Quality Colubrids
Madison, Wisconsin

Basic Snake Care

Caging: Hatchling snakes should be started in small enclosures like plastic shoe boxes, with moderate ventilation. Hatchling snakes dehydrate very quickly, and are extremely shy. This setup allows greater control of temperature and humidity. It also provides greater security for the snake, and allows the snake to be in closer proximity with its food.

Hide Boxes: A hide box should be available at all times. The smaller the better, snakes feel most secure in tight places. A hide box is especially important if your snakes container is in an area of high light or activity.

Substrate: A substrate of paper towels, white pine shavings, or shredded aspen is best. Never use cedar shavings, as these have pungent oils that are irritating to snakes. Avoid sharp materials or rocks that may be accidentally ingested.

Heat: A room temperature of 72-82 is acceptable. If the ambient temperature is low, erratic, or if your snake has trouble digesting its meals a warm spot of 80-85 should be provided. Extra heat should be provided by a strip heater or pad placed underneath the tank. Do not use heat lamps or heat rocks.

Water: Water should be kept available at all times, but your snake should not be wet. Water should be offered in a clean, wide mouthed water bowl that is not prone to tipping and spilling. A water bowl provides drinking water as well as allowing humidity in the 80% range. Hatchlings can dry out very quickly is adequate humidity is not maintained. Humidity does not mean dampness. The substrate must be kept dry or your snake will get sick.

Light: Dim light with access to dark areas are best for hatchling snakes. Most snakes are naturally active in dim light. Bright lights stress young snakes, and excess heat from high wattage lights can lead to desiccation.

Feeding: All hatchling snakes are voluntarily feeding on frozen, thawed pinky mice before being offered for sale by Four Lakes Snakes. Sometimes the stress of relocation can make a hatchling snake reluctant to feed. Give your new snake a few days to settle into its new home. Do not handle it at all until it has started feeding for you. Thaw a pinky mouse in warm water (do not use a microwave) and leave it at the entrance to the snakes hide box in the evening. Your snake will come out to forage for food at night, and will usually find it. If your snake is getting ready to shed its skin cloudy eyes) it will often refrain from eating for several days. For the first year of a snakes life, feed an appropriate sized mouse once every 4-6 days. After that, decrease the feeding interval to once every 7-10 days. If your snake refuses food, give it a few days and try again. Snakes can go for weeks without food. The most common reasons for a snake to not eat are shedding, improper temperatures, and inadequate shelter. Remember, snakes are extremely shy, timid creatures.

Handling: Use short handling sessions with your new snake until it acquires some size. Stress due to excess handling can cause regurgitation. Always wait a day or 2 after feeding before handling your snake. Children should be closely supervised when handling snakes. Snakes are very delicate animals and are easily injured by rough handling.

Should you have any additional questions, please e-mail us at the address below.


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