male pythons, such as the popular ball python, possess a set of claw-like spurs which they use to stimulate females during mating. These spurs are very obvious and are located near the vent of the animal. If you find those obvious set of spurs, you’ve got a male python.
Snake enthusiasts also use another external method to determine the gender of snakes other than pythons. When sexing corn snakes or other colubrids, just comparing the tail length is a good indicator of gender. Male colubrids have longer, more slender tails compared to a female of the same species. However, this method is only accurate if two snakes are compared side-by-side. In addition, size can be an indication of different gender. In the snake’s world, the female is usually larger, although many experts warn that this is not the most conclusive way to determine the sex of a snake.
Temperature, humidity and your pet snake
Getting snakes for pets is a decision that involves a lot of thinking and consideration. As it is, snakes are very sensitive and pet snake care involves lots of cautions and rules to keep the pet alive and healthy.
Foremost among the things to observe for proper pet snake care are the temperature and the level of humidity inside the cages or the living habitat of the snake. Pet snakes need to be kept at the proper temperature. Though snakes are cold creatures, they need warmth, but not so much of it. You may provide warmth to the snakes by putting artificial hot rocks that are wired to heat up. They look like real rocks and can provide resting place to the snakes.
However, since there is electricity that runs through them, there is a threat of short circuit in these artificial rocks which might injure the snake. Further, some snakes do not realize that the temperature of the rocks are already getting very high, thus, exposing them to the danger of being burned or being dehydrated.
Another option for keeping the pet snake’s habitat warm and comfortable is by placing a heating pad under the tank or the box the snake lives in. there are heating lamps also available which gives you the option of warming half of the habitat of the snake while keeping the other half cooler.
Humidity is a very important factor in pet snake care. It is a need for most reptiles. They need to be kept at the proper humidity level to encourage good breeding and eating habits. You can choose to place a water dish under a light or heater to increase evaporation if there is not enough of it. You can also put some plants in the cage to encourage more vapors and remember to use a thermometer to check the level of humidity in the cage.
Excellent pet snake care is actually very hard to accomplish. There is a need for routine and accurate observance of the needs of the pet.
Pet Snakes – Low Maintenance Yet Highly Interesting
Snakes are, surprisingly to some people, generally a low-maintenance pet. Small snakes are popular, fascinating and easy to care for.
With over 2,700 snake species, there is a huge variety in behavior, appearance and characteristics for a prospective keeper to choose from. Small snakes include some attractive, non-poisonous species that are fairly straightforward to care for. While some research is advisable prior to making a final choice, there are many general points that demonstrate how interesting and easy these snakes are to keep.
Snakes sense their surroundings by flicking their forked tongue in and out of their mouths then pressing the tongue against the Jacobson’s organ, which is a smelling organ in the palate of the mouth. Most snakes will get used to being handled and can in many cases be encouraged to do so by being fed after being handled, though as snakes do not feed very often this should be done sparingly. Handling sparingly is advisable in any case because snakes can be easily damaged. Their skin can be delicate during shedding or sloughing as it is usually known.
The snake body should also be supported and the snake should not picked up near its head or tail when unsupported as the small bones in those areas will break and seriously damage a small snake. A bite from a non-poisonous snake can usually be treated with antiseptic cream and a dressing or plaster.
Snake diet does vary by type of snake, so research is necessary. For example, many of the small snakes eat earthworms but all snakes are predators and would normally eat prey such as small mice either live or newly-killed. Snake food for these types can also be a small, frozen, dead rodent.
Adult snakes eat food whole and as a result, a slight bulge can be observed in their body during a prolonged digestion.
Most snakes do not need feeding very often, some even less frequently than once a week. Feeding snakes small amounts perhaps twice per week can be beneficial and is often advised when the snake is in poor health. Some snake species can be fed on artificial foods but usually only if this has been their diet from young, and care is needed.
Most small snakes kept as pets live best in a warm terrarium with a dry floor cover of tree bark, wood shavings or peat though newspaper can be used for some types. Heat for snakes is best administered by a heater pad placed below one end of the tank, allowing the snake to cool at the other end when it needs to. Snakes will drink a lot of water. Terrariums need to be kept clean by regular cleaning every few weeks to prevent any build-up of bacteria which will affect the skin of the snake.
For some species, lights capable of a full spectrum, including Ultraviolet, is required to keep the snake in the best of health. The tank will need to be kept humid during the sloughing of the skin. The onset of the sloughing is signalled by a loss of appetite and the snake’s eyes going a blue-white glaze.
Old snake skin is discarded, unlike some lizards that re-ingest it.
What senses do snakes possess?
Snakes are limbless reptiles, related to lizards. There are over 2,500 species of snakes, living on land, the sea and in fresh water (with the majority found on land).
Snakes are ectotherms, meaning their body temperature remains close to the environment around them, obtaining their body heat from external sources. In cooler climates, snakes will hibernate during winter. However, in warmer climates, they will shelter in rock crevices and logs during cooler weather, and leave these spots to soak up the suns warmth when it is available.
Snakes are less active during cold weather, therefore will hunt less. Their metabolism also slows down during winter; they use up their stored body fat from the warmer months.
The body temperature of snakes plays a vital role in their overall health and well-being, aiding in digestion, activity levels and breeding. Their environmental temperature also plays a role in their hibernation habits.
A snake’s eyesight varies from extremely poor to good, depending on whether the species are nocturnal (night) or diurnal (day). Snakes have difficulty seeing motionless prey or enemies; therefore, a snake’s vision is mainly used in the detection of movement. Objects at 40 feet may appear blurry to snakes, while at 10 or 15 feet, these same objects will appear clearer. A great difference between the sight of snakes and other animals is that other animals are able to focus on an image on the retina of the eyes by using a special muscle to change the shape of the lens; these muscles are absent in many snakes.
Nocturnal species tend to have smaller eyes, resulting in less clear vision. For this reason, nocturnal snakes generally rely heavily on their other senses (especially scent and body heat). Diurnal snakes, possessing larger eyes, tend to rely more heavily on their vision.
- Snake Eye Characteristics
Snakes’ top and bottom eyelids are fused together, preventing them from being able to close their eyes or blink (this is the reason why snakes appear to stare at their prey). Each eye is covered with a single clear scale (called a ‘brille’), which aids in protecting the eyes from injury and drying out.
The eye scales of snakes are a part of their skin, which means that as they shed their skin, the eye scales will also be shed. Prior to shedding, the snake’s skin becomes dull and the eye scales become cloudy due to secretions of a milky fluid between the old skin and the new skin.
Snakes do not possess external ears (therefore do not have eardrums or middle ears). However, they do possess one ear bone (called a columella), which is attached to their jaws. The columella detects sound vibrations traveling along the ground.
Snakes are one of the few animals that is capable of smelling with their forked tongues. While snakes do possess nostrils and nasal cavities, they are not used to smell; instead, it is their tongues that are used to smell or sniff the air.
An organ, known as the ‘Jacobson’s organ’ (located on the roof of a snake’s mouth), picks up and traps tiny particles in their air, which are then transferred to the mouth.
- Heat Sensing Pits
Snakes such as vipers, rattlesnakes and other snakes from the viper family, possess two special heat sensors, called ‘pits’. These pits are located between the snake’s eyes and nostrils, and are used to detect heat given off by warm-blooded prey. These pits provide snakes with the ability of knowing how large or small the prey is, and of its exact location.
Pet Snake Care Guide on Shedding
Snakes have the most magnificent process of shedding old skin. Shedding is also known as sloughing or ecdysis. A snake sheds its skin when it grows or become too big for its current skin. It will be replaced with a new skin.
As part of your pet snake care, you should know the process of shedding. The process starts when the color of your snake’s skin changes color to gray/blue/white for few days. After several days it will normally turn back to its natural color.
”Going into the blue” or “turning opaque” describes the stage when you would notice a faded skin over the eyes of your pet. At this stage, the sight of your snake is limited. Your snake can behave nervously and can even be aggressive. Your snake would likely to shed few days after its eyes returned to a normal color. Although, some snakes will not present any indication prior to shedding.
Here are some pet snake care tips you can do when the shedding starts:
- Increase the humidity to aid the shedding process;
- Place a water bowl for the snake to soak in;
- Put something that can rub off the old skin (usually a rock or piece of bark);
- Place moist towels but not dripping to help in shredding;
- Do not removed remaining pieces of the skin, let the professionals handle the pet snake care at this point;
- Inspect the skin if there are parts that causes discomfort for your snake;
- Call a snake handler/breeder or veterinarian to remove unwanted spectacles;
- The shedding should start from the head towards the tail;
- Handling should be avoided until 2 to 3 days after the shredding process.
Pet Snake Care on Handling and Transport
Pet snake care on handling and transport is one of the first things you should know. Your first encounter with a snake involves these two activities. The first thing you need to do in buying a pet snake is handling it. Then, after you have chosen your pet snake, your next task is to transport it from the pet shop to your house.
- Pet Snake Care on Handling Snakes
One of the most common mistakes in handling snakes is putting a big snake around your neck. Large snakes can easily constrict your neck. Especially if it is your first time to handle the snake, refrain from putting your life in danger by putting the snake around your neck.
The proper way of carrying large snakes is to place it over one shoulder while maintaining control over the head of the snake. The golden rule of handling snakes is to use both of your hands. Use one hand to restrain the head and the other hand to support the weight in the middle of the body.
With venomous snakes, it should be handled with a mechanical tool to restrain the head. Commonly known as snake hooks, this tool ensures that the head is secured before picking up the snake.
- Pet Snake Care on Transporting Snakes
Ideally, snakes should be transported individually. However, if you have numerous snakes, transporting them separately is not practical. If this is the cases, transport the snakes in similar pairs. Also, don’t mix separate species in the same container.
If possible, avoid enclosing snakes of the same gender in one container. Large snakes can be contained using an escape proof cans bags. Secure the canvass bags with a tight and firm knot at the top.
Pet Snake Care Guide on Temperature
Snakes are cold blooded animals. The way it regulates heat is different from humans. Snakes rely heavily on its environment to warm its bodies. Pet snake care should provide your snake with the proper amount of heat. Snakes are both ectothermic and poikilthermic.
Ectothermic qualities allow snakes to maintain suitable body temperature by relying on external heat sources. Poikilothermic is how the snakes body is affected by the external environment. Proper pet snake care should include temperature regulation especially in places that are cold.
What happens when there is not enough heat from the environment? In instances when there is no sufficient external heat, the snake will stop feeding thus resulting to reduced metabolic rate. The snake becomes lethargic. It tends to be susceptible to diseases. The lack of heat sources can be fatal for snakes.
Normally, a snake can regulate its body temperature by lying around hot places or basking under the sun. In a controlled environment such as a cage, the snake will gravitate towards a warm object when it feels cold. When it gets too hot for the snake’s body, it will move back to a cooler part of the cage. This process of shifting from one temperature to another is known as thermoregulation.
Pet snake care should provide external heat sources for your pet. You can achieve this by letting the cage soak under the sun. However, if this is not possible, you can use heating pads or heating strips. You can also induce thermoregulation by isolating a portion of the cage for external heat. The snake can choose to move closer to the heat source when it feels cold and transfer to a cooler place when it had enough heat.
Pet Snakes and Live Feeder Mice
How Choosing Frozen Mice Over Live Mice Can Keep Snakes Healthier
When choosing food for a pet snake, it is important to take its health and welfare into account. Feeding a snake live feeder mice has potential to be disastrous.
New snake owners are often under a quite common misconception: snakes need to hunt live prey. Some people find it exciting to watch their rodent-eating pets hunt for their food inside their enclosures, but there are serious precautions attached to feeding snakes live prey.
Live Feeder Mice can be Dangerous
For many species of snakes kept as pets, the dilemma of whether or not to provide live food is unimportant. Some commonly kept snakes, like garter snakes, water snakes, and smaller corn- and kingsnakes, can eat earthworms, fish, and pinkies, none of which can be truly hazardous if fed alive.
The majority of snakes kept as pets, though, are constrictors (such as the new-snake-owner’s favorite, the ball python). These animals grow large enough to eat regular feeder mice, rats, rabbits, and so on, and this is where there are potential problems.
Constrictors, as the name implies, wrap their bodies around their prey before consumption. During feeding, a constrictor will strike its prey, coil around it, and squeeze it tightly with robust muscles. This, however, doesn’t kill the prey; instead, this process eventually suffocates the prey, as the constriction puts so much pressure on their lungs that they can no longer breathe.
This is where things can go wrong. Live mice (or rats) don’t often hesitate to fight for their lives against this mortal enemy, and they fight teeth-first. Bites and scratches can occur anytime during the feeding process, from the initial constriction, the suffocating phase, and even right before the snake finds the head to begin consuming. And of course, where there are bites, there can be infection and a number of other, potentially worse problems.
Frozen Mice are Safe Mice
Feeding a snake pre-killed food is a simple way to avoid these problems. If a captive snake has always been fed live mice, it may take some time to acclimate to the switch, but most snakes respond well after coaxing, if needed. Frozen mice are usually easy to come by, sold in accessible freezers in large-chain pet stores. If they are unavailable, freezing live feeder mice is a viable option, as well.
How to Prepare Frozen Mice
When preparing a frozen mouse, it is important that the creature is thawed thoroughly. If there are frozen bits inside the mouse, this can cause digestive distress within the snake, and in extreme cases, can even kill it.
There are several ways to effectively thaw a frozen mouse. The quickest way, though not the most popular one, is to put the mouse in the microwave for a minute or so. Another way is to put the mouse in a plastic bag and soak it in hot water for about fifteen or twenty minutes. Once the mouse is thawed thoroughly, let the feeding begin.
Snakes that were previously accustomed to eating live prey may need to be coaxed at first. This is relatively easy to accomplish with feeding tongs or a long, poking-type of object (like an expendable, blunt kitchen utensil). Some owners like to dangle the thawed mouse before the snake to simulate movement, but snakes don’t always have the best striking aim. This is best avoided. With the tongs, simply make the mouse look like it’s moving near the snake. This method usually works quite well. Eventually, the unaccustomed snake will likely accept pre-killed prey without the coaxing.
Many snake owners, experienced and neophytes alike, have lost beloved pet snakes to the live feeding experience. Though it can be educational and fascinating to watch a snake hunt and feed on live prey, there are too many chances a pet owner takes in this endeavor. Feeding pre-killed prey to pets helps to ensure a long, injury-free life.
Why Choose a Pre-Killed Pray to Feed Your Snake
Why should you feed your pet snake pre-killed prey when it is more exciting to have him kill a live one? Pre-killed prey may not be exciting but it is one of the most important aspects in pet snake care.
Snakes are carnivorous in nature.
In the wild they eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, worms, insects and mammals. Feeding your snake will not be a problem due to the variety of choices. Your pet snake diet’s either consists of live prey or pre-killed prey. Live prey can be live mice, gerbils, and chicks. These animals are its living condition.
While pre-killed pray are animals that are already dead and are uncooked. The difference between the two is not about whether the prey is cooked or not. Snakes don’t require the food to be cooked. The ultimate difference is in the freshness of the meat.
Live preys are at its freshest forms since the animals are still alive when you offer it as a food. Blood is still pumping from and into its heart. While pre-killed animals are like the meats you got from the supermarkets where in you store in a freezer until the time comes when you need it.
Proper pet snake care urges the use of pre-killed prey since it cannot hurt your snake. A live prey doesn’t just offer itself as a sacrifice. It will fight back and can potentially harm your pet snake. In defending for its life, it can scratch, bite, and even blind your pet snake.
So it is better to use pre-killed prey to ensure that your snake will not be harmed during the feeding frenzy. Your ultimate goal in pet snake care is preventing harm to your snake.
Trick Your Snake on Eating Pre Killed Prey
If you’re snake hasn’t eaten for sometime due to its distaste for pre-killed prey, don’t easily give up and shift back to live prey. Some snakes are having difficulty in transitioning from live prey to pre-killed prey. It is a common scenario for new newly captive snakes. Although, it is more common for ball pythons, but some species may also exhibit the same preference for live prey.
Tricking your pet snake should be part of your pet snake care. These pet snake care strategy is used for the safety of your pet. A live prey can potentially hurt your pet. Especially, when the live prey is introduced w hen the snake is not yet hungry. Here are some pet snake care tips in tricking your snakes:
- Serve the pre-killed prey at room temperature.
The raw meet have a more distinct odor in room temperature than it is frozen. It can be more aromatic when you thaw the frozen pre-killed prey. However, do not microwave the frozen delight for your pet. Retain the rawness by leaving it out few hours in the room temperature or soaking it in hot water.
- Disguise the smell of the pre-killed prey.
Disguising the smell of the pre-killed prey can be done in different ways. You can dip the frozen animal in a chicken broth. Another way is rubbing the scent of a live animal to your pre-killed pray. It is best to disguise it with the smell of your pet’s favorite food. If it likes to eat chicks, then rub it with a scent of a chicken.
How to feed your pet snake
One key factor to raising snakes as pets is giving them the proper food to eat. Just like in any kind of animal, from mammals to reptiles, and all other living beings, food is a necessity. However, it should be the right food.
As for proper pet snake care, feeding is not very simple as merely tossing the food on the ground and waiting while the snake indulges on it. For snakes, it involves proper selection of food—whether it should be live or pre-killed up to what kind of food it would be.
The choice between live and pre-killed food should be carefully though of. Experts in pet snake care recommend giving the pet snake pre-killed food. This is more practical and more convenient especially for the owner. All he would need is just some good freezers wherein the food will be kept.
However, giving live animals as your snake’s food may prove to be a good decision as well. Most snakes are not trained to eat pre-killed animals, thus, they refuse to it. This, in turn, makes them very sensitive, moody and aggressive.
Worse, they may become sick and die. Further, since good pet snake care involves keeping its habitat clean, keeping live animals would only add up to the dirt and bad smell you have to scrub off. Likewise, you would be incurring additional expenses in order to maintain these live animals.
In feeding your pet snake, you should be careful to note the size of the prey. Feeding a large prey than proper would cause regurgitation.
Pet Snake Care on Humidity
Depending on the type of the snake you have, it can need a highly humid environment or a relatively low humid environment. Knowing how much humidity your snake needs should be part of your pet snake care strategy.
You should know whether your snake is a tropical or dessert species. Relative humidity is the degree of evaporation in the air. As part of your pet snake care, you should be able to provide how much relative humidity is right for your pet snake.
For tropical snakes, it needs to have a higher relative humidity compared to non-tropical snake species. Dessert snakes require lower relative humidity compared to other snake species. To increase relative humidity here are some pet snake care tips on enclosure:
- Decrease the number of holes for ventilation.
- Introduce water by spraying the housing once or twice a day using a regular spray bottle.
- Place a container filled with water over a heat source.
- Buy an electric humidifier, vaporizers or mist makers.
- Have a large bowl of water for the snake to soak into.
Inadequate relative humidity can cause problems in shedding, dehydration, and respiratory difficulties. Abnormal or prolonged shredding can be subsided with exposure to higher humidity. However, higher humidity can also lead to problems with ventilation.
It results to the buildup of bacteria and other parasites inside the housing. An example of skin disease due to high relative humidity is blister disease or “skin rot”. To prevent this, enclosures or cages with high humidity should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.