A WOODEN VIVARIUM. FOR CORRECT SIZING PLEASE SEE BELOW
- INCANDESCENT HEAT BULB PREFERABLY WITH A DIMMING THERMOSTAT OR CERAMIC HEATING WITH PULSE THERMOSTAT FOR LARGER TANKS
- A HEAT MAT 1/3 THE LENGTH OF YOUR VIVARIUM FOR COLD HOUSES
Your vivarium needs to have a heat bulb to make sure the ambient air temperature is met. For vivariums 48”x18”x18” and smaller incandescent heat bulb and dimming thermostat works well. For vivariums larger than this a ceramic heat bulb and pulse thermostat is best to make sure temperature requirements are met.
It is best to avoid heat mats with heavy body snakes such as juvenile to adult large boas and royal pythons.
Most snakes do not require a night time drop in temperature; doing so can cause failure to digest large meals, causing illness. If you are concerned about the light from the heat bulb keeping your animal awake at night, dark moonlight and infra-red bulbs are available.
Substrate, Cleaning & Décor
There are many different substrates which can be used. The most effective substrates for snakes that come from a more humid region tend to be orchid bark or coco husk. Beech chips work well and can be best for snakes that come from dry regions alongside Aspen which is often best for snakes that love to burrow as it is very easy to dig in.
If you decide to use beech chips or aspen it is worth noting that your snake may find it difficult to shed in the dry substrate. If you notice this it is best to prove your snake with a moist box. This can be an enclosed cave or plastic lunch box with a hole cut out. Fill this with a layer of coco fibre or with sphagnum moss. This then proves your animal with a humid area to help with shedding problems. Always put the moist box in the cold end of your vivarium.
In the case of Pythons and Boas from high humidity regions (Rainbow Boas), it is better to give them a large moss box as described as above.
Feeding And Hydration
Only buy quality frozen rodents and make sure it is always completely thawed and at least room temperature before feeding.
Larger snakes like some adult Boas and Burmese pythons will require much larger food. Rabbits or Guinea pigs are most commonly available and used. Due to the size of the meal it is suggested you only feed your snake every 2-4 weeks to prevent obesity.
Health And Handling
If you are ever in doubt about the health of your snake call and see a specialist veterinarian. Keep an eye out for any of these things listed below:
- Prolonged lack of appetite – only if losing weight
- Runny and bubbly nose
- Excess mucus around the mouth
- The skin giving a wrinkled or dehydrated appearance
- Mouth not closing properly
- Dull or unclear eyes (when not shedding)
- Inability to right its self or dizzy appearance
Always remember snakes are very sensitive to their surroundings. This is especially with the smell of food. Also, body warmth if waved around its head and carbon dioxide (your breath). Any of these can evoke an uncharacteristic reaction, e.g. biting or striking.
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