Do you really want a pet snake?

If everything about snakes that you know you learned B-Movies, you might be forgiven for thinking that snakes are naturally aggressive and mean. The truth is that snakes are interesting creatures, and many of them are pretty passive.  Aggression is not their default setting like in horror movies. If you’re considering getting one, you need to learn about them. Here are some great snake things that to know as a good pet owner is an educated and informed pet owner.

Snake Nutrition

All snakes are carnivorous. It’s an all meat diet for them. They will ignore your salad and kale chips and demand meat.  They usually want rodents, but the bigger boas will eat small bunnies. That is not always necessary- there are some options when it comes to feeding time. Most pet stores keep a stock of live feeder mice to be sold as food for snakes. Many kill euthanize the mouse for you in some cases and upon request so that you do not have to give it a live mouse. You can place the dead it into a zip-sealed storage bag and store it in a freezer for later. You can also buy already dead frozen mice by the dozen to save money and always have a mouse ready for your snake. This is an excellent way to stock up on food for your snake. Allow the mouse to warm to room temperature and never ever heat it in the microwave as this cooks the mouse meat and makes it something that will sicken your snake. Use warm water or a heating pad to thaw the mousesicle and use tongs and wiggle that mouse around to entire your snake into eating a warmed once frozen mouse before dropping it into the snake tank. Mice must be above room temperature for the snake to sense it and smell it. Live is easier and provides the snake a chance to act on its natural hunting behavior. You can simply let the snake be a snake.  Just make sure that your snake is hungry, since you don’t want the mouse to stay alive too long in the tank, possibly biting the snake before the snake has a chance to ‘bite’ the mouse. Snakes are really not big eaters. Sometime between every 5-14 days is best. By watching your snake’s response at mouse-serving time, you’ll know how frequently to feed them. Delays feeding for a couple days to ensure no prey animals are wasted on a disinterested snake. When you buy a snake, always ask if it’s diet has been fresh or frozen and stick with that. Snakes are resistant to chance especially if they prefer their food in one form or another.

Snake Skin

Snakes are covered in scales that in a healthy snake are dry, surprisingly soft, and smooth to the touch. The scales on a snake lay flush against the body so that when you rub against the natural lay of the scales it has a rough feeling. Petting a snake the wrong way is a very risky idea, even more risky than wanting to pet a snake in the wild if ever visiting in Australia, where seven of the ten deadliest snakes in the world reside. If you want to pet a snake to understand how they feel, ask a pet owner with a trust docile snake or a pet store who specializes in exotics who may have a very friendly 12 foot boa that loves cuddles and petting.

Using Their Senses

Snakes use their senses is completely different ways than we use ours. Snakes depend predominantly on their ability to sense heat and vibration; being ground animals they are sensitive to even the slightest vibrations on the surface. Though they have no external ears, they have the ability to hear, and their ability to smell is very keen. Eyesight is not one of their strongest suits, thought some are better than others. Most snakes only can see well enough to track movement. The snake’s main sensory organ is the tongue. A snake with its tongue out is a healthy and curious snake and collecting data.

Muscular and Strong

Snakes are naturally very muscular and strong, so you don’t want to loop one around your neck, even if you trust it, Always handle a snake with someone else present. They are wild animals and can be unpredictable and for safety, never go it alone. Use the buddy system when snake handling.

You Just Gotta Touch

Snakes don’t enjoy being handled excessively; they were to be looked at more than they want to be touched. Being a bit standoffish by nature is fine. Snakes are snakes always. You cannot expect them to be a different reptile ever or act like a mammal ever.  You can train a snake to be handled. You can start by handling a well fed within 3 days for a few minutes a day so that it becomes used to human contact and is not fearful of your presence. Five to ten minute’s max of handling a day should be sufficient. Snakes are not naturally aggressive and generally will not bite unless they feel threatened or fearful. Taking care to create a safe environment for your snake, and making sure that it is familiar with your scent minimizes the risk of being bitten by your pet. Experience handling a snake before you bring one into your home will make you feel much more confident and will make sure you and the snake are less likely to get hurt.

Getting a Pet Snake

Where your snake comes from matters a great deal.  Never get a snake from the wild. There are plenty of breeders to choose from, and it is agreed that snakes bred in captivity are safer to handle than snakes from the wild. Only highly trained professionals deal with wild snakes. Never try to keep a venomous snake as a pet unless you are a professional snake keeper or breeder with experience or an idiot who wants to suffer the agony of a snakebite and risk death. A captive bred snake offers the best pet quality animal.

Happy Reptile Homes

Snakes are extremely low maintenance pets.  They do have some special needs and different species have different preferences. They need clean water, food, and a clean and spacious tank with a place to hide away when it needs its own space. Snakes require a hidey-hole, like a box with a hole cut into it or a lean to make of rocks and a plank of wood. Snakes absolutely like to have a secret space and that mimics their behavior in the wild. Snakes are solitary creatures and do not do well in groups, by and large, but that doesn’t make them a dull pet. They are exciting and curious pets that seek novelty and explore, you can create a snake world, with tubes and tight spaces, so that you can watch the different ways in which snakes get around. Always make sure the snakes enclosure is just that- enclosed. They are escape artists par excellence and can slither up and away while you merely answer a phone. Security latches will ensure you are not looking around for your lost and missing pet snake and hoping the cat doesn’t find it first.

Live For How Long?

A properly cared for and housed snake can live 40 years, so being informed, ready and wise about what to expect can make your snake decision a better one for you.



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