Snakes: 25 Tips for Beginning Snake Handlers (Adventures with Snakes)

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Provide an enclosure that is simple in design, secure, uncrowded, and that is easy to keep dry and clean.


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Understanding your snake's characteristics will help you determine more about the type of cage or enclosure your pet will need. Check the snake guide describing your pet to find its particular housing needs. Species Guides for All Types of Snakes. Snakes don't play with toys, rather they rest a lot, eat a little, and will constantly be moving around their environment exploring, poking and prodding.


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Snakes are both strong and agile. They are not easily confined and if there is an unsecured opening, they will find it and escape. If the decor or water containers are too lightweight or if they are heavy but not solidly placed, snakes will knock them over and can possibly be injured.

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Most snakes are best housed singly. Many are cannibals, others that make great pets simple don't make good cage mates, and with just one you lessen the chance of transferring diseases.


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Snake Food and Feeding All snakes are carnivores, and their digestive systems are designed to eat whole animals for a complete diet. They are never vegetarians. Their diets range from rodents, fish, worms, frogs, and amphibians to lizards, insects, and often times other snakes. Specific foods and how to feed are indicated in the snake guide describing your pet.

Species Guides for All Types of Snakes You should sprinkle a vitamin supplement of calcium and vitamin D on their food. Some of the rodents snakes will eat include mice, rats, pinkies and fuzzies terms for baby and juvenile mice and rats , rabbits and chickens. These proteins form the basis of many snakes diets. They can be fed live or purchased frozen and completely defrosted before feeding.

Be cautious when feeding live adult rats, and sometimes even mice. Snakes that do not feed immediately on an adult rodent run the risk of being bitten by a loose rat or mouse, and can be severely damaged. Snake Breeding Breeding snakes requires keeping records and close attention to many details regarding the snakes and their living conditions. The snakes need to be in good condition and of breeding age. Breeding is generally done in the winter so that the babies are born or hatched in the spring. Sexing snakes is not particularly difficult, but it is easy to make mistakes.

In general, females tend to be larger with more fat in their lower body. All snakes have a posterior opening called the "cloaca", which is used for wastes and breeding. When this area is squeezed or probed just right, a bi-lobed reproductive organ called "hemipenes" will protrude on a male. For beginners, its a good idea to have an experienced snake breeder demonstrate the technique.

Here's a general overview of snake breeding.

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This is just an introduction to what's involved in the process. There are different considerations depending on the species, so research the species you are interested in breeding before attempting to mate your snake. Where to Find Snakes Beginner snakes are generally available for sale and are fairly inexpensive. You can buy snakes at pet store, online, or from breeders. You can also collect snakes where allowed. Wild caught snakes are seasonal due to their breeding times and can be difficult to adapt to captivity.

Although captive bred snakes are more expensive, they are generally easier to get. Other benefits of captive bred snakes is that they are often healthier than wild caught snakes, they adapt more easily to cage conditions, and they are relatively parasite free. Snakes as Pets People have a variety of reactions to reptiles, ranging from absolute intrigue and fascination, to varying degrees of distaste.

Snakes are enjoyed for their interesting appearances and behaviors, making them a fascinating group of animals. Choosing a Pet Snake There are a number of good snakes that make excellent pets for beginners, and many more for those that become advanced keepers. No matter what your skill level however, there are a few primary factors to consider when selecting any pet snake. In all cases, captive bred snakes are better choices than wild caught specimens.

Wild caught snakes tend to be more nervous, are more difficult to tame, and may have parasites or diseases. Types of pet snakes are grouped as beginner, or Intermediate and advanced, according to size, ease of care, personality and handleability, as well as availability and the costs associated with setup and maintenance.

Beginner Snakes These pets are generally recommended as great snakes for any beginner.

Reptiles Amphibians Families

They are small to medium in size, usually available as captive bred specimens. They are easy to care for, have a more docile temperament, and generally easy to handle. Many good beginner snakes are relatively inexpensive to buy and maintain. Some popular starter snakes of this sort include:. Intermediate to Advanced Snakes Larger snakes, like many of the boas and other constrictors, the more exotic snakes, and venomous snakes are best left to more experienced keepers.

Many of these snakes require permits or licensing to keep, or other restrictions may apply, so be sure to check with the authorities in your area and state before obtaining them. To hold a snake, approach the cage slowly as this is the snakes home and it may try to defend it.

Don't handle a snake after handling its food, it can smell the food on your hands and may mistake your hand for its supper. Remember, snakebites are rare.

Rattlesnake rodeo: 75 snakes on show ... and fried rattlesnake sandwiches

The most important thing to do in any snakebite is to get the victim to the nearest hospital with a trauma unit. Keep the person calm — a raised heart rate will circulate the venom faster. Never apply a tourniquet as this can cause complications. If the person stops breathing, you should administer artificial respiration. A good idea is to get a book on snakes and snakebite and familiarise yourself with the latest first aid procedures. Most snakes flee before you get close enough to get bitten.

Adders are exceptions as they rely on camouflage and seldom move off. What should we really do if a dangerous snake is on our property?

Snakes Species

Take a pro-active approach, and complete a snake handling and awareness course. You will learn how snakes interact with their surroundings, and how they are likely to act and react around a human presence. You could become a snake catcher, to safely remove the snake from the area. Authorised snake handlers are permited to legally transport captured snakes from one location to another…… something the general public are not permitted to do. I attended one, but want to go again for a refresher.