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Snakes — most people love
them or fear them. They are not your typical cuddly pet, but as snake owners
will tell you, their pets recognize them and respond to their voices. They can
be gentle, beautiful animals, but they have very specific environmental and
dietary needs that must be met to keep them happy and healthy. If you’re
considering a snake as a pet, there are certain
things you should know before you bring one home. 1. Snakes need certain temperatures
and humidity levels. Snakes’ body
temperatures adjust to their environmental temperatures. They generally require
both a hot, basking zone in their tanks, often in the 90°s, and a cooler zone
in the 70°s, to regulate their body temperatures properly. Some snakes also need ultraviolet
light to help them make vitamin D in their skin, which in turn enables them to
better absorb calcium from their food. Without adequate humidity, they will not
shed the skin on their bodies or the clear coverings (called spectacles) over
their eyes properly.
grow long — sometimes very long. Many young
snakes start off very small but, depending on their species, may grow to
several feet long and several inches in girth. Some large species can weigh more than 100 pounds when fully grown, which may not be for several years. Contrary to
popular belief, you cannot limit the size of a snake by confining it to a small
tank. Be sure you research the species you are considering so that you know
how big it might ultimately be. In general, snakes should be provided with a
tank large enough for them to fully stretch out in. The best way to purchase an
appropriately sized snake tank is to approximate the size of the snake and
visit or contact a reptile specialty supply store (there are many
online) to order the correct one.
eat rodents. If you’re not
prepared to feed your snake mice or rats, then don’t have a snake. Live rodents
should never be offered to a snake, as they can bite the snake and inflict
serious injury. Thawed frozen rodents or freshly killed
ones are recommended instead. The size of the rodent fed is determined by the size of
the snake and may change as the snake ages and grows.
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