A recent news item about a reptile that escaped prompted me to recall the necessary features of a snake’s habitat. At the top of the list, the snake’s cage needs to be secure, but also a comfortable place to live.
First and foremost, the cage must be secure. We don’t want the snake to escape, and it’s our duty to make sure that the snake can’t harm itself. There must be no sharp or cutting edges anywhere inside the cage and the cover needs to have locking clips. A totally glass container can be employed, as long as the top is well ventilated and can’t get too warm. Many vivariums have wooden backs and sides, and glass doors which can slide, which cuts down on weight and helps make them cheaper. The sliding glass panels can additionally be fixed in place using special mechanisms.
Reptiles need water, and although some kinds of reptiles can go for long periods without taking in water, most pet snakes also like to get immersed from time to time. No other liquids are needed by the reptile except for fresh clean water changed every two days or so. Reptile food is a very broad subject, and most snake care guides cover this in much detail. Smaller reptiles migh eat small insects and crickets, whilst the larger boas and pythons will take big rats. Mice and rats can be given either dead or alive, but the animal must be relaxed or it might not eat.
Bedding and Surroundings
Normally, a snake is comfortable with either sawdust or hay strewn across the cage floor. Although snakes are not that intelligent, some extra things in the tank will serve to stimulate them, keeping them active and healthy. A rock or tree branch will do nicely. Snakes also need to hide themselves, so a small box or cover will allow it to hide when it wants. Be careful not to put anything into the tank that may contain parasites, fungus or small insects.
Reptiles are cold blooded, which just means they take on the ambient temperature. A chilled snake will move slower than a warm one, and generally be less happy. A decent reptile care guide should give you the best temperature for each species. A good heating source might take the form of a synthetic rock, with an electric heater element hidden inside. Another type of heating is by infra-red lamp suspended from the lid, or a normal incandescent lamp could be employed. The last example would also provide light, but is not perfect, as the temperature is better controlled thermostatically. A separate lamp may be timed to simulate day and night. Finally, make sure you take greta advice on how to buy a pet snake.