Showing posts with label Snakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snakes. Show all posts


Dangerous REPTILES

Aztec double-headed serpent (detail)
Photo  by Neil_Henderson 
When people decide to buy reptiles for pets, some inevitably cross the line of safety and wisdom.  Although it may seem thrilling to own a pet that is harmful, it's best left up to the experts and people who are trained to preserve wildlife.

Underestimating a dangerous reptile can mean a quick and certain death to the uneducated and careless pet owner.  But if you're determined to own a dangerous reptile, at least make sure you are aware of all the possible safety precautions.  Be fully informed as to what steps to take should you incur injury from contact with your pet.

A pet may harm an owner for several reasons.  A reptile has instincts that are inbred.  If you make the mistake of smelling like food, you will be in danger of being mistaken for food.  There's also the danger of underfeeding your reptile and having them strike out in desperation from starvation.  If you startle the reptile, you're likely to be harmed.  If the reptile is injured or ill, the pain may cause them to strike out.  Although it is easy to want to blame the reptile, you must take into account the reasons it may have chosen to bite, scratch, or otherwise harm someone.

Neglect to keep the cage, terrarium, or other enclosure secure at all times is crucial to your safety and to the safety of the reptile.

Some snakes have teeth, some have venomous fangs, and some have constriction to use as weapons.  Whatever the case may be, you can be certain it will be painful to the recipient.  Vipers and rattlesnakes are two dangerous snakes that use their poisonous fangs to inject venom into their prey or attacker.  Vipers can grow as long as 6 feet and don't need daylight to attack.  The pits between their eyes and nostrils alert them to their prey.  A beautifully dangerous reptile, the golden eyelash viper is a bright lemon yellow color.

Snakes aren't the only dangerous reptiles, nor are they the only dangerous reptiles chosen for pets.  Crocodiles and caymans are also big predators.  They latch onto their prey with their many teeth and powerful jaws, and then they drag the larger victims underwater to drown them.  Crocodiles have been known to gobble snakes for treats!

American alligators can be seen in many museums or zoos, live in exhibits.  Well known in the deep south of Louisiana, they are not only predators but also are hunted for food and to be cut up into trinkets sold to tourists.

The alligator disguises itself as a log in swamp water and is camouflaged very well.  They live in swamps and bayous from Texas to North Carolina.  Florida has an abundance of inland water that provides a perfect habitat for these reptiles.  Their diet of fish, birds, and small animals along with their size and vicious capabilities make them unwelcome to most as pet material.  Their habitat is hard to create as well.

You can tell the difference in crocodiles and alligators by the shape of their snouts and the way the teeth lay when the jaws are shut.  The alligator is able to conceal its teeth inside its mouth while the crocodile is not.



Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspil...
Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila)
(Photo credit: 
When you've had some success caring for captive snakes, you might find yourself interested in breeding them. This can be done, but it requires record keeping and attention to many details concerning the living conditions of the snakes. The breeding is generally done in the winter so that the babies are born or hatched in the spring.

Breeding snakes require feeding them well for about four months and then putting them into a cool state of hibernation. To do this, you first need to fatten them up, especially females, for a few months in late summer, then lower the temperature for a few more weeks or months. The exact timing varies with the species, as do the temperature requirements.

Just a quick note about determining the sex of a snake. This skill needs to be learned from an expert. It is a tricky process, sometimes requiring the use of a metal probe to look for the male reproductive organ. Even the most experienced of snake breeders make a mistake now and then.

During the hibernation, the snake is not fed but is provided with fresh water. When the time is up, the snake is gradually warmed up and fed well again for a little while. Then the female and male are placed together. If she resists him, separate them and wait another week. If not, leave them together for a week or so.

A female snake that is developing eggs within is called "gravid." Some species of snake eat well during this time and others don't. The length of time it takes varies even within the same species. Again, the amount of heat provided makes a difference. Most females will shed shortly before laying their eggs.

Some snakes give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs. The boas are examples of this. The hibernation requirements for these tropical snakes are much less, amounting to just a couple of weeks with low nighttime temperatures. Their humidity needs are higher, and they should be misted daily. With boas, you can add more than one male to the female's enclosure.

Pregnancy takes from 4 to 10 months. The mother to usually eat well during this time, but you should choose smaller food items since her inside body space is getting more crowded. Shedding usually precedes giving birth, but it can be as much as another month before the birth. The litter size can range from 10 to as many as 80 for large, robust females.

In general, snake babies should be removed and placed in separate containers lined with paper towels. The paper towels should be kept moist for the first two weeks. They will shed around this time and can feed on pinkies or fuzzies (young mice) after the shed.

There may be a market for these young reptiles, and the process is certainly fascinating for the hobbyist. Do remember, though, that there are growing numbers of pet snakes being shoved off into rescue shelters because the owners just can't handle them anymore. Be a responsible snake breeder, and make sure your young snakes won't just be more casualties.


MILK SNAKES and KING SNAKES Make Good Pets For Beginners

Have you been considering purchasing a snake as a pet? There are many different types of snakes available at specialty pet stores. But, if this is your first pet snake, you might want to consider purchasing a king snake or a milk snake. There are numerous sub-species that fall into these two closely-related snakes; this means you will have a variety of different colors and patterns to choose from. In addition, these snakes are generally non-aggressive and easy to care for.

Getting to Know the King Snake and the Milk Snake

Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspil...
Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
King snakes and milk snakes are interesting creatures for a number of different reasons. For starters, the colors and patterns found on some of these snakes can look very similar coral snakes, which are very venomous snakes with yellow and red bands of color. In fact, the only real difference in appearance between a coral snake and a king or milk snake with the same coloring is the act that king and milk snakes have a line of black touching the red bands.

Another interesting characteristic of king snakes and milk snakes is the fact that they actually eat other snakes as well as lizards, rodents, amphibians, and birds. Of course, as the owner of a king snake or milk snake, you would not feed other snakes to your pet. Not only would this be quite expensive for you, but it would also be potentially dangerous to your snake as well. Nonetheless, when surviving in the wild, king snakes and milk snakes can actually eat snakes that are larger than they are. In fact, it is not uncommon for some to regularly eat rattlesnakes in the wild. Therefore, you should never put more than one king snake or milk snake in the same aquarium, as one will be certain to make a meal out of the other.

Housing a King Snake or a Milk Snake

Eastern Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula getula
Eastern Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula getula
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since king snakes and milk snakes can reach six to seven feet in length, it is important to select a terrarium that is large enough for them to grow and to rest comfortably inside. When they are young, a 10-gallon tank may be sufficient. A full-grown snake, however, should be provided a 60-gallon tank in which it can stretch and move about, as king snakes and milk snakes tend to be quite active.

When selecting a terrarium for a king snake or a milk snake, it is also very important to select one that can be secured tightly. These snakes have a reputation for getting out of their cages and for squeezing through even the smallest places. So, spend a little extra on a terrarium with a top that can be latched.

Maintaining the proper temperature is also important when it comes to keeping your snake healthy. Milk snakes and king snakes generally like their cages to be around 76 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, but the temperature should drop down to about 70 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit at night. At the same time, you should take measures to provide different temperatures within the cage so your snake can move from one area to the next in order to regulate its temperature.

It is important to note that the needs of various varieties of milk snakes and king snakes can differ. Therefore, you should be certain to research the specific type of snake you are considering purchasing in order to make certain you set its home up properly and give it the best chance of living a long and healthy life.


BALL PYTHON Care For Pet Lovers

Python regius - ball python
Python regius - ball python (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ball python care is one of the important things you should know about them. You must provide them with their basic needs in life to make them happy, healthy and comfortable even in captivity. Most ball pythons live most of their lives in the wild so when caught in captivity they seem so hard to adjust to their new environment. 

This is where you should start giving care to them in order for them to easily adjust in their new home with us. You must provide a comfortable home for them to stay in. A comfortable home for them is an enclosure with basic needs and accessories in it such as hide boxes, ceramic sturdy water bowls, full-spectrum lights, thermometers, and a substrate and heat pads.

In ball python care, you must also know how to feed and handle your pythons. Caring for your ball pythons is feeding them with pre-killed preys. Young pythons must be fed with pinkie mice and adult ball pythons must be fed of large rats. Never force feed your snakes and let them eat on their own. Remember also not to give them live preys for it is dangerous for them. You must also know how to handle your ball pythons in order for them to be tame and be a use of human contact. Keep in mind also that you should not handle your pythons after feeding because they are a bit sensitive after eating so let it stay in its cage for few days then after, you can handle them again.

Ball python care is important also on sick ball pythons. A sick python needs all the love and care in order for them to survive in this stressful situation in their life. Caring for sick ball pythons is placing them in a quarantine tank with hiding boxes and water bowl. Maintain also the right amount of temperature and humidity in the tank. In ball python care, you must always check your snake from signs of illnesses such as mouth rot, IBD, blister disease and respiratory disease so you can treat it at once and it won't get worst. These are some tips on keeping ball python healthy that you should know and follow.

Now that you know all these ball python care, apply it to your pet ball python to make them really healthy. Caring for them makes them happy and comfortable even in captivity. Giving them the proper care will make them live a longer life.



Corn Snake
Photo  by Chris Parker2012 
Corn snakes are the most popular pet snake there is, and for a very good reason. These are snakes with a very good temper, and they are very easy to keep in an enclosure. Their adult size will usually be between 4 to 6 feet, and they have a very slender body type. The "original" corn snake has a black and white checkered pattern on their bellies that resembles a corn cob. I say original because corn snakes have been bred to get the most amazing colors and patterns; spotted, striped, no pattern, and all kinds of colors. Even pet shops usually have a wide variety of these "morphs".

Corn snakes live for a long time, around 15 to 20 years, so keep this in mind when buying one. In this care sheet, I will try to explain the most important sides of having a pet corn snake.

When you get your first corn snake, it is important that you have its setup ready.
First, they need a tank to live in, a ten-gallon tank is a good size for a young one. Then you increase the size of the tank up to 20 or 30 gallons when it reaches adult size.

At the bottom of the tank, you need substrate. You could use newspaper or plain paper, but a better choice is aspen wood shavings. The snake might burrow in it, it's very easy to clean and it even helps the snake shed by allowing it to rub against it. There are also specially designed reptile carpets you can get, but whatever you choose just remember that cedar is poisonous to snakes, and pine can dehydrate their skin. Most stores have aspen, and it's cheap and easy so I would say go with that.

One of the most important things, especially for a young corn snake is a hide. A lot of people forget just how important this is. The snake needs to feel safe, and a large empty tank will make the snake very stressed. I can guarantee you that the hide will be the one thing that your snake will use the most. For a hide you can use a box with a hole at the side, a flower pot with a hole at the bottom turned upside down, or you can buy a more fancy one at a pet store. Even an empty toilet roll will work! You should have at least two hides, one on each side of the tank; one on the cool end, and one on the warm end.

This leads me to the heat source. Unless you live where it's very warm you should have some sort of heat in your tank. Snakes need heat to properly digest their food. A good choice is a UTH(under tank heater). This is a mat specifically designed for reptiles, and you put it underneath on one side of the tank. This will give the snake a gradient in its tank, a difference in temperature on the two sides. 

Alternatively, you could use a heat lamp, but this option will not give the snake any belly heat, so a UTH is the best option. It's important to remember that the UTH can get very hot if left without a thermostat it can reach up to 120 Fahrenheit! This is of course too hot and will cause severe burns. So make sure you have plenty of substrates to prevent the snake from laying right on the glass. If you buy a thermostat, a meter that will control the temperature you will save yourself a lot of worries as even with enough substrate on the bottom the snake can still burrow down to the bottom. Snakes are "stupid" in the way that they will not notice that they burn their skin until it's too late. $40 will give you an OK thermostat and is well worth its price. If you live in hot areas you'll probably be fine without a heat source, but for most, you should definitely get one.

A meter to measure the temperature and humidity is also important. Humidity is vital for a healthy shed, so when you see that your snake is going to shed increase the humidity to around 65-70%. A simple way to do this is to mist the tank with a spray bottle or to put a wet towel over the lid. The wet towel will quickly increase the humidity when it reaches the level you want simply replace it with a dry towel covering 3/4 of the top. This will help keep the humidity in, without getting 100%. Extended periods of high humidity can lead to sickness, so keep the humidity high only when it is shedding.

Water must always be available, and the size of the water bowl should enable the snake to soak its body in it. You can buy one from a pet store, but a kitchen bowl will work just as well. Just make sure that the snake does not tip it over. This should be placed on the cool end, opposite of the cool hide.

A secure lid is, of course, a must-have. Petco has clips for $3 that you put on both sides of the lid, and they work perfectly. A runaway snake is VERY hard to find, especially when its young. And even baby snakes can escape through the smallest gap. Our first corn snake managed to escape once, although this was because I forgot to put the lid back on its cage. Needless to say, we turned the whole apartment upside down looking for it, seeing as there were three cats trying to get it before we did. Luckily hours later it showed up underneath the vacuum cleaner. So be careful, get the clips and remember to put them on.

A branch to climb on, or fake plants for decor is also something you might add to your setup. Just remember that anything you bring in from outside, or if you buy it used put it in the oven for a couple of hours on 200 degrees (Fahrenheit). This will kill any parasites on it. For plastic plants, rinse them out in a weak bleach solution. If you have these things set up, you should be ready for the snake!
Bringing the Corn Snake home

When acquiring a corn snake you have several possibilities. Pet store, breeder or the classifieds.
A breeder will always be the best choice, as you are dealing with people who love the snakes. Corn snake breeding does not take in a lot of money so you can be sure that the breeder has a passion for these animals. You'll be able to know it's history, sex, date of birth, its feeding records etc. Also, you are more protected against parasites. Pet stores usually have a lot of different animals, and their main goal is to make $$. Some stores do take good care of their animals, but unfortunately, they are in minority. a lot of people do get their snakes from pet stores, but I would strongly advise you to support the community and buy from a breeder. Buying from the classifieds you never know what you're going to get, you have no guarantee that the seller is telling you the truth. But the choice is yours.

When you bring home the corn snake there will be about a week where you cannot disturb it. The snake needs to get used to its new home, and in the meantime, you must leave it alone. By giving the snake a week to settle down, you ensure that you will end up with a healthy, comfortable snake. After a week has passed, take it out on a regular basis, and let it get used to you. At first, it might be a little shy and nippy, but don't worry. With handling and time, it will settle down and be a wonderful pet.

To pick up the snake try to scoop it up from underneath. A big hand coming directly towards its head might feel threatening, so go in from the side as opposed to from above it. Be careful though, a young corn is very skittish and might try to jump right out of your hand. A fall might seriously hurt it, so be cautious and don't let young children hold the baby snake. If there are young children in the family, wait till the snake has calmed down before they hold it.
A week after you brought it home, it should have gotten so comfortable that it will eat. If the corn is stressed or the temperatures are wrong it might not want food, but hopefully, this is not the case.

For feedings provide a separate box of some sort, it can be cardboard, Tupperware or whatever you have handy. Feeding in the tank is not a good idea, as the snake might digest the substrate which can kill it. Also when feeding in a separate container, the snake won't associate its tank with feeding, so when you go to pick it up you won't be mistaken for food. Hatchlings, that is baby corn snakes, eat one pinkie mouse every four or five days. These newborn mice can usually be bought frozen at pet stores, or you can go online for better deals. Put the pinkie in some hot water for around ten minutes, and make sure that it's completely thawed out. When the snake is in the feeding box, slowly dangle the pinkie in front of it. When the snake strikes, let go and let it eat without interruption. When the pinkie is swallowed and you can see the lump a good way down its tummy slowly pick up the snake and put it back in its tank.

Now it needs 48 hours to digest the food. Heat plays a crucial role in digestion, as well as leaving it alone for two full days. Digestion takes a lot of energy for snakes, so much that if it doesn't feel safe or is stressed out it might regurgitate the food.(throw up) This is its basic instincts, if it needs to make a safe escape from a dangerous situation (from the snake's view) it cannot do this while digesting, hence the regurgitation. After a couple of days, the food should be digested, and you can continue handling until next feeding.

There are problems that might come up with feeding that I will address. Hopefully, you won't have to worry about this though. If the snake will not eat, wait five days before trying again. Trying sooner will just stress the snake out even more. A snake is not going to be hurt by going a few weeks without food, so just be patient.

There are different techniques you might try if it really won't eat. First, make sure that the temperatures are good, and that you're not handling it too much. If so, you can put the pinkie and the snake in a brown paper bag, roll up the end so it won't be able to get out and leave it overnight in the tank. You can also try cutting a hole in the pinkie's head hoping that brain matter will lure the snake to eat. Alternatively, soak the pinkie in chicken broth before trying to feed it. If it's been over a month you should consider taking your snake to the veterinarian to check for parasites.

If you experience regurgitation something is wrong and you must fix it. Check your husbandry, look in water bowl for mites, and leave the snake alone until next feeding. Also, make sure that you are feeding appropriately sized mice. When the snake gets bigger, increase the size of the mouse and days between feeding. You can also feed rats; adult corns can have either two adult mice or a small rat every two weeks. If feeding rats, you need to make sure that the snake does not get fat. Rats are a lot more fattening then mice, so if you see that your snake starts to develop hips you should switch to mice.

Other Facts to Remember
Snakes shed as they grow, and it's important that they have good sheds. If the snake has not fully shed its skin, try giving it a bath in luke-warm water, or hold a wet towel around it. You can also put wet paper towels inside its hide to help the snake shed.

If your snake soaks in the water a lot, look for mites. Most often you will be able to spot them in the water. They are small and black or red, with legs. Mites are not because of a dirty tank etc, they probably got it from another reptile. Pet stores have mite treatment that works good, and both the snake, the tank and everything in the tank needs to be treated. Also if you have other reptiles, they might have it too. Mites are harmless to humans but can be fatal to snakes so be sure to treat them as soon as possible.

Wash your hands after touching the snake.
Take lots of pictures, have fun and enjoy your new pet!


SNAKES As Reptile Pets

Green Tree Python
Green Tree Python - Photo  by nasmac 
Most common snakes kept as pets in the reptile category are the corn snakes and the Royal Python. Pythons do have teeth and will bite even though they kill their food by constriction.  A python can possibly live to be 40 years old when conditions are right and have been known to be the longest snake on record, reaching well over 30 feet in length!  While this is the exception to the rule, it should still be a consideration when choosing a snake for a reptile pet.

You must know the proper requirements for your snakes before you commit to keeping more than one in the same enclosure.  All snakes are not the same!  Feeding them together is discouraged as well. Some snakes eat other snakes, too, so be careful about your choices.  There are people who live in the country who will keep the king snake alive simply because it is known to kill other harmful snakes.

There are different types of corn snakes and different types of pythons.  Know your type before you purchase.  Some make better choices than others for pets.  Don't touch your snake if it's in the water bowl and has developed milky eyes.  This could be a sign of shedding.  Because the snake has limited vision, it could strike out at you in defense, not knowing you don't intend to harm it.

There are things that could make your snake reluctant to eat.  Force feeding is not a good idea. Illness, stress, shedding, temperature, humidity, and occasional fasting may make your snake's appetite change.

The anaconda is not the longest snake ever known, but it is the heaviest.  Although anacondas have been kept in captivity, it is not advisable.  For one thing, it isn't fair to the snake.  Their natural environment is a river.  Some people have gone so far as to keep venomous or dangerous reptiles for pets, including rattlesnakes.  This is highly discouraged, especially in homes containing children or the elderly.

Wildlife shows make the adventures with reptiles seem fun and exciting.  But most people should note that these people who interact with the snakes and other reptiles are experienced, trained professionals.  They didn't become enlightened overnight.

Scaled reptiles are classified as Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes.  Detachable jaws are one of the fascinating talents of the snakes.  The other qualification for inclusion as a Squamata is the scaly skin or shields.

Snakes are thought to have evolved from lizards---but most people are far more scared of snakes than they are of lizards!  It's ironic that the snake evolved from the lizard, yet lizards are one of the small animals the snake is known to eat.

Some snakes can climb trees to steal eggs from the bird nests.  They've even been known to devour the unfortunate bird left guarding the eggs.  Because the snake swallows its food whole, digestion is more complicated and tiresome for the reptile.  This will cause the snake to regurgitate if disturbed during digestion so it can escape danger.

Yes, snakes can be interesting pets and interesting reptiles.  Just make sure you know what you're dealing with before you attempt to make contact!


Setting Up An Enclosure For A SNAKE

Maybe they're not exactly cuddly, but snake makes interesting pets. Regardless of the type of snake, from nice little corn snakes up to monster Burmese pythons, there are some principles that apply to setting up a cage or enclosure for a pet snake. One of the most important aspects is to make sure the enclosure is absolutely escape-proof.

Boa - Photo: Wikimedia

Snakes are known to have Houdini tendencies when it comes to staying confined. Aquariums make good enclosures for snakes, but the lids have to fit tightly and be clipped on. Some owners make belts to attach to the enclosure for more security. Any doors or openings in the cage need to fit tightly or the snake will push against it trying to get out. Remember, most of them are pretty slim, so they don't need that big of an opening to slip out.

The size of the enclosure should reflect the size of the snake. Many babies are insecure in a large cage and even have trouble finding their food. It's usually advisable to put young snakes in smaller enclosures. To choose a size of cage for an adult snake, first, measure the length of the snake. Get an enclosure with a perimeter that measures twice the length of the snake. For instance, a three-foot long snake would do OK in an enclosure 12 by 24 inches.

The exception to the above rule is arboreal, or tree-dwelling, snakes. These need a taller enclosure with lots of branches for climbing.

A snake enclosure needs a material to cover the bottom, called a substrate. Newspaper can line the bottom of the enclosure and makes a cheap surface that absorbs moisture and is easy to change when soiled. There are also special types of carpeting available at the pet store to use as a substrate. If you have two that fit, you can use one while washing the other.

Temperature is very important in a snake enclosure. Snakes are cold-blooded animals and have to keep warm from outside sources. Ideally, a pet snake's cage will provide several choices in temperature so the animal can regulate its body heat. This is done by heating one end of the enclosure only. Heating methods include heating pads under half of the enclosure or heat lamps. If using a light, it will need to be off during the night hours.

Thermometers should be used to monitor the inside temperature. Requirements vary from one species to another. A pet store product called a "hot rock" is widely discouraged because it has a tendency to burn pet snakes. Using a heat lamp or infrared heating panel is a far better way to provide the snake with heat. Some snakes have specific humidity requirements, too. A hygrometer can be used to monitor humidity. Misting the enclosure from time to time can help keep it more humid when necessary.

The snake will need a water bowl. Ideally, it should not tip easily. For most varieties of snake, it should be large enough to take a soak once in awhile. Keeping it only about a third full helps avoid soaking the substrate. Pottery and wide based pet food dishes work well for water bowls.

A final necessity in the enclosure is a place for the snake to hide. This can be as simple as a plastic dish with a hole cut in the side. Having two, one on each end of the enclosure, gives the snake a choice. Setting up a nice enclosure takes a little time and money, but will ensure your snake has comfort and security.


Gigantic REPTILES!

Of all the reptiles, we are usually most interested in the largest ones - alligators, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and the big snakes.   These snakes have songs written about them, and the anaconda was even the star of a movie!  Not only are these reptiles amazing due to their size, they also have many other interesting points.

English: Royal Python or Ball python, Python r...
Royal Python or Ball python, Python regius
(Photo credit: 

Let's begin with the standard question, exactly how big are they?  The largest of the big snakes is the anaconda, which has been reported to grow to thirty-seven feet long.  You can't realize how long a reptile this is until you measure from your room down the hallway, probably well into the living room.  A truly enormous snake, and one of the longest reptiles ever!  This snake spends most of its time in the water hiding in the water plants of South America.

The other four giant snakes are pythons, and are found in Africa and Asia.  They grow to between 22 feet and 32 feet, depending on the species.  If you see a python in a zoo or other animal show, it is probably a reticulated python from Southeast Asia, due to its beautiful color pattern and the fact that it does well living in captivity.  How do regular snakes compare with these giants?  Most other snakes are much smaller, and even few rarely even grow to twelve feet.  

The giant snakes can live up to twenty years in captivity.  When they are young they can be eaten by hawks or other predators that eat smaller snakes, but no animal would try to threaten or eat a full grown giant snake.  The only real enemies of these great reptiles are intestinal parasites, diseases, and man. 

The giant snakes really can swallow a man whole!  Very few cases of that have been reported though.  Once a giant snake has had a large supper, it would be the same as if it ate four hundred average sized meals.  This means that sometimes these reptiles might go a long time between meals, maybe as infrequently as once a year. 

The giant snakes have extremely strong muscles, and use them both in movement and in hunting their prey.  Their jaws are also very strong, but that isn't as important as how wide their mouths open in order to eat their prey.  Generally the giant snakes kill their prey before the snake begins to swallow them.  The giant snakes rely on squeezing their prey (which is why they are often called constrictors), but they generally squeeze only hard enough to prevent the prey from breathing sufficiently, and eventually suffocate the prey.  They do not need or intend to squeeze hard enough to crush or break bones, as people sometimes think.

A constrictor throws several coils around the body of its prey, very neatly, and at each breath simply applies a little more pressure until the prey can no longer breathe.  There are stories of skulls of goats being broken, but this is not necessary and not even the way that the constrictors work.  One interesting behavior is that sometimes the giant snakes will break bones in order to "fold" a victim in two in order to swallow it more easily. 

Many snake handlers consider the giant snakes to be quite intelligent, and find that the giant snakes are easily handled and come to recognize and accept their trainers.  They are among the most fascinating of reptiles, and make sure you visit them if they are in a nearby zoo or other naturalist area.


Caring For A Pet SNAKE

When people think of pets, most of the time "furry" and "cuddly" are adjectives that come to mind. For the owners of pet snakes, however, these words don't really fit. Still, snakes make interesting pets, and can even be lovable - in their own way.

Photo Wikimedia

Choosing to own a pet snake should not be a snap decision. Snakes can grow large, eat a lot, and require very specific conditions for staying healthy. Some varieties can even be dangerous to humans. Providing for their needs can be quite expensive. To top it all off, snakes tend to have a long lifespan. For the sake of the snake, don't buy one without being sure you are ready to make the commitment.

All snakes are meat-eaters. Many snake owners keep live mice or rats, which multiply rapidly, as food for their snakes. It is recommended that snakes be fed pre-killed prey animals instead of live ones. Especially if the snake is not real hungry, a live prey animal can inflict injuries to the snake. Many snake enthusiasts order frozen mice for their snakes. Others raise mice and kill them as needed to feed their snakes.

The good part of feeding a snake is that most shouldn't be fed more often than once a week and some can go for several weeks between feedings. The reason is that they don't have to expend any energy creating their own body heat. In fact, if the cage is not warm enough, a snake can't even digest its food.

The enclosure, or cage, for the snake needs to be first of all escape proof. Snakes are escape artists, and don't need a very big opening in order to find a way out. The cage also has to have a source of heat. Because they are cold blooded, snakes must have a variety of temperatures to choose from. This is how they regulate their body heat. For best results, the enclosure should be heated on one side only and thermometers used on both ends. Each snake species has specific needs in terms of heat, and you should find out these needs before getting a snake.

Other needs include a bowl of water, several places to hide, and a floor lining. If you’re on a tight budget, newspaper works well for most snake varieties. It can easily be replaced when soiled. The water should be kept clean, too. Any wastes or uneaten food should be removed quickly. The cage should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected about once a month.

Keeping a pet snake is a responsibility that can also be an adventure. If you are a beginner, you should start with one of the easier snakes to keep. Do a little research, and you will find out that pet snake breeds are generally rated according to how hard they are to keep. In time, you will learn the ins and outs of snake keeping, and can expand your collection to include some of the more exotic types.


Tips For Buying A PET SNAKE

Buying a snake can be a sizable investment. Getting a snake requires making a commitment to the pet's care and well-being. It is important to do your research so you know that the particular species or breed is something you will enjoy owning in the years to come. Find out how difficult they are to feed and house before you buy. Also find out about the snake's temperament.

Remember that some snakes get extremely large, can be dangerous, and live a long time. Lifespans of over twenty years are not uncommon. Don't assume getting rid of that unwanted reptile will be a piece of cake either.

English: Negev Zoo snake
Negev Zoo snake
(Photo credit: 

Another thing to check out before buying is the laws of your particular city. In many places, snakes of certain varieties are restricted as pets.

That being said, it's a good idea to get the enclosure, or vivarium, ready for the snake to move in before buying one. Different species have different requirements in heat, humidity, and size of enclosure, so again, do your homework.

Before buying, look your snake over for indicators of poor health. It's a good idea to hang around the pet store or breeders' for a while, just watching the snakes for clues to individual snakes' personalities. The eyes should be bright and shiny. If they appear dull, it's a sign that the snake is about to shed its skin. Wait until it has shed so you can get a better idea of how it looks.

It is important to get a snake that has been hatched or birthed by a reputable breeder. Make sure the snake is accustomed to eating pre-killed food before you buy it.

The best place to go to find a reputable breeder is your local herpetological society. Most areas have herp clubs for people who are into reptiles. If you're lucky, you might get to attend a herp show in your area. Breeders attend these gatherings and show off their stock. Search online for information about herp shows you could attend. (Herpetology is the branch of biology that studies reptiles and amphibians. "Herp" is a common nickname for these animals.)

When studying the choices of pet snake species, get to know the Latin names. Common names vary with pet stores and with regions. By knowing exactly what species of snake you want, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Different species of similar snakes, such as boas or pythons, have different temperaments and grow to different sizes. Just knowing it is a boa or a python is not specific enough to know for sure what you are getting.

Finally, there are some people who just should not own pet snakes. These include homes with children under five and anyone with a compromised immune system, because there is a small possibility of a snake carrying salmonella. The large pythons and constrictors can be a danger to young children, too. (And to everyone else, too! Be extremely careful, and know what you're getting into.)

Educate yourself before you start shopping for that cool looking snake. If it’s your first snake, consider getting a And prepare to be in it for the long haul.




Ball pythons grow to about 4 feet in length and some may grow to about 5 feet in length. They become nicely rounded if properly fed. They have anal spurs. These are single claws that appear on either side of the vent. Males have longer spurs than females and males also have smaller heads than females. They have blotches on a brown or bluish-brown background color. Colors may vary but there will be shades of yellow found in all ball pythons. 

English: Female ball python (Python regius) br...
Female ball python (Python regius) brooding a clutch of eggs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basic Care: 

Glass tanks can be used for housing with a fixed glass top. Ball pythons are more cunning than other snakes when it comes to escaping from the cage. A ten gallon tank can be used for a hatchling. A young adult will need a 20 gallon tank, and a full grown adult will need a 30 gallon tank. 

These snakes will adjust to the environment it is housed in, but will normally require a more humid area when it is shedding. If one notices that the snake has not eaten for a very long time though it is necessary, and it begins to lose weight, it must be shown to a vetenary. 


In the wild ball pythons eat amphibians, other snakes, small mammals and birds. They do not eat mice in the wild. In captivity one has to let them grow into the activity of being fed with mice. These snakes do not need to eat regularly and some may even live for up to a year without any food. 

Baby ball pythons can be fed with mice that have already been killed. If the hatchling is smaller than usual, a smaller mouse can be used as the feed. Adults may be fed with larger mice. These snakes do not need a regular feeding time table. Fresh water must be provided daily, as the ball python like others drinks and also soaks itself in the water. 

Heat and light: 

For the snake to be healthy proper temperature range must be maintained. A temperature of 80 to 85 ºF with a 90 degree spot for basking must be maintained in the day time. The temperature may be around 70 to 75 ºF in the cooler area. Heating pads may be used under the glass enclosure. 

Hot rocks will not be suitable because ball pythons are susceptible to thermal burns. Special lights are not needed, and a low wattage bulb can be used to view the snake in the day time. Ball pythons are especially prone to getting burned and so the light must not be kept directly above them. 


Ball pythons in the wild are found in generally temperate to arid areas. Initially paper towels can be used as substrate in the housing. This will also help determine if there are any mites present and also the feces can be monitored. Shredded cypress or fur bark can be used after the ball python is used to living in the enclosure. Pine and aspen shavings are not recommended, as they may get lodged in the mouth causing respiratory problems. Soiled shavings must be removed to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. 

An empty cardboard box or a log must be placed inside the cage for the ball python to use it as a hiding place. One must make sure the box is large enough for the entire snake to fit inside. The hiding place should not be too big as the snake likes to have a small place to hide. Fake branches and greenery may be placed inside the cage for the snake to climb and hang on. 


They are active around dawn and dusk. They are comfortable on the ground and in the trees. They curl up tightly and put their heads in the centre when they become nervous. They are curious and gentle. Some ball pythons will not shed for a few months when they are initially in captivity. This means they are highly stressed with the surroundings.



I get a lot of questions about owning a Corn snake so I decided to put together a list of Corn snake facts that you should know before you consider owning one.

Corn Snake devouring a dead mouse fetus.
Corn Snake devouring a dead mouse fetus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are a few on this list that can be considered "number one", however I feel this is probably the one most people tend to over look. While the maintenance for a snake isn't nearly as much as a dog, it's just as important. Like any pet, it's going to require feeding, handling, cleaning up after, etc. Remember that the life span of a healthy Corn snake is between 10 to 20 years.

One of the most important things to plan for is finding someone responsible to care for your Corn snake whenever you must go out of town for any reason such as vacation or a business trip. Not only should they be responsible, they need to also not be afraid of snakes. You'll come to find that it isn't quite as easy as finding a pet sitter for a dog or cat. This brings me to the next thing on this list

Your snake will feed on either frozen or live mice. If the thought of handling this part of the responsibility makes you uncomfortable, this consideration should be very high on your list. Another thing to consider is that you will need to have a place to store the mice. Also, this will be another requirement for the person you select to watch your snake when you are out of town.

Remember that your snake will need housing, a heating source, substrate, hides, and food. While baby Corn snakes can be kept in small containers, such as a shoe box; they will soon out grow it and will need to be moved to a bigger tank.

I would suggest purchasing a corn snake from a local breeder, or from a local reptile expo. These shows are held annually in various cities across the country. If attending one of these shows isn't possible then my next suggestion would be to purchase it from a reputable website. Be sure to do a thorough research on Google for customer reviews and ratings. I would avoid purchasing one from a local pet store if possible but if you have no other choice, some things to look out for include: Is the store clean? Do the employees appear to be good with snakes and knowledgeable?

By asking a few basic questions, you'll know if they have any knowledge at all. Some questions you can ask include: What do you recommend for tank size? How often should I feed it? What is the idea temperature for my Corn snake? What should I do if it won't eat? If they can answer these types of questions then it's time to move onto the snake. Be sure to check the snake thoroughly. It should be alert and responsive. It should also be free of any scars or parasites. The body weight should be appropriate for its size, not scrawny and weak. It should also have good muscle tone.


RATTLERS - The Dangerous Reptiles!

Snakes are probably the reptiles that fascinate and repel us the most.  One of the most visited booths at any outdoor show is the reptile area, with the little kids standing around and squealing at one special area - the area where the rattlesnakes are kept.  Milking rattlesnakes has been a popular sideshow item for many years at local fairs and county shows.  There are about thirty different species of rattlers, and all of them live in America.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adam...
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) in Columbus Zoo
(Photo credit: 

Let's look at these wonderful reptiles and get to know them a little better.  The two largest, on average, are the eastern and western diamondbacks.  The average length of an adult eastern diamondback is around four feet, and the average length of a western diamondback is about three and a half feet.  There are reports of diamondbacks that were more than ten feet, but facing a live rattler may add a few feet to the story.  The largest ones that have actually been measured have been just under eight feet long.   A six-foot rattler can weigh as much as 11 pounds.

Generally reptiles are not thought of as beautiful animals, but a rattler has many wonderful designs to look at. The eastern diamondback, with a general pattern of grey brown diamonds all along its body, has a raccoon-like black mask over its eyes.  The Santa Catalina rattlesnake (found only on Santa Catalina Island) has markings similar to heavy eyebrows above its eyes.  Another fascinating feature of a rattler is the pits seen on either side of the face.  These are not related to the venom glands, but are organs that detect radiant heat.  The snakes use these to detect things that are close by and are warmer than the general surroundings.  In this way, the pits can help locate of small animals such as mice.  Since these reptiles have poor eyesight, they use the pits and their sense of smell to determine where their next lunch is coming from.

The most noticeable feature of the rattlesnake is the rattle itself, and rattles are not found on any other reptiles.  The rattles are made of the same material that forms horns, claws, and our fingernails.  The "fingernail" at the tip of the tail forms a rattle, and when the snake sheds its skin, this part does not come entirely off, forming a new rattle.  A few snakes have been found that have as many as twenty-three rattles on their tail.

Reptiles, and snakes in particular, have very unusual ways to get around.  A rattler can use the muscles in its body to push against small irregularities, or bumps, in the surface of the ground.  As the snake goes by, each part of the snake pushes against the bump so that it looks like the standard snake "wiggle".  The bumps may not seem very visible to us, and it might just be a slightly thicker than usual clump of grass in a grassy field.  But what happens if a western diamondback is caught on a flat rock with nothing to push against?  In this case, it uses the scales on its belly, and uses them in the same way a multi-legged caterpillar uses its feet. This motion is much slower, but is also quieter, and is used by rattlers to silently get their prey within striking distance.

This is a short introduction into one of the most absorbing of the reptiles, the rattlers.  Visit a rattlesnake exhibit at your local zoo or county fair, and look closely at them and watch their movements.  You will be delighted.