If you’ve always wanted a snake as a child but were never allowed one, congratulations! You toppled the system and got yourself, not only ultimate freedom but also a beautiful creature that, despite what people say, is extremely adorable. Unfortunately, your snake won’t always be residing on your shoulders as with badass supervillains. These reptiles are quite high-maintenance actually. They require a specific set of things to keep them comfortable. Here’s everything you need to know.
Various Hiding Spots
One of the most essential accessories to a snake’s comfort is hiding spots. Snakes are wild animals, and so, survival for them is a core need. By providing them with a couple of hiding spots, you’d be giving them a sense of safety and security which will not just make them happy and comfortable but will prolong their life, too. Without decent hiding places, a snake often feels exposed and threatened. If they are subjected to such stress for prolonged periods, they can end up with severe illnesses which can often lead to death. Ideally, you’ll want to keep a few objects, like plastic hollowed-out logs and such for them to take shelter in.
Snakes are quite sensitive to habitat changes. As you’ll notice throughout the article, it is important to make them feel at home through the various accessories and temperature and humidity levels. Plants and vines, natural or artificial, add plenty of hiding spaces while serving as a reminder of your snake’s natural habitat. When it comes to artificial plants, you need to make sure that the vines’ metal wires are completely covered in order not to directly harm the snakes or indirectly do so due to rust. If you’re opting for natural plants, make sure to get non-toxic plants, such as orchids, ficus, and spider plants.
Heat is crucial when it comes to your pet snake, but not just any type of heat will do. High-maintenance reptiles, remember? Each species requires a specific range of temperatures to sustain them, and heating pads can do the job of temperature regulation perfectly. By placing different mats on different sides of the enclosure, you’d be creating a temperature gradient, allowing your scaly friend to choose between high and low temperatures depending on their preference. One thing you need to make sure of, however, is to closely monitor the temperature on your pad to avoid overheating the terrarium.
Water serves two important purposes for snakes aside from their drinking it. First, it’s a supplier of humidity which snakes require plenty of (50 to 60% depending on the species and whether or not they are shedding). Second, it helps in skin shedding. Snakes often soak themselves to cool off and hydrate come skin-shedding time. Meaning, you need to provide a water bowl wide enough for your snake to lie in and stable enough for them not to tip it. Another important factor to watch out for is bacteria. A bacteria-resistant bowl will save you a lot of trouble when it comes to cleaning.
Last but not least, you need to watch how you engage with your pet to guarantee their comfort. You’ve probably already guessed that snakes aren’t as head-on with their affection as dogs. Don’t worry, though, you’ll have to change your style a little, but you’ll eventually build a lovely relationship. When you first get your reptile, leave them alone for a week, let them get acclimated first before you make a move. In the second week, start indirectly introducing yourself. As slow and steady as you can, rearrange the tank’s contents. Don’t touch your snake just yet. If you feel them getting aggressive or readying to strike, take your hand back slowly, they might not yet be comfortable enough. Especially in the beginning, you’ll need to take it very slow for your sake and theirs.
So, you’ve done all of the above, what’s next? When do you get to the fun part where you can actually spend time with your pet snake? Once your snake is comfortable with you, near your hand to their head, but don’t touch it. Just get them acquainted with your scent. If they are comfortable enough, try touching their back from the side. Don’t grab them yet. Little by little, make your way to the back of their head. When they are comfortable enough with you, that’s when it’s time to pick them up, gently and from their midsection. You don’t ever want to pick them up from the head or the tail as they view any attempt to restrain either area as a threat. That’s all there is to keep a snake comfortable.