Ladybug on Flickr.
Ah ha! Gotcha. I have nothing wrong with your snake personally. Well, he owes me money. Aside from that.
But I have a few issues with the person who bred him.
To begin with, a little discussion of snake genetics.
Okay, you’ve just purchased your new corn snake. You did some research beforehand, you asked the guy at the pet store, you felt confident and happy with your purchase - but now your little worm is home and, gosh, you suddenly feel like you’re going to murder him if you move the wrong way!
The good news? He’ll probably survive.
The bad news? You probably got very bad advice. Just statistically speaking, there’s a lot of bullshit out there for exotic animals - not just snakes - and a lot of people are operating from care information ten or twenty years out of date.
The other good news is that there’s a lot of good, current information out there - and your corn snake is a pretty hardy guy. He’ll live.
Here’s how that first week should go, if we rewind time to pre-snake days:
Just a quick note, because I see a lot of innocent snakes subjected to fancy kitchen photoshoots:
If you are bringing props into your snake room, or bedroom, or office, or whatever to use with the animals, and those props never leave that room, that’s fine. Cute, I guess.
Basic food safety would tell you, however, that the animal that crawls through its own salmonella-and-other-pathogen-laden feces should not be around your food. It should not be in your mouth. It should not be up your nose, or in any other contact with your mucous membranes. It should not be in contact with food-preparation surfaces or tools at any time, if you intend to keep using those surfaces and tools. Not around your apple, your spatula, your mixer, your sandwich press, your plates, knives, forks, sporks, chopsticks, flint knife used for cutting aged steak, whiskey stones, etc. Have I been unclear in any way?
Am I concerned for your safety? Not a bit. I’m concerned for your doctor’s trip once you’ve been exploding out of both ends for a day or so, and how the doctor will report your infection, and whether or not the media will in any way get to report that snakes are Dangerous, Disease-Carrying Animals. (Note that I only ever refer to snakes because, well, I don’t really care about things with legs, but this goes for lizards and chelonians too.) That being said, you might want to have a thought for what a week of salmonellosis feels like, and whether or not the really cute picture of Fluffy curled around your immersion blender is worth it.
And, finally, it’s unlikely (but if you’re the kind of person that allows fecal-contaminated animals in your food prep areas, maybe more likely?), but your animals could potentially pick up contaminants - biological and chemical - from these areas. As well, the fumes coming from a kitchen (burnt food, scented candles) are not fantastic for reptile lungs.
Leave the reptiles out of your cooking. Unless you’re eating them. Then leave me out of your cooking.
So this guy added my on facebook because I liked his snake page. And the minute I post a picture of Thresh he starts ranting to me about ‘bad husbandry’ and that my snakes cage is too moist. What really pisses me off is the fact that I even put in the caption that I had just…
See, I didn’t even know enclosures like that existed. I may just upgrade to that then. I thought that the tubs were all grainy to look through. Lol. But, had he said it like you just did, I would have been more inclined to listen to him. I was more complaining about how flat out rude the guy was being. And I had a humid hide for Thresh, but it got too humid and made him wrinkle (I posted a video of it yesterday) so I like to stick to keeping the cage humid rather than one of hides, since it is easier for me to control. I’m not sure why he stayed in it for so long though, he has multiple hides to go into. (Yes he is a ball python :) )
Looking at the video, he doesn’t look out of condition (but it’s not super bright light, so I could be missing something that you can see in person). I use humid hides thusly: small plastic container, hole cut in lid, damp sphagnum moss half filling the inside. Then I don’t worry. If the snake is given ready access to other hides (that are similarly comfortable, tight, and opaque) on both thermal gradients, and a source of clean water large enough for them to soak in, they will choose what they need. He could just’ve been getting used to the hide. (Oh, and I use distilled water in humid hides so that mineral deposits don’t build up inside, on the moss, or on the animal, unlikely as that last is.)
I worry about excess humidity when:
- It’s constant. Some animals require constant humidity. Most don’t.
- The enclosure is not clean. Humidity + feces/urates = scale rot
- The animal is from a desert environment. Desert animals + humidity = respiratory infection (sometimes)
As for PVC cages, I recommend them to everyone, though I mostly only house colubrids in them. Still, they’re lighter than glass and very easy to clean, plus they offer good security and look great - a really nice contrast for most snakes.
So this guy added my on facebook because I liked his snake page. And the minute I post a picture of Thresh he starts ranting to me about ‘bad husbandry’ and that my snakes cage is too moist. What really pisses me off is the fact that I even put in the caption that I had just freshly sprayed the cage, and it got on the sides and made some condensation that was gone within two minutes.
I see what you’re saying, but he’s got a point about aquariums.
PVC caging would give you the visibility without sacrificing humidity and temperature control (as glass enclosures do). As well, a humid hide is preferable to overall humidity (assuming Thresh is a ball python).
I just realized, man, keepers have feelings too! Then I realized I don’t care, because I keep snakes, not humans.
Look, an honest mistake is just that, an honest mistake. If you injure or kill an animal because you made a mistake, if you’re contrite and I see that you see you made an error, I have no problem with you. Well, I have a little problem, but it’s nothing compared to the problem I have with people who injure or kill exotic animals due to bad husbandry and who refuse all attempts to correct them.
If your animal becomes ill or dies because you made a mistake that could’ve been prevented by five minutes of internet research, and your response to correction is to focus on your wounded feelings, then I could not give less of a fuck about you if someone had laced my drink with quaaludes first. This is not 1990 and you’re not living in an information wasteland.
P.S. It’s always “beginner” snakes, too, because they’re cheaper. Very seldom do you see someone with a black-tail cribo going “omg i put a live mouse in and it chewed him all up what do i doooooo”. You’d think the massive amounts of husbandry information and forums available for corn snakes and ball pythons would make it easier for someone to get a good idea of basic husbandry, but apparently not!
Yah, the little buggers. ‘Tis the season for ball pythons to go off feed, among others; if you’re averse to giving them a nice stern winter sleep, some things I’ve tried for getting stubborn animals to take f/t prey:
- Warming it. A no-brainer? Maybe, but I think many pet owners mistake “not frozen” for warm. A prey item’s body temperature should mimic live, for stubborn feeders, especially captives with pits. All these tips work only with warm prey. If your f/t item is cold, don’t bother.
- Waiting it out. An adult ball python can easily go six months without eating. A hatchling can go a couple of months. If you’re paranoid, weigh the animal and save worrying for significant weight loss, loss of body condition, weakness, or other symptoms of poor health.
- Leaving it overnight. Sometimes animals prefer to eat without giant mammals staring, staring, always staring. Place the f/t prey in with the animal (leave it on the warm side of the enclosure), leave the room, cut the lights, wait until morning. Note: if you do this with live prey, you’re a moron.
- Leaving it overnight, corollary. Place the animal in a deli cup or paper bag together with the warmed prey item. Replace in the secure enclosure. Do not place your animal on the warm side with no escape from the heat! Leave the room, etc, etc.
- Washing it. Yes, nothing says “I’m a motherfucking crazy herper” like gently washing your thawed pinky mice in dish soap, dropping one down the drain and swearing like a trooper. I have no idea why this works (maybe hatchling snakes associate adult-mouse-smell with danger?) but it really, really does. Just rinse the prey item very well and warm it before feeding.
This makes me a little sick, tbh. He’s basically using the ‘she was asking for it’ mentality when he let his 100 gram rescue bumblebee strike, attempt and fail to swallow, then basically regurge a 50 gram rat.
Save “regurge” for the actual, serious issue. Yes, it’s absolutely brainless to feed prey this large, but a regurgitation is a different, much more serious husbandry issue. The ball spit it out (good for her).
royalpythonkisses asked: So with the Christmas season in full swing, I wanted to know your thoughts on snakes and other reptiles being near live Christmas trees. Like, would the smell of the tree be potentially damaging to their respiratory system the same way smoke or air freshener is? I'm considering moving my snakes to another room of the house to maintain temps during the winter, but they'd be pretty close to my tree...I'd appreciate your input :)
I personally wouldn’t risk it just because cedar is toxic to reptiles. However, as with everything else if the room is well ventilated and the animals are kept further away from the tree I doubt it would have much of an effect. However I doubt you mean you’ll be putting them right next to the tree.
But Christmas Trees are pine, not Cedar. At least in Canada.
Pine is also toxic for them. I just failed to put both down.
Not true. Kiln-dried pine is fine; the drying process removes phenols.
As well, fir bark and cypress bark are fine (and commonly sold specifically for reptiles), and both are evergreens.
Incidentally, Xmas trees in Canada are often spruce; this is just as harmless as a pine Xmas tree. The phenols are dangerous in enclosed, poorly-ventilated spaces, from exposed (read: chopped) wood and sawdust, not as free-standing cut shrubs. Plus, cedar is used specifically as pest-prevention because of the high phenols in the wood; the same cannot be said for pine or spruce!
well there you go, better explanation. Also I forgot that fir is pretty much cypress.
But if ingested pine is very toxic.
Any sharp piece of cellulose will be dangerous if ingested due to impaction or internal injury. As far as I know, pine is neither more nor less toxic than any other wood, including aspen.
Fir and cypress are two different trees (and two different substrate products). Fir bark is marketed as Reptibark and Forest Bark; I find it pretty dry and dusty. Cypress is marketed as Forest Floor, with longer, sharper pieces and holds humidity better; however, due to those long sharp pieces, the injury risk if ingested can be high.
If an animal needs high humidity, I prefer coconut coir; if it doesn’t, aspen.