The only hard part of keeping snakes is making sure you set up their enclosure correctly. There are many ways to do this however they all need to achieve essentially the same parameters.
Most snakes prefer a range of temperatures within their environment so they can thermoregulate. Since they are ectotherms they must rely on their environment to achieve the correct temperatures for things like digestion and, reproduction, and immune system function. Each type of snake needs a slightly different temperature range but most of them will fall somewhere between 70 and 100 degrees farenheit.
This is one of the most common mistakes made by novice keepers. It is not recommended to keep snake in screen top aquariums, yet that is all you see for sale at pet stores. Unfortunately a screen top enclosure combined with a heating unit creates a severely dehydrating environment. As the heat rises up and out of the screen top it takes all the animal moisture with it.
Most snake prefer to spend a large portion of their day hiding. These animals have very slow metabolisms making them much less active than mammals. Providing a proper hide is vital for normal snake behavior and well being. At Snake Haus we prefer, and recommend, a minimum of two hides and other furniture to climb on and hide under.
Check out the following links to see how we provide adequate husbandry for our snakes. We make most of our enclosures out of a variety of different materials. We hope you have fun learning how to improve your snake enclosures at home! Let us know what questions you have.
Plastic tubs? Yes they do work!
See how we turn old display cases into fantastic enclosures.
Shelf enclosures: a garage shelf can be turned into a very nice snake rack. See how here.
Go here to see how we modify aquariums to make them suitable for snakes.
Go here to see how we achieve, and control, correct temperature gradients.
Go here to see Snake Haus’s preferred method of building hides.
Learn about working with melamine
Follow these links to find some of the products we use when building custom enclosures:
- For really large enclosures I love to use under floor heat panels that are made for homes. These create excellent belly heat as well as add some insulation for the floor of the enclosure. Heat tape can also be used for this purpose and is a little bit cheaper but I really love how easy these panels are to set up.
- These heat panels require you to install a plug.
- And they must be controlled with a thermostat. I use these cheaper ones because I prefer to have one on every single enclosure. If you can afford to use a herpstat on all of you enclosure they are actually a better product. There are different sizes of herpstats. They can be found at the Bean Farm or there are a few of them on Amazon.
- I cover the belly heat unit with an insulating and water proof tray made from corrugated plastic. That helps keep the enclosure clean and dry as well as protects the animal from burns by allowing them to sit right on top of their heater.
- I also install a Ceramic Heat Emitter at one side to provide a basking spot. Be sure to use the correct fixture to prevent fire hazards.
- Ceramic Heat Emitters get VERY hot. They must be covered with something to prevent your snake from climbing on it. We have found that you can make a cage out of plastic covers for fluorescent lighting – LINK COMING SOON.
- We love using plexiglass for doors because you can drills holes in it for installing door handles and locks, or for adding ventilation. Be sure to use the thicker panels. They can be cut to size using a circular saw with a 60 tooth finish blade.
- Plexiglass doors flex though so you need to install hook style locks that prevent your snake from squeezing out between the two panels.
- We keep a few different sizes of machine screw and bolts on hand for projects like this. Depending on the thickness of your plexiglass a 1/2 or 3/4′ screw usually works well. If you get #8 size they will also work for installing cabinet door handles as well for easy opening and closing of your doors.