Snake enclosures come in many designs, but one thing is constant, which is the internal environment. Snakes need a special type of environment where only an aquarium will allow you to ensure this environment remains steady and maintained.
Style and Size
When choosing between snake enclosures, you will want to ensure it is large enough for him to grow, but not too large that he feels insecure. Snakes do not need much space because they do not run and jump, like other reptiles. However, if your snake were to outgrow its cage, it could literally make the cage explode. Therefore, make sure it is able to stretch out and move around comfortably. Also, research your particular snake. How big will he get? Some snakes will stay small, while others could grow up to 32 feet and weigh 500 pounds!
Snake enclosures can be made from aquaria or Plexiglas lining. These are suitable because they allow for optimum visualization, are safe for your snake, and can help to maintain the environmental temperature and humidity levels necessary for its health.
There are wire snake enclosures available; however, they make it nearly impossible for you to maintain specific environmental temperature and humidity levels. These types of cages actually can cause injuries to the rostrum, which is the nose and surrounding tissues. The injury is caused when they try to escape through the holes in the wire mesh.
Regardless on if you use wire, glass, or Plexiglas, you will need to have a secure top that is escape-proof. Ensure all the hinges and locks are secure. Snakes are sneaky and smart. They can literally escape from places you would never thought possible.
You will need to put a protective covering on the floor. The two most common floor coverings are: unprinted newsprint and butcher paper. These are both good choices because you can cut them down to size and put down many layers. Other options include:
- Paper towels
- Terrycloth towels
- Indoor/outdoor carpeting
Layering the flooring is important because you can remove the top layers as they are soiled, which will keep the cage clean and dry more often. If you do choose to use indoor/outdoor carpeting, have 2 to 3 pieces that are cut to the correct dimensions. When the top carpeting is soiled, you will have a layer underneath that you can use while the top layer is cleaned and disinfected.
Never use pea gravel, kitty litter, or crushed corncob or wood shavings, as these items can trap moisture and promote hiding places for external parasites. Also, your snake may accidentally eat these items, which can cause obstruction to the digestive tract.
Creating the Internal Environment
There are many things you can purchase to create a special internal environment that will mimic its natural habitat. Aside from the flooring, you can add in various items, such as:
- Sturdy branches from hardwood trees or those from artificial materials
- Hanging ropes
- Hide box for privacy
- Silk artificial plants
Silk artificial plants can play an important role in helping the snake feel like secure like it is in its own natural habitat. They also help to supplement the relative humidity level of the snake enclosure if you spray it with water frequently.
Temperature and Lighting
The temperatures you keep inside the aquarium will depend on the type of snake you have. Tropical snakes, such as boa constrictors or pythons, will need temperatures that range from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime. Native American snakes can survive in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
These temperatures can be maintained with heat lamps or heaters that are equipped with thermostats for large enclosures. However, smaller enclosures may only need a heating pad placed directly underneath them. Anything you use should be protected from the snakes, so they do not burn themselves.
Use an artificial ultraviolet light source instead of a fluorescent or incandescent light bulb. Supply them with around 12 hours of light and 12 to 14 hours of darkness. Gradually increase light hours in the spring and decrease light hours in the fall and winter months.
Where to Buy
Snake enclosures can be fun to search for with the many different styles you can purchase. There are some that are basic, while others are large and elaborate and can almost considered furniture.
Snake enclosures can be found in most good pet stores including online pet stores and other online locations such as eBay and NexTag.
The most important thing to remember is to create the internal environment your snake needs to survive.