So you're thinking about getting a snake?
I waited ten years to get a snake and I have really learned a lot taking care of my snakes, so I wanted to share everything I have learned with you. Some of this will be old information, but hopefully I have at least something new to share. The following section covers all the questions I have discovered that need to be answered prior getting a pet. We all know that in reality this may not happen, but hopefully we can all try.
Do you know how big this pet gets? Do you have a problem feeding other animals to animals? Do you know what diseases they are susceptible too? Do you know a vet that specializes in your choice of pet? Do you know the general maintenance, care and routine vet visits they need? Are you prepared financially for an emergency? How about a plan for a disaster? What about the proper diet and temperature required for this animal? Do you know how often they need to eat? Have you spent time with this type of animal before? Do you know what kind of temperament and life style it has? Are you ready to make a commitment for its life span or do you have a plan if you are not able to care for your pet anymore? Do you know how long these animals live? Do you know they need your attention, respect and time as regularly as possible?
This next bit of information contains some safe husbandry tips to keep your animal safe and heal common problems that may arise.
1. For mites, I use mineral oil. I wet my hands with an appropriate amount of oil and rub it all over the snake. Do you know mineral is safe if ingested and it won’t hurt their eyes, the area the mites love to hide in?! You can also give them a soak in water and mineral oil for constipation if a plain water soak does not help.
2. For cleaning, I use vinegar and water or straight vinegar for cleaning. This is also safe if ingested, won’t hurt your snakes and cuts back on the chance of respiratory infection. If heavier cleaning chemicals need to be used, I make sure the airflow is good. And smoking around your animals is not healthy for them or you, best done outside. Remember we have a choice when it comes to a damaging habit, not nice to force this on them. Another great thing I love to do for them is take them for short walks when the weather is nice, maybe to the mailbox. We all love and need a little sun and fresh air.
3. We all know feeding fresh frozen rodents is best for our reptiles, but that is not always possible. So if you have ever had your animal bitten by a rodent or any other type of laceration, try soaking them in water and a few drops of beta dine 15 or 20 minutes for a few days. It also helps with other types of skin infections. It will turn their skin yellow but that fades.
4. If you ever need to rehydrate your reptile putting pedialyte in the water is great for replacing electrolytes and minerals needed for the optimum hydration.
5. NEVER LEAVE YOUR ANIMAL UNATTENDED WHILE SOAKING! They can drown, they are like children, they depend on us!!
6. It is also best to house your snakes alone if possible. NEVER put Boas and Pythons in the same living environment. Boas are carriers of IBD (inclusion body disease) This is like snake aids and there is no cure. It’s best not to mix species until you know for sure it’s safe and know whether this type of animal will eat other animals before you mix them. Quarantine boas for 6 months and pythons for 3 months.
7. Do you keep records of behaviors, feeding, vet visits? This is so important and very helpful to alert you if their eating habits or behavior changes. It is much easier to head off problems before they escalate.
8. Do you know where to research information for the pet of your choice? Have you tried volunteering with an animal group that could be supportive of your desires? Getting to know people with the same animals who would allow you to spend time with them and be there for any questions is the best benefit that I have discovered. How about joining that group and assisting in education for the public and participating in events with this group. It’s fun, educational and you can always make new friends, what more could you ask? The Internet, library and knowledgeable pet stores are great for all kinds of resources.
I hope this article was helpful and I at least given you one new idea. I have learned a lot through participating in various animal groups, making friends and volunteering.