Amazing facts on snakes
Most species are non-venomous, some are mildly venomous and others produce deadly venom (variety of toxins used which is injected by a bite).
Here is a clever saying to help you differentiate between non-venomous and venomous snakes: "Red and yellow kills a fellow. Red and black is safe for Jack".
All snakes are carnivores (eat meat).
They are ectotherms (cold-blooded), their body temperature is controlled by external factors. Snakes will bask in the sun to warm up and hide in shady places to cool down.
As ectotherms snakes are mainly found in tropical to temperate climate zones. Have you ever heard of a snake that lives in the snow?
Snakes as Pets
- Always buy a snake that has been bred in captivity.
- Buy a healthy looking snake
- Look for a rounded, firm body with shiny, smooth skin with no scabs or sores and moves smoothly with no tremors.
- Your snake should have clear eyes.
- The inside of its mouth should be pink, and check that it is not opening its mouth to breathe or gasping for breathe.
What to do if your snake escapes?
Search high and low, under furniture, inside shoe boxes, in and behindcupboards, inside appliances, look in every hole no matter how small, underbeds, behind cushions, down the sides of couches, inside clothing pockets. Alsomake sure to leave cage door open and place its favourite food inside, itconsiders the cage home so will likely return home to its cage.
Let's play the naming game.
Here are some fun and original names for pet snakes. You can come up yourown too.
Crusher, Chowdown, Mr. Crowley, Ms. Anaconda, Murphy, Banana, Lilith, Diablo,Dopey, Dragar, Drago, Earl, Eddie, Jelly, Hoover, Sir. Cornelius, Slithers, SirHiss, Sizzle, Slip, Slap, Slash, Slinkster, Slinky, Slithers, Slyder, Slyther, Smiles, Smoo, Thanatos, The Beast, The Strangler, Threat, Tiny, Tokie, Tootsie, Ziggy, Zippy.
Let's discover the most popular pet snakes: Corn Snakes, King Snakes and Milk Snakes!
Where are these snakes found in nature? What do they look like?
What do they eat? Where they live in captivity?
How do they make babies? How do we care for them?
In the wild snakes eat meat and will hunt, strike and kill its prey by constriction, this method involves the snake initially striking at its prey and holding on, pulling the prey into its coils or, in the case of very large prey, pulling itself onto the prey. The snake will then wrap one or two coils around the prey. Once the prey is dead, the snake swallows it whole, the head going in first.
Terrarium: (A miniature landscape with living plants and small animals like snakes).
At full grown most snakes must be housed in a 20 - 25 gallon (about 75 liters) enclosure also called a vivarium.
Snakes are excellent escape artists therefore the enclosure they are kept in must be well sealed. They will find a way to get out of even the smallest gap. Picking a solid cage is a necessity for proper snake care. A 20 gallon long enclosure makes a good sized cage for a snake. The most important part is to get a secure fitting lid that can be clamped down. Snakes will push at the lid with their noses looking for weaknesses so the fit of the lid is very important. A determined snake can push against screen or glass until it finds an opening big enough for its head; where its head goes, so goes its body.
Snakes must be housed separately or they will eat each other.
A good substrate fulfills all the following requirements, it looks attractive,it is easy to clean, there is no danger of the snake eating the shavings whenit feeds and if possible allows for borrowing. Popular substrate choices arereptile bark, astroturf, aspen shaving, mulch or paper towels, although thelater can look unattractive.
Snakes are reptiles and like all reptiles they do not make their own body heatand rely on an outside source to heat their bodies, eg the sun or in the caseof a snake in captivity, an appropriate heating source is required. Correcttemperature control will ensure the health of your snake and will enable properdigestion and effective immune function. Corn, Milk and King snakes require atemperature gradient between 70 - 75° F ( 23 degrees celsius) on the cool sideand a 85 - 90° F (32 degrees celsius) basking side. Place your heating sourceon one side of the tank only to ensure a gradient of temperature. Your snakewill move around the tank to regulate his body temperature. Experiment with theavailable heating sources until you find one that works for your snake.Try aheating pad, heating tape, white light heat lamps or ceramic emitters. Do notuse hot rocks, these will burn your snake.
Should be 40-60%. This is usually achieved by keeping the water source toppedup.
One important aspect of feeding that is often overlooked is the addition ofhiding areas to the cage. Most snakes, like to feel secure in theirenvironment. One way of providing for this need to is put hiding spots in theenclosure. Hiding spots can be made of anything, as long as the snake cancompletely fit inside the area and hide itself from view. Old cardboard boxesare good for this, but so are many of the commercially manufactured hidingspots available in pet stores. A hiding spot should be placed both on the warmend and the cool end of the cage, so that the animal can feel secure in anyspot. Snakes kept without appropriate hiding areas become stressed and mayrefuse to eat. Even a piece of bark can do if the substrate is something thesnake can burrow into.
They are inquisitive and quite active, so are great to watch when they exploretheir surroundings. Provide an interesting branch for climbing and resting,make sure it is cleaned of bugs etc.
Shedding? As a reptile grows, its old skin become too tight and worn. A new skinawaits just below the old. As a snake gets ready to shed, its eyes will turncloudy and the body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen andthe snake will adopt a less mobile approach, even going off food until the shedis finished. Once the eyes have cleared, the snake is ready to shed. To assureproper hydration, soak the snake in warmish water after the eyes clear; thisshould enable to snake to shed easily within the next 24 hours. If you arelucky you will see your snake shed it’s skin. It starts by pushing it’shead against a rough surface (a rough rock should be provided for this) and theskin around it’s head separates, the snake pushes it’s hole body throughthe opening and turns the shedded skin inside out. The skin will be clear incolor and should show every detail of the snake in it. If you have a healthysnake the shedded skin will be complete. You can also measure the shedded skinto work out an approximate length of your snake. A snake sheds his skin aboutonce every 2-3 months, although this is sometimes more regular. A snake whileshedding may not want to eat for 3 weeks.
Handling & Care
After giving your snake a couple of days to settle in, begin picking it up andhandling it gently. It may move from you and it may anoint you with a smellymusky substance from it's vent. Be gentle but persistent. Daily contact willbegin to establish a level of trust and confidence between you and your snake.When it is comfortable with you, you can begin taking it around the house.
- Do not keep a snake as a pet in a house that has children who are under the age of 5.
- Do not handle your snake more than once a week, unless you have a good, health related, reason to do so.
- Do not overfeed, it may shorten lifespan.
- Never hold the food by the tail so your snake can take it from you. Their eyesight is poor and they use heat, smell, and motion to locate their prey. They may come to see your hand as prey.
Hygiene and Safety
As a general rule, please see that you wash your hands with antibacterial soapbefore and after handling any animal, as most of them carry germs of some sortand so do you.