Acquiring a pet snake is a big decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. If you’ve done your research, you know that there are several things you will need to purchase to make your new pet comfortable. It’s important to know what you’re going to buy before you bring your snake to make the transition as easy as possible for him.
Here are eight important things to purchase and set up before bringing your new snake home.
1. Correctly sized tank – Make sure you have the tank that will be most comfortable for your new snake. You’ll want room for him to grow, but you don’t want to overwhelm him with a tank that’s too big or restrict his movement with one that’s too small.
2. Heating devices – Snakes are cold blooded., so they will need a direct heat source to help them stay warm. A heating pad for the outside bottom of the tank as well as a heat lamp for the top are good things to have for your new snake. Many people buy thermometers to monitor their snake’s environment as well, but for most breeds, this isn’t necessary. Keep a working heat source at one end of the tank and he’ll instinctively go there when he gets cold.
3. Water dish – Your snake needs water to survive, but make sure you buy a big enough water dish for him to crawl into as well. Some snakes enjoy soaking themselves. Ours likes to take a “bath” right before he sheds. You can buy two bowls, but the snake won’t discriminate and may bathe in either or both, so just make sure to supply clean water on a regular basis.
4. Hides/Shelters – A “hide” is a nice dark spot where a snake likes to spend a great deal of his time. You’ll want to get at least one of these for your new pet, and many people like to provide two at other opposite ends of the tank (the warm end and the cool end).
5. Spray bottle – Many breeds of snakes prefer a moist environment. The easiest way to provide this is to have a large spray bottle full of regular water on hand. Spray the tank once or twice a day to keep their tank comfortable and to make it easier for them to shed.
6. Feeder box – It is a good idea to start your snake feeding in a feeder box. This hard plastic box is smaller and gives the snake a different environment to feed in so they don’t associate your hand coming down into their tank with dinner (some snakes will strike at you if they make this association).
7. Bedding – A nice soft bed is great for a snake. Even though they can use things like newspaper, if you want to make them comfortable, use something a bit more like a snake’s natural environment. There are certain beddings that should be avoided, so check with your local herp expert or consult a reliable online source to find out what works best for your snake.
8. Foliage – While it’s not a necessity, snakes enjoy having foliage to slither around. This foliage however should be purchased at the pet store and not gathered from the woods. Special materials are used to make safe environmental additions for your snake’s tank. Good examples are long sticks and branches that will also give the tank an exotic look.
Your local pet store owner or her expert can help you find the specific brands and sizes of items to fit your snake the best, so don’t hesitate to ask. Your experience with a pet snake will be more rewarding when you’re little herp is well taken care of.