When you first learn how to care for a pet snake, you realize that there is a lot to learn, but you quickly realize that most of it is only sensible when it comes to the health and welfare of your pet snake to maintain properly.
The basic things to consider are what a snake eats, how much and how often, and what type of snake cage and environmental conditions it needs. And make sure you provide clean and hygienic living conditions that meet your pet snake’s needs to keep them healthy and happy in your care.
Here I list ten of the basic pet snake health tips you need to know:
1. Select a healthy snake for adoption
When choosing a snake, choose one that is well fleshed, has clear eyes, no cuts, no mites or ticks, and is alert. The snake should appear curious and grab you firmly but gently if you touch it.
Be there when the snakes are fed so you can watch them and make sure the snakes you pick are all eating well.
Captive-bred snakes are better suited for pets than purchasing a wild-born snake. Wild-born snakes are usually very stressed from the capture process and transportation to the pet supplier. Wild snakes are also likely to have a large parasite load.
2. Get the right cage size for your snake breed
Your enclosure should normally be around two-thirds of its body length. If your snake is 6 feet long, the cage should be at least 4 feet long.
You can always make the enclosure longer than the snake, but your snake will be more comfortable in a cage that is smaller than your snake’s length.
Remember to upgrade the enclosure as your snake grows, as it will need to increase in size relative to the snake’s body length.
3. Keep the snake case wet
Snakes are sensitive to temperature and humidity factors and you should always ensure their enclosure is kept at the correct temperature. Consult a reliable snake animal book to learn what the optimal conditions are for your snake breed.
4. Keep feeding your snake simple, safe and hygienic
The first thing to do when buying your snake is to make sure you choose a pet snake that will happily eat thawed rodents (that you buy frozen at the pet store) and that isn’t overly fussy about their feeding requirements.
Feeding your snake live rodents, even small mice, can harm your snake—and it’s NOT entertainment for an audience of your friends, so don’t do it.
The dead animal for feeding should be no wider than the snake’s own head. Snakes don’t feed very often and you can store the pre-killed and frozen mice in your freezer.
5. Learn how much and how often to feed your snake
Get expert advice on the optimal amount and type of food for your pet snake and how often to feed it.
Snakes can eat almost anything they are fed and will usually regurgitate the meal after a day or two if overfed.
6. Make sure your snake cage is secure
The snake cage, terrarium, enclosure, etc. should always be well planned and ventilated, but also thoroughly secured to prevent the snake from escaping
Breeds like corn snakes can be excellent escape artists and you can lose your pet snake very quickly if you’re not careful.
They even press their noses on the case lid to look for weak spots in the cage or doors.
7. Keep a constant supply of fresh water.
Snakes defecate in water and they also drink, especially before molting.
You must ensure that the water is checked regularly and replaced with clean water as soon as there are signs of contamination in it.
Buy a heavy bowl or container so it won’t tip over if the snake slides around in it.
It’s good to put several water bowls in the snake cage, which will also help establish the right humidity level for the snake.
8. Create hiding places to make your snake feel safe.
Hides should be placed at both the warm and cool ends of the enclosure.
Pieces of bark with hollow areas or curved shape to form a “cave” make good hiding places for snakes when placed on a substrate that allows the snakes to burrow underneath.
You can get a wide range of snake caves and wooden structures for snakes to hide in at pet stores and online at Amazon. These are usually also easy to keep clean and hygienic.
Also add some smooth branches for the snake to climb and squirm on. You can also get these online.
9. Provide a temperature range in the cage
Your snake needs to be able to find a variety of locations for the heat and cold it needs at different times of the day.
Since it can’t travel through a garden to find its ideal temperature for a given time, like a rock for sleeping in for warm sunlight or below for coolness, you need to make sure you have some variety of temperatures inside your enclosure to choose from .
One end of the enclosure should be cooler and the temperature should ideally gradually warm up towards the other end of the cage.
You can place a full-spectrum bulb over the enclosure, which can both provide some warmth and act as a sunny basking spot.
10. Use appropriate bedding for the snake cage
Newspaper is a good base. It is very cheap and is easily replaced when dirty. Artificial grass is also a good alternative that you can buy online.
Artificial grass can be cleaned, dried and reused several times before it wears out. Soak the soiled turf in a gallon of water to which you add 2 tablespoons of bleach, then wash well, rinse with clean water and dry well before placing back in the cage.
Snakes will live long and healthy lives as long as you learn to care for a pet snake and provide them with their basic needs and avoid overfeeding.
Thanks to Helene M Malmsio