Snakes are becoming a more common pet and a variety of suitable pet species are available. The most commonly kept species include corn snakes, ball pythons, boas, king and milk snakes.
Each variety of snake has it’s own particular hosting, feeding and healthcare requirements.
The lifespan of corn snakes can be between 15 to 25 years whereas a ball pythons can live to between 35 to 45 years. So given their relatively long lifespan, this should be an important factor when considering a snake as a pet.
Snakes should be kept in an appropriately sized glass or plexi-glass tank or aquarium. This will permit clear sight of your pet while also maintaining relative humidity. Ideally the tank should have a door which can be secured closed as sneaky snakes can make great escape artists!
Snake bedding may include plain/unprinted paper, paper towels or indoor/outdoor carpeting. Hardwood tree branches, pieces of driftwood and/or hanging ropes can be added to your snake’s habitat to add environmental enrichment. A ‘hide out’ should also be provided to help your pet feel safe and secure.
A habitat temperature of between 25 to 30C should be maintained as snakes require environments with high temperatures and high humidity. An artificial UV light source is beneficial for your pet snake as access to natural direct, unfiltered sunlight is not always possible.
Lights should be used to imitate natural sunlight patterns so lights should be on for 10 to 12 hours during the daytime and then switch off for the remainder of the night-time hours.
Pet snakes generally require a basic diet of rats and mice although some snakes may have specific dietary requirements depending on their breed and species. Clean, fresh water should be provided in a heavy dish to prevent it being overturned.
Your pet snakes may shed their skin 4 to 8 times a year. The frequency is determined by a number of factors including habitat temperature, amount of food fed and frequency of feeding, age (young snakes shed more frequently) and the your pet’s overall activity level.
Shedding may take 1 to 2 weeks and will generally be trouble-free for most healthy snakes. However, you should observe your pet closely during this time as poor diet and other factors can lead to shedding complications.
Should you require any further information on looking after your pet snake, please contact any of our team at Moycullen Vet Clinic and we will be happy to provide you with direction.