When you first learn to take care of a pet snake for the first time, you discover that there is a lot to learn, but you quickly realize that most of them simply make sense when it it’s about taking good care of the health and well-being of your pet snake.
The basic things to consider are what a snake eats, how much and how often, and what type of snake cage and environmental conditions require it. And be sure to provide clean, hygienic living conditions suited to the needs of your pet snake to keep him healthy and happy in your care.
Here, I list ten basic tips on pet snake health that you should know:
1. Select a healthy snake to adopt
When choosing a snake, get one that is fleshy with clear eyes, no cuts, no mites or ticks, and that is alert. The snake should appear curious and grab you firmly but gently when you handle it.
You should be there when the snakes are fed so you can observe them and make sure the snakes you choose are eating well.
Captive-bred snakes are more suitable for pets than buying a wild born snake. Snakes born in the wild are generally very stressed by the process of capture and transport to the pet supplier. Wild snakes are also likely to have a high parasitic load.
2. Get the right size cage for your snake breed
Your case should normally measure around two-thirds of its body length. If your snake is six feet long, the cage should be at least four feet long.
You can still make the enclosure longer than the snake but your snake will be comfortable in a cage smaller than the length of your snake.
Remember to level the enclosure as your snake grows, as it must increase in size relative to the length of the snake’s body.
3. Keep the snake case moist
Snakes are sensitive to temperature and humidity factors, and you should always make sure that their enclosure is kept at the right temperature. Consult a reliable book on pets to learn more about the optimal conditions for your snake breed.
4. Keep your snake’s feed simple, safe and hygienic
When buying your snake, you must first make sure to select a pet snake that will happily eat defrosted rodents (which you buy frozen in the pet store) and that are not too fussy in their food requirements.
Feeding your rodents with live snakes, even small mice, can hurt your snake – and it’s NOT entertainment for an audience of your friends, so don’t do it.
The dead animal to be fed should not be wider than the head of the snake. Snakes don’t eat very often and you can store pre-killed and frozen mice in your freezer.
5. Learn how much and how often to feed your snake
Get expert advice on the optimal amount and type of food for your pet snake and the frequency of feeding.
Snakes can eat almost anything given to them and they usually regurgitate the meal after a day or two if they have been overfed.
6. Make sure your snake cage is secure
The snake cage, the terrarium, the enclosure, etc. must always be well planned and ventilated, but also perfectly secure to prevent the snake from escaping.
Breeds such as corn snakes can be great escape artists and you can lose your pet snake very quickly if you’re not careful.
They will even push the enclosure lid with their noses to look for any weakness in the cage or doors.
7. Keep a constant supply of fresh water.
Snakes defecate in water and also soak especially before breaking apart.
You should make sure to check the water regularly and replace it with clean water as soon as there are signs of pollution.
Buy a thick dish or container so that it does not tip over when the snake slides into it.
It is good to place several dishes of water in the snake cage which also help to establish the proper humidity for the snake.
8. Create hiding places to make your snake feel safe.
The hiding places should be placed at both the hot and cold ends of the enclosure.
Pieces of bark with hollow areas or a curved shape to make a “ cave ” are good to use to hide snakes if they are placed on a substrate that lets snakes bury themselves below.
You can get a wide variety of snake caves and wooden structures for snakes to hide in pet stores and online at Amazon. These are also generally easy to clean and hygienic.
Also add smooth tree branches for the snake to climb and curl up. You can also get them online.
9. Provide a range of temperatures in the cage
Your snake should be able to find a variety of locations for warmth and coolness, as it may need it at different times of the day.
Since it cannot move through a garden to find its ideal temperature at a given time, such as a rock to sleep above the warm sunlight or below for coolness, you should make sure to provide variety of temperatures inside the case so he can choose.
One end of the enclosure should be cooler and the temperature should ideally gradually warm up further towards the other end of the cage.
You can get a full spectrum incandescent light to sit on top of the speaker which can provide warmth and serve as a sunny spot.
10. Use suitable litter for the snake cage
The newspaper is good to use as a substrate. It is very inexpensive and can be easily replaced as soon as it becomes dirty. Astroturf is also a good alternative that you can buy online.
Astroturf can be cleaned, dried and reused several times before wearing out. Soak the dirty lawn in a gallon of water to which you add 2 tablespoons of bleach, then wash it well, rinse it with clear water and dry it well before putting it back in the cage .
Snakes will live a long and healthy life as long as you learn to take care of a pet snake, provide them with their basic needs and avoid overfeeding them.