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    24 Reviews
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      16.08.2013 09:14
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      My experience of keeping snakes.

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      Snakes in General
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      I'm not really sure why I got into snakes and why I suddenly wanted one as a pet but I am now glad that I did. My boyfriend purchased a Royal Python when we were on a bit of a break. We got back together and this is when I suddenly started liking snakes and appreciating them. We got our first snake just under 1 year ago and we now have a total of 5 Snakes and 1 Tegu. There are lots of different variations of snakes and some make better pets than others. Some people prefer keeping corn snakes which don't tend to get as big as other snakes such as Royal Pythons. Whatever snake you have you need to ensure it has everything it needs to ensure it's happy in its new home. Some snakes can get really big, which a lot of people don't take into consideration. Quite often people won't realise how big some snakes can get which in turns sometimes ends up with the owner selling it on to someone else because they can't cope with the size of it. Some snakes can live over 20yrs so you need to keep this in mind when deciding whether to purchase a snake or not.

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      Choosing a Snake
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      If you have never had experienced with a snake before it's probably better to get a Corn snake or a Ball Python which both make great starter snakes. These are all reasonable sized and are quite docile. As tempting as it may be, avoid purchasing any venomous snakes, pythons, water snakes, green snakes, Burmese pythons, boa constrictors or anything venomous unless you are experienced at keeping snakes. Although you can purchase venomous snakes from various reputable sellers you will need a special license to have the snake and you need to also bear in mind that this snake could also bite you at some point. I'm not saying it will be there's a good chance that it could. You need to also take onto consideration the time and care you need to look after a snake. They are fairly easy animals to keep but their vivarium will require some cleaning and you will also have to feed the snakes small mice.

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      Setting up a Home
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      * Vivarium - If you are purchasing a snake for the first time they should tell you everything that you need for the snake. Snakes can be good escape artists so you need a decent vivarium that the snake cannot get out of. This means that it needs to have a secure lid or a door that can be locked to avoid the snake from escaping. We purchased a 2nd hand vivarium for our first snake which was made out of wood. The vivarium has sliding doors in the front of it which slide open. Many pet supply shops sell rubber wedges which can be wedged between the glass to make it secure, that way there is no chance of the snake escaping.

      * Substrate - In the bottom of the vivarium you will need a type of substrate for the snake. There are various different types of substrates available and some can be more expensive than others. Some substrates are quite coarse whereas others are finer. We have a coarse, bar like substrate for the larger snakes and we have a finer substrate for the smaller ones. They advise changing the substrate on a regular basis.

      * Heat Source - Snakes neat a heat source and you can put a heat source in your vivarium of many different types. In our small vivarium for our Royal Python we have a heat mat which can be purchased from most reptiles stores. You can also use a heat lamp/bulb which is what we use in the vivariums for our bigger snakes. With the heat bulbs we also purchased a protective cage to stop the snake from burning itself if it happens to wrap around it. This doesn't always happen; how-ever it can happen sometimes so it's best to purchase one in case. Although you need a heat source, you also need to have a cold side in the vivarium as well. This way snakes can stay at the correct temperature.

      * Hide - Snakes sometimes like a bit or privacy so you will need to purchase some sort of hide for the snake to go in. Please bear in mind that this needs to be big enough for the whole snake to fit in. Snakes can curl up in the hide so you may not need to buy anything too big. Again you can purchase this from various pet and reptile shops or alternatively you can make you own using an old but clean ice cream container/washing up bowl. We actually made hides for our 3 bigger snakes and purchased one for the smaller snakes.

      * Water - Snakes need a source of water which they drink from and can also sometimes bathe in, although not all snakes bathe. You can purchase various water bowls from shops. In one of our vivarium's we used an old bowl which holds a good amount of water in. For the bigger snakes we actually purchased plastic trays from a local garden centre. These were a reasonable price. With bigger snakes you will need a heavier bowl as some snakes can tend to push the bowl over.

      * Accessories - Some snakes like to climb so you may want to purchase jungle vines or other things for the vivarium so they can enjoy their home and climb. Not all snakes require this, so depending on what snake you have it's best to look up information about them for more information on specifics and other items they may need.

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      Feeding Snakes
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      Snakes of course do need to eat so you need to be prepared to feed them small mice. Mice, Rats and various other foods can be purchased from most pet stores and reptiles shops. The food does come frozen (and dead) so you will need to defrost it before giving it to your snake. You can feed the snakes either by hand or using tongs, which is good for bigger snakes. To defrost a mouse we normally boil the kettle and put it in hot water for a while until the body starts to feel soft and slightly squishy (sounds gross I know!). We then boil the kettle again and dip the head of the mouse in hot water and then feed it to the snake. We normally always use tongs as the snake will strike for it and we don't want to get bitten by the snake accidentally. Alternatively you can pop the mouse in the vivarium where the snake will probably eat it. Some people believe you should have a separate feeding box for snakes, in which you should take the snake out and feed it in a separate box to their actual vivarium. Not everyone does this though and there is mixed views about this. We feed all of our snakes about once a week and always make a note whether they eat or not. I personally think watching snakes eat is truly fascinating. Some snakes eat quicker than others and some swallow the mouse very quickly. If you do purchase a snake that is likely to get big you may have to end up feeding it rabbits. I know this makes a lot of people cringe, how-ever it is just part of life and snakes need to eat too.

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      Poo/Wee
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      Snakes do obviously poo and wee. Their wee actually comes out like white pebbles which go hard. I don't really find that snake poo smells too bad, despite them eating a mouse or rat. We actually purchase some poo bags from Pets at home and we use this to pick the poo and wee up out from the vivarium. Depending on the size of your snake depends on how much it poo's. Our larger snakes do a considerable amount more poo than the smaller one's do and this also tends to smell more as well. Quite often the larger snake's poo tends to be the size of dog poo so you have to be willing to clean this up! Remember the bigger they are the bigger the poo!

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      Cleanliness
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      Every week we remove all the water bowls from each of the vivarium's and spray then with a diluted disinfectant solution which is called Q10, we purchase this from our local reptile shop as it's safe for snakes and other reptiles. We then scrub the water bowls and rinse them off before re-filling them and placing them back into the vivariums. If the water is looking particularly dirty then we will change the water before then. We also regularly take the hides out of the vivariums and give them a scrub too before putting them back in. Although they advise you to change the substrate regularly we don't do this and haven't yet encountered any problems. Every week we simply move all the substrate around the vivarium and give it a light spray of water. Snake poo and wee tends to be hard and not very wet so it doesn't really soak into the substrate, therefore we don't think it's necessary to change the substrate all the time. Before and after cleaning anything inside the vivarium we use a special hand gel which cleans your hands and kills all germs.

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      Shedding
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      All snakes will shed their skin on a regular basis. You may be able to tell when they are going into shed as their eyes will turn misty/a blue colour. This is actually called 'In Blue'; this is because when snakes shed their skin their eye-caps will come off with their shed. They can be in blue for at least 3-4 days before they finally shed their skin. During this period they may not eat and they may also be wearier of people or being handled due to them not being able to see out of their eyes very well. The snake skin can also become dull just before shedding which is another sign to tell is a snake is going into shed or not. Different snakes can take different amount of time to shed. Some snakes will shed their skin in once, whereas other snakes may shed their skin in pieces. After they had shed you can remove the skin from the vivarium otherwise it can start to smell a little. You can either keep the shed or you can throw it away. We have kept some of the good sheds from our snakes. The shed is very thin and feels like paper so does break easily.

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      Handling Snakes
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      Although you don't have to, we like to handle each of our snakes once a week to spend some time with them. This not only helps to ensure they stay reasonably friendly but they get to recognise the smell of us as well. When taking a snake out of the vivarium you need to be careful and mustn't be jumpy or scared as quite often the snake can sense this. You need to literally go straight into the vivarium and take the snake out. With larger snakes you may want to purchase a special glove (which my boyfriend did) to take the snakes out just in case they do go for you or bite you. I have to admit that I won't get the larger snakes out of the vivarium but I will hold them once they are out. We regularly take some of our snakes to reptile shows which is why we like to handle them a lot so they get used to it. We also love spending time with the snakes out of the vivariums and they all have their own character. We only ever handle the snakes one at a time. We don't often get 2 snakes out at one time or if we do we ensure they are kept well apart. My boyfriend will normally have one and I will have the other one.

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      Our Snakes
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      * Q - Is a Royal Python and was the first snake my boyfriend purchased. He is quite a slow grower as we have had him for about a year and have only just had to change the size of his hide so he fits in it. I am not 100% sure on how old he is, but I believe he is well over 1 years old. He has jungle vines in his vivarium and often climbs them when the lights are out. He likes to explore a lot and moves round a lot if I sit with him on my lap when watching the TV. He can often smell when we are feeding the other snakes as his head will often pop out of his hide whilst he waits patiently for food.

      * Rocky - Is a Boa Constrictor and we purchased him around October last year. He was a reasonable size when we got him and has been growing ever since. We call him 'Mr Mustachio' due to the black mark above his mouth which looks like a Moustache. Rocky is around 5ft long and is quite wide and also rather heavy. He has a red tipped tail which is a different colour to the rest of him. He is currently eating large rats. Although rocky is also quite alert and is always aware when you open the vivarium he hasn't yet gone for anyone and comes out the vivarium without any problems

      * Pandora - Is a Burmese Python and we got her for a very good price from a reputable seller whom has a large shop and often holds reptile events. Pandora is originally from Germany and was very small when we got her. She has grown very quickly and is now over 7ft. She has beautiful colours on her and her skin looks beautiful after she has shed. This is the only female snake we have. She is currently on extra, extra large rats but will eat rabbits when she's fully grown. She could grow up to 12ft long which means she will need a bigger vivarium. She spends most of her time on the shelf in her vivarium. She has brilliant character and loves meeting new people and being held. We took her to reptile show a few months ago and she won the 'Best Snake' award. She didn't mind being held by various people and I'm sure she loved the attention. Pandora is always very alert and as soon as you open the vivarium she knows. I don't like getting her out of the vivarium as sometimes she can hiss; how-ever my boyfriend gets her out all the time, but does sometimes use a glove. She has only bitten my boyfriend once; how-ever this was his fault for dangling a cold rat in front of her. She sensed the heat from his hand and went for his head instead of the rat. She didn't how-ever hold on and she let go straight away so the bite wasn't that bad.

      Luna - Is a snow corn snake so is a beautiful white colour with red eyes. We actually got her for free from the person whom my boyfriend got his Tegu from as they didn't want her anymore. My boyfriend said she was in a small box with hardly any space. She was quite jumpy at first but has now calmed down a lot and loves exploring. We have put a fair amount of substrate in her vivarium as she likes to bury herself in amongst it. Quite often you will just see her heard poking out from under the substrate. When she goes to the toilet it's rather messy and tends to be a lot runnier than the other snakes, I'm not sure whether this is because she is a corn snake or not.

      Currently No Name - Is an albino het granite Burmese python. This is our newest addition and is another male snake. He is very small at the moment as he was only born about 8 weeks ago so is very light to hold compare to the other snakes we have. We purchased him from a reptile show the other weekend from a seller whom was selling a huge range of different snakes. He is stunning and has beautiful colours to him. We only have him in a small vivarium at the moment and he likes to spend all his time on top of his hide and hasn't yet ventured inside it. As he is a baby snake he is a little bit jumpy at the moment but he's absolutely adorable. We haven't yet decided on a name for him.

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      Overall Opinion
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      Some people will no doubt cringe when they read this review as some people just aren't a fan of snakes. There are so many different snakes, some of which can be more vicious and dangerous than others, whilst others can be friendly and make great pets. Snakes aren't slimy nor are they that hard to look after as they don't require being taken for a walk or patted. Although I wasn't a huge fan of snakes before I now love them and think there are so many beautiful variations of snakes. Although some people keep snakes in small vivarium's or what some people called rubs all of our snakes are in reasonable sized vivarium's giving them room to move around. Due to the small flat we live in, we wouldn't be able to get anymore snakes, how-ever if we moved into a bigger place I'm not going to say that it isn't on the cards as there are a few other snakes that we would like to get and we would also like to try breeding snakes as well. Snakes aren't to everyone tastes and some people prefer dogs. Although snakes can bite you they very rarely kill unless in the wild. It's actually a known fact that dogs kill more people a year than snakes do. Although their bite can sometimes be nasty and they may not look like the nicest of pets they are beautiful creatures and one's that I have learnt to love.

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      A recent news article
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      There has been some negativity about snakes recently due to a certain incident which happened in a small Canadian town. (Some of you may have heard about this). Although this would put a lot of people off snakes I would just like to add that this is why you need to get a suitable vivarium for a snake and ensure that the snake cannot get out of it. The recent news article about the snake I am referring to, the snake was actually banned from being kept and it's believe that the owner did not hold a license for it. Whilst some snakes are great as pets, others should be left in the wild where they belong.


      (review also on ciao)

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        14.08.2009 14:25
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        If you buy a royal python you wont regret it.

        Royal Python.

        The Royal Python is a very docile member of the python family often called the ball python as rather than attack when threatened curls up into a tight ball.

        The best environment I noted was a 4 foot by 2.5 foot glass fronted tank with a heat mat which must remain covered, I prefer 2 pieces of suitable carpet as 1 can be removed and washed and the other to replace it, this makes it easier to find and remove the faeces and dry white powder (snake urine). Cleaning should take place around every 4/6 weeks.

        The environment should monitored by 2 thermometers with the one on the heated side at a constant 88 degrees farenheight and one on the unheated side in the mid to late 70's this allows the snake the opportunity to move arount the vivarium to regulate its own temperature. A humidity gauge is required and should be around 55 to 60% at all times, moving the water bowl on or near or off the edge of the heat mat should regulate this.

        They can become bored and require some sort of climbing apparatus, mine had some branches I collected but wash, sand and bake in the oven for 30 minutes the soak in Tamodine then wash and dry before introducing.

        Feending a baby python is easy and one baby mouse per week should do but as the snake grows the appetite increases so you need to buy larger mice then move onto small, medium and large rats, feeding reduces with size and eventually takes place every 3/4 weeks, chicks do as well but don't have the same nutritional value, as a rule after feeding you should see the prey form a lump in the stomach area and dont worry about the food size looking too big, they can swallow things 3.5 times the size of their head and the head of the prey is the only thing that matters here as they are capable of squeezing what follows. Leave the snake for 3 or 4 days after feeding so it can lie on its heat mat and digest the meal, they need constant heat to do this.

        They can bite and have 2 rows of small teeth that pull food in like tracks and are back fanged however mine never attempted to bite me.

        They can grow to 4/5 feet and are thick bodied, live around 20 years but are notoriously fussy eaters sometimes going 6 months refusing food, there are force feeding techniques but should be taught and not merely described here, the only one I can recommend for beginners is to hold the mouse against the snakes mouth (hold snake neck) and instinct will cause it to open and take, let go snake, it may swallow but may not (watch fingers doing this). Missing a couple of meals is not a worry so dont force feed if this happens, it only becomes a problem if the snake begins to look malnourished.

        A bottle of tamodine should be on hand as these animals are subject to skin infections and a warm bath in a very diluted solution every day for a week should do the trick, watch for mites too and make sure you have a back up heat source incase of powercuts etc... a hot water bottle or heat storing rocks work (rocks can burn snakes and should only be used under supervision). Shedding takes place regularly but time extends as it grows, When the eyes turn white it is shedding and will be nervous as it cannot see and has sensitive skin, best to leave alone to till it sheds, then inspect for incomplete shedding, a warm bath will help remove any skin.

        There are many abbreviations used by sellers ie. cb wc ch etc Captice Bred, Wild Caught, Captive Hatched, only go for Captive Bred as wild caught snakes have been cruelly treated by being removed from the wild and captive hatched are gathered from the wild therefore have more infections and mites.

        Finally Buy, set up and test your vivarium so its running perfectly before buying and introducing your new snake as a poor set up can cause stress and death.

        Mine Died a few months ago, It fell off its branch (which was'nt high) and suffered a broken neck, this is a possibility with all snakes but the benefits of having a secure branch for its vivarium out weigh the risks.

        Great Pet, they dont need walked, they dont bark , when adult they only need fed every 3 weeks, they dont smell and they dont need constant attention, what could be better.

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          21.05.2009 02:52
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          A great animal to care for! :-)

          The snake I am writing about it the Corn Snake. I have always been a reptile person, and although my husband prefers the fluffy animals, snakes have always been something I have wanted, though my mum and dad would never let me have one, and I had a tortoise instead, who was funky but she was adopted by my mum when I moved!!!

          So when my husband told me as long as I read up on Snakes and got to know my stuff I was allowed one, I hit the books and net, and started saving up!!!!

          In March I went into a pet shop to look at the snakes (yes I did that alot!!!) and there was a baby albino corn snake, two months old sitting in its little hatchling box. And I just had to hold him, so the man passed him over to me and he slithered around my hand and I just had to have him! So my hubsnad bought the little cutie for me! For a baby it was £50, and for an adult it was £130, but I decided on the baby so that I could see it grow up and get bigger. It came with a small tank with all the things in it which it needed for an extra £30, which we won't need to change for around 18 months.

          He's a little pink snake, with white spots on him, he's about half a meter long, and around 1.5cm wide (in his widest part). And growing rapidly!!!! He has shed his skin twice since we got him at the end of March, and he's gone up a stage in food, and will be going up again in the next couple of weeks.

          Corn snakes are VERY easy to look after, they need to live in a vivarium which is the correct size for their age, with a heat mat and heat lamp keeping the temperature high in one part and low in another. The best bedding to use for them is Aspen, which is like sawdust but much better for snakes. If you have a baby corn, they'll start off on what they call Pinkies, which are new born mice which have been humanely killed at birth and frozen for the snake. You NEVER feed your snake on live food, its illegal in this country, but also dangerous as the snake can be injured, the animal is not been killed humanely, and it makes the snake alot more aggressive as they see all moving things as potential food and so your more likely to be bitten as a snake owner.

          As the snake grows you will know when it needs to go up a stage in food, you will no longer see a "lump" in the body of the snake after its eaten and then you will go up to either "fluffs" or "rat pups", which are slightly bigger than baby mice, and you will gradually move up to full grown mice when they'rw fully grown at about 2 years old. At full legnth they're about 3ft long, and 5cm thickness.

          They need cleaning out around once a month, as they only eat once a week (not in their home normally) and only poo once after eating, which can be easily taken out of the aspen bedding. Sometimes the water will tip out and will get damp and then it needs changing more often!

          The water which you give the snake is not for drinking, as they get all their water from their food, but is for humidity in the house, and also for the snake to sit in when he or she is shedding as it helps moisten their skin and helps it come off easier.

          The snake will shed around once a month as a baby, but as it gets older this will slow to around twice a year as its only needed for skin repair and not growth. This happens naturally, but you do have to look out for any bits that have not come away properly as you will need to peel them away (easy done with water and tweezers) but this is unlikely to happen if their air is moist enough for them. If you find it happening regularly, check the humididty is enough.

          One thing I will say here for anyone with snakes, feeding can sometimes be a little difficult, as some snakes won't eat if its too hot or too cold, or if they're shedding and for other reasons, and so you might find your giving the snake food every week, and its not interested, best thing to do, is warm the mouse back up (not in the microwave, in hot not boiling water) and give it them back, if there is still no interest, I'm afraid the next step is to cut open the mouse, preferably the stomach or top of the head. If this is still not enticing the snake, then its obvious it doesn't want to eat...and this is nothing to worry about. Some snakes will go months without eating,and as long as the snakes health doesn't deteriorate, its nothing to worry about, unlike humans, the snake doesn't necesarrily need the food if it doesn't want to eat it, its going to be ok. But I suggest trying every week. You may think this is a waste of snake food as you cannot re-freeze the mouse and it won't last a week in the fridge, but you need to keep trying as the reason the snake isn't eating could change.

          Corn snakes are one of the easiest snakes to have as they don't have teeth or venom and so they're safe, they eat once a week and are very low maintenance.

          One of the best animals to have cause they are so so soooo easy to care for!!! And they're great for kids as they're hardy little animals, don't bite (and even if they do theres nothing to penetrate and just gives you a small bruise) it also stops children having phobias of those kinds of animals, as it builds their confidence and they know they're nothing to be scared of! :-)

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            08.05.2008 21:29
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            Sssssplenid fellow the snake...

            "Silently I slide along
            measuring Creation with my scales.
            You must listen closely to hear my sibilant song
            for there is Wisdom
            Magic
            Power
            in each of my tales.

            Watch your step!
            Know well what risk you take!
            Without warning I might...
            Bite the hand that saved me
            Tempt you with Forbidden Knowledge
            Humble you with venomous lies
            or deep within cause the fires of Creation to awake!

            Dance with drum and rattle!
            Surrender to your inner voice.
            Like me, you hold all the World within your grasp,
            how you live is, in the end, always a choice.
            Shed inhibitions like outgrown skin.
            Transfix your foe with steady eye
            across the field of battle.

            Awaken the power within...
            Absorb the strength of the Sun,
            and with coiled patience remember...
            you lessons have already begun!"

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            "In the field of true spirituality, Experience serves as breakfast; Realization as lunch; Transformation as dinner." ~ Sri Chinmoy

            "That's the thing with magic. You've got to know it's still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you." ~ Charles De Lint

            "...he lifted the cover, and there he saw a white snake lying on the dish. After seeing it he could not resist the desire to taste it, and so he cut off a small piece and put it in his mouth. As soon as it touched his tongue he heard outside his window a strange chorus of delicate voices. He went and listened, and found that it was the sparrows talking together, and telling each other all they had seen in the fields and woods. The virtue of the snake had given him power to understand the speech of animals." The White Snake by the Brothers Grimm


            Snakes have been feared and revered for centuries in any culture that has encountered them. Fascinating and resilient creatures, snakes are scaled, elongated, limbless reptiles from the Order Squamata, Sub-Order Serpentes. Serpent, another name for a snake, comes from the word serp or herp which translates roughly as "to creep". Because their skeletal system is relatively delicate and fragile it is extremely difficult to track them through fossil records for anything like a close time of appearance in evolution. It is generally accepted that they descended from burrowing lizards, varanids or something similar. Pythons, boas, and other snakes still show vestigial limbs leftover from the long ago days when snakes had limbs.

            There are over 2000 species of snake worldwide, all of which are carnivorous. Depending on the snake and its environment they might feed on: other snakes, lizards, rodents, small mammals, frogs and other amphibians, birds, eggs, fish, or insects. Some snakes are venomous, others kill their prey by constricting them in their coils, and some simple swallow their prey while still alive.

            Snakes have very flexible mouths, and numerous skull joints that allow them to swallow food much larger than themselves. They become torpid after eating, and usually crawl off to a safe and quiet spot to digest. As reptiles, they are cold-blooded and more active in warmer temperatures, and it is common for them to regurgitate their prey if they are disturbed after a meal in order to make a quicker getaway. It is not uncommon for snakes to die from attempting to eat something too large or too active for them to handle. Any plant matter accidentally consumed will be passed without being digested. It is very rare for a snake to deliberately attack a human, although small children have from time to time been consumed. On the whole, they prefer to avoid us.

            "We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little the truth we find bitter" ~Denis Diderot

            "I believe that it is essential to appreciate our potential as human beings and recognize the importance of inner transformation." ~ HH Dalai Lama

            "I've always liked reptiles. I used to see the universe as a mammoth snake, and I used to see all the people and objects, landscapes, as little pictures in the facets of their scales. I think peristaltic motion is the basic life movement. Swallowing." ~ Jim Morrison


            Snake skin is scaled, smooth and dry. Most snakes have specialized belly scales that help them to move in their environment. Their eyelids are transparent scales that stay permanently closed. Unlike other reptiles, when growing snakes shed their skin they peel it off in one piece. If you see a snake rubbing its nose on a rock or root, it is trying to begin the shedding process.

            This renewing/re-birthing process is what brings the snake its symbolism for renewal, rebirth, healing and powerful medicine. In snakes with rattles, their rattles are formed by this process are are actually old dry scales that they do not shed. Their age can often be closely guessed at by counting the number of rattles. Shedding is a dangerous process for snakes and if they do not shed their old skin properly or under the right conditions it may result in injury, death or blindness.


            Snake vision is unexceptional to poor, but they do all sense movement which often triggers their predator response. Some snakes even have infra-red sensors in their nostril grooves and eyes which allows them to track their prey by body heat. Snakes do not have visible ears but they do have a bone, the quadrate, underneath their skin on either side of their head which focuses sounds into their cochlea.

            Their sense of smell is their most keenly developed sense and they smell by tasting the air with their forked tongues. The forked design also helps them determine the smells direction. Being in close contact with the ground, they are very sensitive to vibration. Most snakes reproduce through internal fertilization and the laying of eggs, and most snakes do not raise their young. Some rare few carry their young until they are almost ready to hatch, and it has recently been discovered that some, such as the green anaconda, have live births instead of eggs.

            "If you are bitten by a snake, what's the best thing to do? Remain calm, separate the poison from the rest of your body, suck the poison out. Worst thing to do: get upset, chase and kill snake. Same when someone strikes out at you verbally. Remain calm, don't try to strike back at the other person. Don't let the poison spread throughout your system." ~ Unknown

            "The more hidden the venom, the more dangerous it is." Marguerite de Valois

            Snakes are typically venomous rather than poisonous. Perhaps a fine distinction, venom is injected where poison is ingested, inhaled or of a contact variety. Keelback snakes found in southeast Asia retain the toxin from the poisonous toads they eat which they then secrete to ward off predators. Snake venoms differ and can affect the body in a variety of ways. Some attack the nervous system or the circulatory system, and others bind irreversibly with their prey's nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the brain causing paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Some venomous snakes secrete their poison directly from their fangs, which makes them very effective predators.

            "Acknowledging our inner divinity as a step on the path to embodying it is not to be confused with narcissism or individualism, since we must further admit that everyone's divine birthright is the same limitless creational potential of unconditional love." ~ Sol Luckman

            "Meditation is not an escape. Meditation is the acceptance of life in its totality, with a view to transforming it for the highest manifestation of the divine Truth here on earth" ~ Sri Chinmoy

            "You and I are the force for transformation in the world. We are the consciousness that will define the nature of the reality we are moving into." ~ Ram Dass

            In many cultures the consumption of snakemeat is a medicinal treatment or a spiritual empowerment. Snakes have been associated with Thoth, Apep, Medusa, Hercules, Perseus, Hermes, Bacchus, Shiva, Vishnu, Wadjet, Buto,Quetzalcoatl, Apollo, Kebechet, Athirat and many other deities, especially those associated with healing. Naga is the Sanskrit word for a deity or being that takes on the form of a snake. Nag and Nagina from the Rudyard Kipling tale of "Rikki Tikki Tavi" is drawn directly from this word, for in India the King Cobra male is called Nag and the female, Nagi.

            In that story, Nag recounts the tale of how they shaded the lord Brahma, a Hindu god of healing and one of the aspects of the Vishnu/Shiva trinity, from the sun. In gratitude Brahma marked the cobras with the spectacle mark on their hoods to show that they were favored by him. There is a yearly festival devoted to the veneration of snakes called Nag Panchami. For all their Underworld connections throughout history, Snakes are most definitely seen as fiery in element. Perhaps it is their love of the Sun's warmth that brought this connection, or perhaps it was the understanding that deep within the Earth, there is a powerful well of fire. Even J.K. Rowling's villain, Lord Voldemort, appears snake-like and keeps a giant snake named Nagini! The Midgard Serpent holds all the World in it's coils and it's constriction is said to herald Ragnarok. The Ouroboros, a snake swallowing it's own tail, is a symbol of eternity, balance, and the cycle of life, death and rebirth that brings immortality. This symbol has been associated with many religions and cultures.

            Snakes have an undeniable connection to all manner of healing, and continue to act as symbols of the medical profession today. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word which translates as "coiled up" or "coiled like a snake". Kundalini comes from yogic philosophy of ancient India and refers to "serpent power", the awakening of balanced power within the self. Balanced and properly opened Chakras with regular meditation opens one to the sensation of Kundalini, an untapped powerful creative force that uncoils in stages and can be felt as energy moving from the base to the apex of the spine. In it's fullest force, it would likely feel as if you had become a volcano of creative fire. When we experience and understand all levels of healing Kundalini though, we become powerful spiritually awakened beings. This goal might take a lifetime, or we might connect to it within minutes. Everyone's journey is different. Interestingly enough the concept of Kundalini is also found in Red Tail Hawk Totem. Red tails include snakes in their menu and are one of the balancing energies for Snake Totem. I believe that when the majority of Humanity finally achieves an awakened state, we will change our World in a most profound and constructive way that has never truly been seen before.


            "If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing." ~ Gail Sheehy

            "It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting and painful." ~ Adrienne Rich



            In some Native traditions a Medicine Woman is called a Snake Skirt, and balanced Snake people are honored for their connection to this powerful and healing Teacher. In one tale a person encounters a snake. Sometimes the snake is wounded and in other tellings the snake is fine but asks for help in reaching the top of the mountain. The kind person assists the snake only to be bitten, often fatally, in the end. "You knew what I was when you picked me up." is usually the snakes answer to why he bit the person who did nothing but good to him. Whether you are the snake or the helping individual, this is a good lesson!

            In Islam, Christianity and Judaism the Snake appears in the book of Genesis to tempt Adam and Eve with the Forbidden Fruit if Knowledge. Yet, God turned the staff of Moses into a snake as a sign of his power, and Moses later made a sacred object called Nehustan, a bronze pole with a snake on it, which had great healing powers and saved the Israelites from snake bites. The serpent has even represented Christ the Redeemer who asked us to "be as wise as the snake and gentle as the dove"! I was never content with the notion that the Snake was some evil being who tricked Adam and Eve without the Creator's knowledge. All things are, ultimately, as Creator made them. It is up to humanity to individually and collectively choose to live in a fit manner. Snake reminds us that we must shed many times and make many more transformations than just from egg to snake before we are truly Awakened.

            "A kind word can attract even the snake from his nest." ~Saudi Arabian Proverb

            "New ideas stir from every corner. The show up disguised innocently as interruptions, contradictions and embarrassing dilemmas. Beware of total strangers and friends alike who shower you with comfortable sameness, and remain open to those who make you uneasy, for they are the true messengers of the future." ~Rob Lebow

            "The stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
            The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
            Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
            A tree that is unbending is easily broken." ~ Lao Tzu



            Well balanced Snake people that I have encountered fostered a great love of knowledge, especially ancient and hidden truths. They tend to take a concept and not so much chew on it, but swallow it whole and then linger in contemplation over the subject for extended periods. Balanced Snake people don't like to be rushed, and can be easily startled if they are lost in their own contemplations. If pushed too far by the perceived bad behavior of another, they will not hesitate to lash back in a quick decisive manner. While Snake people tend to prefer sitting back in quiet observation, when they choose to speak, they do so powerfully.

            It is important to remember that the flexibility of the limbless Snake provides this Teacher with food as well as protecting itself. Remaining flexible while walking the path of this life is a tremendous asset in almost any situation. Snake people don't require much food to keep themselves physically sustained, may enter into periods of metaphoric hibernation, and typically prefer warm and sunny weather over cold and snow.



            Unbalanced Snake people I have encountered were malicious and even pathological liars, cold-hearted, self-centered to the point of egomania, horrible communicators who could not open their mouths without saying exactly the right thing to anger or upset those around them, users, abusers, or thieves of material things as well as delighting in robbing others of their mental, emotional, spiritual or physical well-being! Because of these encounters, it has been difficult for me to be as open to this Teacher's many excellent qualities and lessons as I would like to be. I struggle not to be resentful of these misguided people who have a skewed vision of Snake's lessons, and to remember that this wise and wonderful Teacher is not to blame for the choices of individuals who are drawn to this Teacher.

            "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for though art crunchy and taste good with ketchup." ~ Unknown

            "You helped yourself. In doing so, you helped me, and now it's time to be truly brave." ~ Puff the Magic Dragon

            "I stopped when I smelled the magic. It was strong magic. Old magic. And it carried a faint scent of the sea." ~ Dragon of the Lost Sea, Laurence Yep


            Snakes are also linked to Dragons, which are elemental creatures who carry all the lessons of snake plus their own individual lessons. Water Dragons bring hidden desires and memories to the surface. They bring us the courage and compassion to move through emotional transformation, or to help others through such a painful experience. They have the impassioned yet fluid strength of water, which yields to everything yet can wear through stone. Earth Dragons bring messages of abundance, prosperity, lessons on how to remain grounded and centered, and the slow but steady growth into our own power, our individual beauty brought forth through self-nurturing. The Stone People are the record keepers of the Earth, and Earth Dragons have access to the same ageless wisdom, the same slow but certain progress echoed by the Earth changes evident in the dance of seasons. Air Dragons bring clarity, vitality, and inspiration to any situation. The flash of their scales is the bright light of the "ah-a!" moment of inspiration, and they love to help us develop the confidence to listen to our inner voice. Master communicators, they encourage us to speak only after we have thought through the situation.



            Fire Dragons bring the fiercest, most enthusiastic energy to your situation, but also the most easily mishandled. Rapid changes and great strength can be brought about by this Teacher, but it will also test your ability to act with moderation, with the full power of your potential realized but used only to the exact limit needed. With proper respect and self-discipline, this sort of Dragon will stoke your inner fires, teach you to both accept and project a steady protective aura brimming with the air of leadership, courage and mastery of self. Potent and wise allies, these elemental creatures can teach us all there is to understand about their given element. Familiarizing yourself with the different aspects of Dragon in the Chinese calendar may be particularly helpful to those drawn by these Teachers.


            My son was born in the year of the Earth Dragon, and examining this aspect of him really helped me to understand his equally delightful and exasperating outrageous-ness. Dragon people in general tend to be charismatic, unpredictable, talented, unfettered, extroverted, impulsive, innovative, and insightful personalities. The Earth element of my son's birth year helped to steady his outrageous impulses more than I realized, but I have often noticed that for all the impulsiveness natural to him, he is not given to fiery verbal or emotional responses. Earth Dragons are the least likely to assert their devastating breath without serious provocation, but when they do it can be like being hit with a stream of molten lava! All Dragons have more than a touch of the mystical or magical about them, and they are often seen as heralds of good fortune, powerful transformation and protection.

            In the Chinese Zodiac those born in the years 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001 were all born under the sign of the Snake. In that culture, Snake people are believed to be soft-spoken, graceful, deep thinkers, shrewd, mystical, wise, ambitious, cautious, purposeful and creative. They can also be loners, bad communicators, possessive, distrustful, deceitful and hedonistic. This matches fairly well with the general opinion of Snake people in other cultures too. The lines between Snakes, Lizards, Toads, and Dragons have often been blurred throughout history, and those interested in one of these totems would be wise to examine them all. For a recent literary example, in Laurence Yep's "Dragon of the Lost Sea" we learn of the most prized of dragon possessions, the fabled Dragon Pearl... much like the stone of wisdom once believed to be contained within the head of every toad. For an ancient example, examine the many depictions of Ouroboros and you may be surprised at how often this mystical symbol of eternity and balance is shown as a dragon swallowing its tail. Other balancing energies for Snake people would be Frog, Hawk, Mongoose, Mouse, or any other specific prey or predator common to the type of snake to which you are drawn.



            "Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life." ~Eckhart Tolle

            "When we meditate soulfully, devotedly, we have to accept humanity as our very own. We have to know that humanity as it stands is far, far, from perfection, but we are also members of humanity. We have to take it with us. If we are in a position to inspire others, if we are one step ahead, naturally we have the opportunity to serve the divinity in the ones who are following us. We have to transform the face of the world on the strength of our dedication to the divinity in humanity." ~ Sri Chinmoy

            "With the venomous kiss you gave me
            I'm killing loneliness (Killing loneliness)
            With the warmth of your arms you saved me,
            Oh, I'm killing loneliness with you..." ~ Killing Loneliness by HIM


            Meditation, silence, and solitude are extremely beneficial to everyone, but I have met more people who seem to be living in abject terror of moments of silence than I could possibly count! Snake people will find these tools a great aid in mastering themselves. Incorporating regular periods of meditation or silence in your day will bring greater clarity, increased sensitivity, balanced calm, and insight into any situation you are facing. Snake people may even find themselves feeling isolated, as there is something about their nature, the aura they project, that makes others perceive even the sweetest of Snake or Dragon people as someone powerful and potentially dangerous, someone to avoid. Developing a good relationship with a balancing Totem like Rabbit or cheerful Grasshopper can help to temper this effect.


            Those drawn to venomous snakes should be especially mindful of their words, and those drawn to constrictors should be aware when they are holding onto something too tightly or not letting go of a situation, individual, or concept when they should. Next to transformation, one of the Snakes most powerful lessons for us is how and when to let go, shed the old so that we grow and shine. Creativity, rebirth, healing, awakening, spiritual growth, and wisdom are all potent Snake lessons. The last picture here is a bookplate from the Grimms Fairy Tales book that was read to me as a little girl. "The White Snake" was one of my favorite stories and this picture recalls many memories for me. I still have this book, falling to pieces with much love, and have read these same tales to my own children wondering if they wish for the powers of the White Snake, to hear and speak with the natural World, as I did so long ago. How does this ancient and amazing Teacher appear in your life?




            "Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can." ~ HH Dalai Lama

            "A long time ago there lived a King whose wisdom was noised abroad in all the country. Nothing remained long unknown to him, and it was as if the knowledge of hidden things was brought to him in the air." ~ The White Snake by the Brothers Grimm

            "Hence, let me say that while others are involved in philosophies, Zen is involved in metamorphosis, in a transformation. It is authentic alchemy: it changes you from base metal into gold. But its language has to be understood, not with your reasoning and intellectual mind but with your loving heart. Or even just listening, not bothering whether it is true or not. And a moment comes suddenly that you see it, which has been eluding you your whole life. Suddenly, what Gautam Buddha called "eighty-four thousand doors" open. " ~Osho

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              28.01.2008 13:12
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              Boas do make great pets but i wouldnt advise these for a first snake owner

              I will be the first to admitt that snakes are something most people wouldnt even concider having as a pet but we have had quite a few over the years.

              Bella our beautiful boa constrictor is the latest addition to our snake family.

              Boas are available from most reptile shops and depending on what size and markings it has depends on the price, bella is a red tailed boa and we payed £250 for her last febuary.

              Boas grow very quickly at birth they are 30cmlong, by 6 months old they will be 75cm long, at one year old they should be 115cm long and once fully grow will be about 6 meters long.

              They reach sexual maturity at about 3 to 4 years old and give birth to live young in bundles of 10 to 60 in each breading season.

              To keep one of these you will need a very large viv with a heat sorce or 2 . Bella at the minute has a 5 foot viv with chip bark in the bottom, a log to hide under, a water bowl to drink from which she also likes to climb into, a heat bulb and a heat rock.

              Boas need uv light, most snakes dont need uv but boas being a tree top snake would get lots of uv from the sun in the wild so will require a uv light of 8 or higher.

              Bella started off feeding on baby mice then rat pups, fully grown mice and i am just in the process of weaning her onto rats.
              Eventually bella will eat rabbits and chickens.

              They recomend feeding a snake once a week but bella is fed twice a week.

              Although i love bella to bits and new what i was doing when i brought her i would strongly suggest you think long and hard before going out to buy a boa, try to find an adult boa to have a look at first so you know what you are letting your self in for,

              Boas get very big and if not handled regularly and with confidence will soon realise that they are gaffer in your house and start intimidating there owners.

              Boas are not a cheap pet to look after either.
              a cage will cost you anything from £300 upwards
              Uv lights about £30 each and need replacing every 6 months
              A thermostat which will cost between £30 and £100
              Heat sorce will cost you anything from £40 to £150
              Substrate for there cage costs £8 for each clean
              Mice start at 40p each, rats 70p each and once your boa is fully grown rabbits will cost you £5 each and your boa will possibly require 2 or 3 a week.
              It will also cost you about £150 a year in electric to heat your viv.

              All the above need to be concidered before buying a snake and working out the total cost over the life time of the snake will amount to a small fortune.

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                29.08.2006 22:53
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                hey i am a keeper of snakes and many other species of exotic animals and was just on her to say that it would not be far to outlaw the keeping of reptiles. The reason i say this is anything with teeth can bite, your pet dog that you have had for 4 or 5 years can turn on you at any given moment along as with any other animal. And also think about this what about people who want an animal to hold and play with but have alergies to cats,dogs,rabbite,etc... This is the reason i started keepeing reptiles including snakes. It was also a space issues. A dog has to have a lot of space to comfertable live although my snakes dont roam the house dont poop in the floor i dont have to walk them or anything that a dog does. I think any animal should be avaliable to keep no matter who you are. If u are stupid enough to want to buy a cobra (yes i know places to get them) you should be able to. I just think that this is really something that should be thought of before sayin we dont have the write to keep animals like reptiles.

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                  12.08.2006 10:20
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                  Gte a snake and you wont regret it

                  I had 2 king snakes(Fatty and skinny)they were by far the best pets ever.They were fun to watch slither around and eat there mice and they were both quite tame(skinny would bite now and again just to show he can).I loved my snakes and would love to get more but my womman has other ideas:)
                  My snakes were a cali kings snake(skinny) and a speckled king snake(fatty).Fatty was a big snake, around 6 foot in lengh but he was a gental giant and would love to just lie on you for hours(it might have been the heat off me or we might have had a thing going on:)but due to him being a very strong snake 1 night he lifted the lid off the tank and went.That was in 1998.Never found him but i think hes working on a building site.
                  My other snake skinny was only about 3 foot long and quite skinny no matter how much he ate.He was alright unil you went to pick him up.He would flick his poo at you , which was nice of him.If that didnt work then the bite would.He drew blood many times:) even hanging off my hand for about 1 min once.But I still loved him and he had a lovely colour scheme.Yellow , black and brown, very desert looking and always shed perfectly.
                  For those who want a snake I would reccomend a king snake.They are great and you can say they are the only snake imune to rattlesnake bites and they also eat rattlesnakes.Make sure you handle them as they become wild very fast if you dont and then you will have problems.Cleaning up after a snake is easy and changing the tanks substrate is easy to.They can go a long time without food and they do.They cost little in upkeep and give alot of pleasure to watch there behavour.
                  Snakes are great no matter what anyone says.

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                    10.07.2005 20:48
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                    Great pet, cheap to feed after initial outlay, can grow tame if handled

                    The snake I have is half rat and half corn. I have had it for 15 months now and it has almost trebled in size since I bought it. It is a green/brown colour mostly but also has yellow and orange on its side. It has lovely markings like small rings on its back.

                    The only major disadvantage is that it eats mice which are bought frozen and defrosted when needed. I have a special place in the frrezer for its food far away from anything we eat.

                    When I first bought it it ate 2 pinkies per week and then gradually increased in its consumption. We then went to three pinkies twice a week and this was the time to make the food a lot larger. We put the snake on 1 fluff which is a mouse with fur that is quite small (pinkies have no fur). She is now having three fluffs once a week. When she has these twice a week which is quite soon, she will move onto small mice, then medium mice and then large mice. Once she eats large mice she can then go onto rats, small birds or even small rabbits.

                    It sounds very gruesome but the food is captive bred and when the mice etc are killed they are done so humanely which is straight away so they feel no pain. I hate feeding mice to the snake but this is the only way to feed her. I think she will grow to around 6 foot but she won't be too thick, around 4-5 inches.

                    We call her 'Speedy,' because when she moves she is very fast. She lives in a vivarium but only needs a heat mat not a lamp or reptile light which makes looking after her a lot easier. She just needs to be warm. She has got loose occasionally and is quite cold but when she gets cold she just slows down and doesn't move very well. She has got loose a few times but we have managed to find her quickly because she crawl into the toy box which is what the vivarium is resting on.

                    At the bottom of her cage is small wooden chippings which are good for her bed because they keep warm and she can crawl over them easily. She has a large bowl around 3 inch deep with water inside. If she gets too hot she crawls inside to cool off and she also drinks from here too. We have a few logs for her to hide under and a large kind of branch which she crawls onto. We also have an imitation tree which shelters her too.

                    Snakes like to hide a lot. She has often crawled right under the wooden chippings and we then think she has escaped but shes just hiding there. Snakes can't close their eyes so to sleep they go into a trance and so you need to be careful not to frighten them. They will go for you if you make sudden movements but ours is tame now. Every 6-8 weeks she shed her skin to grow. Speedy has just shed and the skin was left in the cage in one long sausage like bit. Her eyes go white when she sheds and she's off her food for the time until she's totally shed.

                    A great pet which is unusual. Snakes are very sweet and when you hold them they curls around your hands. They have a lot of muscle so can hold on very well. Well worth the cost. My snake was £90 with the tank but was only 4 weeks old when purchased. I have put her into a bigger tank which cost £125 with all the bits needed. Snake are easy to look after and food costs cheaper than a cat would cost to feed. Fluffs cost £3 for 10 and as she's eating three per week lasts almost a month.

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                      10.12.2004 11:59
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                      I bought a boa constrictor - a baby one - and what a lovely pet it was to have. In honesty, i have never been frightened of much of anything and looked on Cassie, as i called her, as a new challenge. However, what the pet shops don't tell you is, there is one heck of a lot of work attached to these reptiles. First, i bought her a wooden log for her to sit under- which was recommended by the shop, this was blighted with some form of mite and yes, you have probably guessed by now.....she got them! It took me months of bathing and using chemicals to get them off. Then because she had had this setback, she became ill and wasn't growing properly. Her sheds were dirty - which means all the skin does not come off in a oner - and she was very lethargic. After speaking to an online specialist, i discovered she had not been getting enough vitamins and had not been getting big enough frozen mice - all news to me as the pet shop , who will remain unnamed, had let me take the snake with a minimum of knowledge. It's funny how instinct kicks in when you have a pet, but i started to follow what i thought would be good for her - obviously with any hard facts i could glean as well - and before long she was thriving. One thing a snake loves is being chucked under the chin, this was an instinctual move for me, but i later found out this is something they enjoy.
                      If you are squeamish, don't get a snake because they have to feed and to be honest, this was one activity i was none to fond of. They go like lightning when they strike their prey and often get carried away with squeezing the mice and then the mice burst and you have a lovely rainbow covered vivarium, yuck!
                      Always make sure whatever type of vivarium you have is well secured - they are great escape artists.
                      Despite having a great relationship between her and i, she still bit me when she was almost 3 years old. A friend of mine who was rather nervous of her had bobbed their hand in and out a few times with the purpose of catching her and bringing her out. I then took over and that was when she attacked. I was left with a bleeding hand, after the 200+ teeth had withdrawn and all i can liken a snake bite to is like having hundreds of bits of fibreglass garting on your nerves in your hand. Was it agony?? No, it wasn't! This proved she was good natured as she had only done this once in all the years i had her, so respect and confidence is a requirement in snake handling.
                      I don't have Cassie now as she got to nearly 7 feet - still not fully grown - and she was sooooo heavy and as nobody else would touch her, i wasn't able to any more due to the weight of her. I missed her unique character and went back to see her and she recognised me - weird or what.
                      It was a joy to have her, but be aware snakes need a lot of attention. They need their skin bathed, the vivarium cleaned..a lot!! Their diet has to be at the right level for their growth. And they need a lot of human contact. Always get a book about a snake you are going to buy, that way you will have at least a grounding on what is right and wrong to do, don't rely on the scanty details you get from a pet shop. Snakes deserve to be looked after as well as any other living creature

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                      24.08.2004 19:14
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                      This is the first thing I ask people to bear in mind when buying a snake- The python has, and I fib no fibs, 318 pairs of ribs. In stating this I place reliance on a séance with one who died for science. This figure is sworn to and attested; He counted them while being digested. The second thing I ask people to remember when talking about pet snakes is that they are not talking about mammals. A snake is not a dog or cat that will learn its owner?s personality and become its best friend?we are aliens to snakes, they are a completely different order of animal. No matter how tame a snake may become, you may never trust it. This isn?t a problem if your pet is s corn snake or a little ball python, but it becomes more of a problem if you have a Burmese or Rock python. I have never kept any large snakes, I have not had the space, but I have looked after many, including a fifteen-foot rock python, an eighteen-foot Indian Python and a surly 24-foot ?Retic? (reticulated python), and these are not animals to be toyed with. If you?ve ever had a pet that didn?t take to you to well, imagine a hamster that bit or a cat that scratched, multiply that by a few thousand times the size and imagine what a bad tempered 20-foot serpent is like to look after. I don?t really believe any reptile should be kept as a pet, perhaps with a few exceptions in the form of skinks, bearded dragons and geckos, which take well to captivity, perhaps due to proximity to humans in the wild (skinks often take up residence in Ozzie gardens). I often rescue reptiles, adopt them from centres and take them from people who can no longer look after them. But I do not have the arrogance or pretence to say I can give them a happy life?sadly these animals cant ever be released once they have been tamed, but I can look after them to the best of my ability. As for giant snakes, no one should have the arrogance to believe they can look after a powerful, beautiful and
                      potentially lethal creature like this. Ask yourself why you really want a snake. A snake is not a pet?you cant cuddle it and it won?t learn to come to your voice. It?s not even that interesting a pet to have, they don?t move or do much except when eating?and attacking. They may come to tolerate being handled, but likely they will never enjoy it. If you want a friendly reptile then choose a gecko, skink or bearded dragon, I can give you no better advice. There are hundreds of very unusual, interesting creatures that also make much better pets?frogs, salamanders, hedgehogs, degu's, ferrets, sugar gliders, chinchillas?all these creatures make curious, fascinating pets that love being cuddled (well, except frogs and salamanders) and won?t mistake you for breakfast. If you are dead set on a pet snake, take into consideration these factors- -Snakes, no matter what size, are not to be trusted. They cannot be tamed fully like mammals. Even if they do not intend to hurt you, their poor eyesight can result in them mistaking your hand for a mouse or rat. For this reason you should not have a snake of any size in the house with a young child. -Snakes won?t get along with other pets. An eight-foot snake could easily devour a cat or small dog, so bear this in mind, keep your snake away from other animals. -Respect that many people are terrified of snakes. Never use your pet to frighten another person. If you do you are the reason people think snakes are evil, and its OK to stone rattlesnakes to death in roundups and skin snakes alive to make purses. -You are responsible for your snake?s welfare for its entire life. Just to let you know, this can be twenty years or more. What happens if you outgrow that cool reptile you bought in your teens? What do you do with it? What about if you go on holiday? -You must provide enough room for your snake. The recommendation is to never keep a snake in a tank less than its full length
                      . I think that?s very cruel?I would never keep a snake in a tank less than twice its full length, and much more if I could provide it. -Snakes require heated vivarium set-ups. This will not be easy on your electric bill. -The size of snake you can reasonably keep as a pet (up to ten feet at the most is reasonable, I?d say) will require frozen mice, rats, chicks and baby rabbits as food. Do you have the heart to feed your pet things like this? If not, you could always get a fish-eating snake like a garter or water snake, but without exception, they stink to high heaven, and egg-eating snakes are too delicate for beginners. Choosing a species of snake There are two fundamental things I consider imperative when choosing the type of snake you wish to buy- 1. The snake must remain a manageable size. I consider this to be ten feet, as this would still allow you to keep an impressive animal like a boa constrictor. However, I wouldn?t suggest anything over five feet for a beginner. Boa Constrictors can actually make good pets if you have the time and patience to tame them, but I wouldn?t recommend them as a first or second snake. Giant snakes (twelve foot plus) should be out of the question for EVERYONE, including people who call themselves experts. More about that later. 2. The snake must be captive breed. The import of wild specimens from overseas is extremely unethical. A wild-born snake will never adjust to captivity, and the import of wild animals is ruining the ecosystem and the animals themselves (they often die from stress, parasites or from fighting with other animals). They will also be much harder to tame and will bite freely. My first choice for a beginner would be either a corn snake or a king snake. If you could ever call a species of snake ?domesticated?, it would be the corn snake. They are beautiful orange and black snakes that reach 5 feet maximum, however these days you can get them in a baffling
                      array of colour mutations including snow corns, butter corns and ghost corns. Corns are attractive, gentle and tame snakes that are relatively easy to feed so long as you don?t mind feeding them mice. As for kingsnakes, the Floridian and Californian variety are attractive, not too hard to tame, small (3-4 feet) and are voracious feeders. For a slightly more adventurous first owner I might recommend a ball python, also known as a royal python. These are beautiful and gentle creatures, which reach four feet, the only real problem is they can be finicky feeders, make sure and get a baby that?s feeding. With a ball python, you get the beauty and look of the big pythons (they have similar markings to Burmese pythons and are heavy-bodied so look large), so if you really want an impressive looking snake its not a bad first choice. Read up on the species you like the look of, and don?t choose anything that will be hard to feed or maintain, grows large or is bad tempered as a first snake. Where to get a snake The only place you should get a reptile from should be a rescue centre. You can still get young snakes here if that?s what your after, but there are already too many abandoned snakes to justify buying from a breeder. However, make sure the snake is healthy with no diseases; an ill snake needs more expert care than you can give. Please do not buy from a breeder. If you really care about the welfare of these fascinating creatures, you would much rather rehome an animal that needs it, rather than choose a baby who will likely go to a good home (most people who buy reptiles these days are a lot more knowledgeable than they used to be). Choosing a healthy snake Choose a snake that has clear, firm skin, which should be nice and shiny, a rounded body shape, clean vent and eyes, and which flicks its tongue a lot when held. Any injuries or missing bits of skin may suggest a wild caught animal, and take a close look for mites (which will a
                      ppear as little red dots running around on the skin). Expect a bit of nervousness when held but don?t choose a snake that bites viciously or wriggles too much. Ask to see the snake eating, and don?t be fobbed off by any excuses about the snake having eating. Corn snakes and most Kings are generally real pigs, but some other species of snakes, particularly boids (boas and pythons) might be picky feeders, and that?s the last thing you need. If you choose a ball python, it is IMPERATIVE to see it eating. One or more Generally its best to keep one snake to a tank. Snakes often fight and/or eat each other in captivity, and no matter how big the tank there wont be enough room to establish territories. In particular lizard-eating snakes should be kept alone as they will happily eat others of their species. These include king snakes, milk snakes and water snakes. Some snakes may be kept in pairs, such as ball pythons, but its still best to keep them solitary. As for snake breeding, its too complex a thing to go into in this review, also, you shouldn?t be thinking of doing it, there are too many pet reptiles in the world as it is, don?t add to the existing problem. Setting up home Find out the individual requirements for your snake and cater to them as well as you can. If you snake is arboreal, provide lots of height and fill it with sturdy branches and rocks to climb, if it?s a desert snake, it will prefer more barren surroundings. Provide as big a cage as you can for the snake. Most boas and pythons are fairly lazy, so may require less space. Its up to you to find out the space you need for the snake. For a snake its best to buy a tank made specifically for reptiles. Unfortunately fish tanks usually don?t have very snug fitting lids, and snakes are real escape artists, especially garters and kings, and ball pythons, which are very strong for their size. Make sure the tank has a snug fitting lid or a lockable door to prevent escapees. D
                      on?t start your baby off in the tank it will have as a full-grown adult, you need to buy proportionately sized cages until it grows up?this is going to be a great expense, especially if you have a boa constrictor. For bedding, use newspaper until the snake is settled and feeding well, then you can use bark chips if you wish. Don?t use shaving or sawdust as they can get stuck in the mouth and in scales. Astroturf is an ideal solution for a reptile enclosure, have two or three bits of the right size, when a piece is soiled, remove and wash and replace with another! Easy, and stops the bedding bills getting too high! Every tank needs a hide for when the snake wants to be away from prying eyes, and also to get out of the heat. It must be big enough for the snake to curl its entire body inside, something to consider when you buy a Burmese python! Snakes aren?t really very active animals, but add things to the cage for their interest anyway, rocks and sturdy branches (glued in place if necessary), especially for tree-living snakes. Snakes should have a nice big water bowl. A lot of snakes like to soak so if you can make it big enough for the snake to get its entire body in, so much the better. Of course, this will be its drinking water too so remember to change it at least twice a day. Make sure and read up on your species habitat requirements. For example, garters need a big bowl to soak in, or better still, a terrarium cage (which will have a pool for swimming plus dry land), and arboreal snakes really appreciate being able to climb branches whilst in the cage. Heating the tank and humidity Snake tanks must be heated, obviously seeing as snakes tend to come from hot countries. The temperature will usually depend on where the snake is from, so you need to read up on this. You can buy heat-mats, which go under the tank, or you can buy ceramic bulb heaters. Either way, situate the heater at one side of the
                      tank so there is a cooler part of the tank the snake can go to cool down?a heat mat should be around half the size of the tank. At nighttime the temperature must drop a little. Stick two thermometers on either side of the cage to monitor the temperature. Snakes will also have humidity requirements, according to where they?re from?desert snakes will require very dry air, rainforest snakes will obviously need heavy, moist air. Adding water features, special moss or simply misting the tank a few times a day can achieve this. Some snakes have quite critical requirements for humidity and getting them wrong can be fatal. Feeding The majority of snakes that can be kept as pets in captivity will eat rats and mice, some readily, others reluctantly. Water snakes will eat fish, amphibians, lizards and worms, there is an egg-eating snake, one or two species will eat insects and large snakes obviously need larger prey. If you were insane to keep a reticulated python or anaconda, you are looking at feeding it whole pigs. Ten-foot boas will eat large rats and perhaps rabbits and chickens too. If this is going to make you squeamish then forget about a pet snake. Snakes can be prone to regurgitating meals; this can be due to tank temperature, or feeding prey that is too large. The rule is never to feed an item wider than the thickest part of the snake?s body. As I?ve said, the vast majority of snakes, corns, kings, milks, small boas and pythons will eat mice and rats, depending on size. Many snakes are reptile eaters in the wild and it can be hard to persuade captives to eat mice, although if they are captive bred its not as big a problem. Most of them will be persuaded eventually. You can buy special scents, such as ?lizard maker? that give the food the scent of the animal the snake would normally eat, this makes them more likely to feed. Also, using forceps to make the food animal move and look alive can have an effect, which leads me
                      to the next point? NEVER feed your snake live prey. Prey animals are killed humanely; sticking live ones in a cage with a snake is NOT humane. Also, if the snake isn?t hungry, there?s the chance the prey animal will actually hurt the snake?there are cases of rats and mice killing small pet snakes. Always use forceps to place the food in the cage. Snakes have poor eyesight and when they smell a mouse they will not be able to distinguish from your fingers and their lunch. If you snake isn?t feeding seek an expert, there are various tactics to encourage feeding, but NEVER force-feed snakes. Most first pet species feed well, except some ball pythons, which can be tricky. Smaller snakes should be fed two to three times a week; large snakes are usually fed once a week, it will depend on the individual species and the size of the prey. Handling At first, get your snake used to your hand being in the cage. It may be a good idea to wear a bitter apple type scent to stop the snake seeing your hand as a mouse. Always wash your hands before and after handling snakes, especially if you?ve been handling snake food or other pet animals. When it doesn?t run away or hiss when your hand is in the cage, run a finger down its body until it gets used to that. When it seems quiet enough, pick it up somewhere around the middle. Keep your hands in the cage while handling at first, the snake will probably try and do a runner. When it seems tame enough you can bring it right out. The normal way to hold a full-grown snake is hold the coils, looped loosely in one hand, the head will usually be slithering somewhere up your other arm. Once very tame, larger snakes may be allowed to roam your house a little, so long as other pets are out of the way. Smaller snakes are a difficulty in this respect, because of Houdini tendencies and them being very easy to lose. It?s not uncommon for them to get stuck in the space underneath doors or end up in
                      washing machine pipes, or in the backs of sofas. Snakes of all kinds will enjoy a quick dip every week or two, this can be a bath, bucket or large basin depending on the snake?s size. Don?t make the water too deep and keep an eye on the snake at all times. Veterinary care Before you get your snake find a vet that is experienced in handling reptiles. A specialist reptile vet is even better. Get your snake checked out once you get it, the vet will check for parasites and such-like, and make sure the snake gets a check-up every year or so. It?s also a good idea to insure your snake in case it needs expensive vet care or bites someone. If a snake bites you A constricting snake, if it sees you as food, will bite you and then begin to coil around you. The advice is to start unwrapping the snake by the tail, and then pour alcohol in its mouth. You would as the question what if you don?t have alcohol handy? Just always make sure you do. This procedure will work well with a small to medium sized snake. My best advice if you have a large snake is to NEVER handle it alone, and keep something hard to bonk it on the head with if it bites. Now, for the warning Only five species of constricting snake get large enough to pose a serious threat to human life. These are the Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), the Amethystine Python (Morelia amethistina), the Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus), the Indian Python (Python molurus--the Burmese python P. m. bivittata is a subspecies of the Indian) and the African Rock Python (Python sebae). Only two of these, the Burmese and the Reticulated, are commonly found in the pet trade. The Reticulated python can reach a maximum length of over 30 feet; the Burmese python can reach lengths up to 20 feet. The common Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor) has never been demonstrated to have ever killed a human being, but it can reach adult lengths near ten feet and can sometimes be difficult and un
                      safe to handle. A giant and potentially lethal python, no matter how gentle-natured is NOT a pet. Don?t be fooled by the fact that your Burm can happily live loose in your house, or you can feed him ready-to-roast chickens from the supermarket, this is a wild beast and will ALWAYS remain so, no matter what you do. Giant snakes MUST have an enclosure and be kept in it at all times. They mustn?t roam the house, ESPECIALLY if you are sleeping. When it comes to Burmese pythons, if handled correctly as babies, they usually make gentle full-size snakes, however, they remain what they are, monster predators. The vast majority of deaths involving pet snakes are caused by owner stupidity. There have been cases of snakes as small as eight-foot killing fourteen-year-old boys of five foot. These snakes shouldn?t be kept by private keepers, no matter how experienced people think they are when it comes to snakes. A rock python is not a suitable pet no matter how well you think you can care for it. The majority of attacks seem to happen to young men who are drunk at the time. Let that be a lesson. Here are some stories to hopefully scare you off- A woman awoke one morning to find her eight-foot boa constrictor had eaten her terrier dog. Another woman awoke one morning to find her boa constrictor had swallowed her left leg up to the knee. A fourteen-year-old five-foot tall boy was killed by his eight-foot snake. An eight foot snake is far to big for the snake to digest and the snake must have known this, which begs the question why did it kill the boy? A young man was killed whilst handling his Burmese python whilst intoxicated. No matter how experienced you are, you are never a match for the strength and cunning of one of these animals, so don?t be arrogant enough to assume you are. A large python can coil itself around you simply as a matter of holding on, in other words, it can actually kill you by accident?that?s excluding t
                      he cases where it becomes vicious or mistakes you for food. If you want a large, beautiful and impressive animal, buy a boa constrictor or a rainbow boa. NEVER buy a Retic, anaconda, Indian or Rock python. If you still want one- Here are some commonly kept snake species, and their suitability as pets marked 1-5 (one being very unsuitable). Suitable ?pets? Rosy boas- 4. Small and tame, but only feed SMALL prey (no bigger than widest part of the body), as they are prone to regurgitation of larger meals. Spotted/Children?s python- 4. Small, gentle and easy to feed. Carpet python- 4. Susceptible to respiratory problems, so keep the tank well aired. Royal/Ball python- 3. Gentle, lovely snakes. Easy to look after if you get a good feeder. Kingsnakes and milksnakes- 4. With a few exceptions, most are good feeders, tame and easy to care for. Choose a Florida, Blotched, Desert or Californian to start off. Corn snakes- 5. As good a first snake as you can get. Gopher and pine snakes- 3. Some are rather large but if you get a captive bred they should be tame and feeding well. House snakes- 4. Among the best beginners snakes. Only for those with experience -Common and red-tail boa constrictors- 2. Grow very large (females to twelve foot), although are usually fairly tame. Remember a snake of this size, however, can easily eat a small child or large dog. -Tree boas (Amazonian, green, Solomon island etc)- 2. Small but vicious, with complicated vivarium requirements. -Sand boas-3. Can be tricky feeders. -Rainbow boas- 2.5. Beautiful but can be aggressive and picky feeders. -Chondros and other tree pythons- 2. Beautiful but irascible snakes that readily bite. -Rat snakes- really depends on what sort you fancy. Great plains, Baird?s, or Trans Pecos make good second snakes. Avoid Texas rats, they have bad tempers. -Bullsnakes- 3. Large and can be aggressive, but usually tame down
                      . -Whipsnakes- 2. Very active snakes that are hard to tame and need a lot of space. -Egg eaters- 2.Hard to feed, they need a steady supply of SMALL eggs, such as quail or finch eggs. -Garter and water snakes-2. Generally easy to care for, but ready biters who escape easily. Don?t even think about it Green snakes- 1. Hard to breed in captivity so are usually wild-caught, as a result scared, nippy and hard to feed and care for. -Anaconda- 0. This monster can reach lengths of 30 feet, and are as thick as tree trunks. Very dangerous. -Reticulated python- 0. See anaconda. Although slimmer than Ana?s, they can reach the same or greater length, and aren?t known for their sweet temperament. -Burmese/Indian python- 0. Usually reach 15 feet but can reach 22. They are generally gentle snakes but are far too large and risky for private keepers anyway. -African Rock Python- 0. I took care of one of these beasts of 16 feet. Much less gentle than the Burmese and far too large to be a pet. A shame as they are stunningly beautiful snakes. Venomous snakes- 0. Some venomous snakes such as parrot snakes, western hog-nosed snakes and false water cobras are very mildly venomous and can?t do much harm, but in my opinion a poisonous snake is a poisonous snake, and they should be left well alone. Up til recently the venomous mangrove snake was considered harmless, until some ?incidents? that resulted in it being added to the list of animals, which require a license to be kept privately. Conclusion I hope I?ve put anyone who wants a snake off them by writing this review. Even small, tame snakes aren?t really pet animals; even the simplest species require special care and careful handling. As for the giant snakes, keeping them in captivity is just incredibly stupid, no matter how experienced you think you are and how tame you think your python is. I?ve rescued countless snakes; most of them terrified and in terrible condition
                      , by people who just cant care for them, or couldn?t be bothered how to find out how to look after them properly. Fortunately the trend in reptile pets has quieted down and most people who kept them now are knowledgeable in their care, but the question remains if they should be kept at all.

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                        13.06.2002 18:52
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                        I was recently lucky enough to acquire a very large and rather exotic looking snake. A very close friend gave it to me. He thought it would give me endless hours of pleasure. He wasn't wrong! I am loving it! I have been carrying out exhaustive research, spending every night trying out all the things that might make the little chap happy and comfortable. I want to give my new pet pleasure, make him feel at home, make him feel wanted and cosseted, so that he will grow bigger and bigger and be around to give me pleasure in return for many years to come. My snake is a rare breed, a Rosy Headed Night Burrower. It is quite long, and has a surprisingly thick girth. It feels heavy and quite substantial when taken in the hands. It also feels quite firm, smooth and dry and not at all slimy (although snakes often appear wet and clammy-looking at first glance). The skin feels incredibly soft when you stroke it, particularly around the head (they love it when you do that!). Despite being very large, beautiful and exotic looking, it is actually a domestic snake, hailing from North of the border. It is often found in suburban Scottish gardens, although it is very shy and rarely seen out of hiding. You have probably heard the name, as it is quite well-known, but have probably never seen its picture. It is a gorgeous specimen and I can’t think of any other I would rather have. So, not all of our domestic snake species are small, pale and uninteresting, I can tell you! If you look hard enough, it is possible to find large, impressive specimens within the British Isles. *****General Rules for Selecting Your Ideal Snake*****  Wild-caught adult males generally make unsuitable pets because they resist taming. Snakes need to be tamed and treated correctly in order to stop them straying.  Avoid selecting a snake belonging to a species that is notoriously difficult to keep in capti
                        vity, or unable to settle with one owner.  Avoid snakes that spend most of their time hiding or burrowing. Sometimes you want to get them out and handle them, stroke them or just enjoy their company.  If you intend to regularly handle the snake, however, you must be able to do so with minimal stress and injury to both the snake and yourself. Be sure you choose a species that enjoys, and can cope with, long periods of close attention without spitting or striking. There is nothing worse than a snake that spits, loses interest or disappears the moment you want to get it out and have a play. *****Types of Snake*****  Family LEPTOTYPHLOPIDAE (slender blind snakes). These are generally regarded as the most primitive snakes. They have a burrowing lifestyle and are uninterested in anything outside of their burrow. Their slender girth and pale and uninteresting appearance, coupled with their lack of interest in the world outside their burrow, make them unsuitable for captivity, and unlikely to give their keeper any pleasure whatsoever.  Family BOIDAE (boas and pythons) These are giant snakes and coil themselves around their victims, pressuring them, surrounding them, never letting them escape and squeezing the life out of them. Leave these in the wild!  COLUBRIDAE (colubrid snakes) These are typical snakes with more than 2,000 species world-wide. They are average sized, spend some time outdoors, although they occasionally enjoy a good burrow, are generally reasonably tolerant to handling, and are popular pets with herpetologists (snake lovers). Species include: the Glossy Headed Snake (a beautiful shiny, distinctive purple colour); the much smaller Worm Snake (not very rewarding); the Common Rat Snake (to be avoided if possible, it will bring you nothing but grief); the Night Snake (good fun but not so good if you like activity in the daytime); the Cat Eye
                        Snake (recognisable by its elongated elliptical eye); the Queen Snake (avoid this too, particularly if you require a snake for breeding purposes); the Brown Snake (native to warm countries where it often spends large amounts of time out in the open without covering), and finally, the Green Rough Snake (avoid this too, as it carries viruses and fungus which could be passed on).  Cobras These are a hooded variety of snakes. The “hood” of skin draws back when the snake becomes excited and is about to “spit”.  Vipers These include rattlesnakes and are characterised by scaly heads and elliptical eyes. They have a complex tube system, which delivers long spurts of venom, which can cover some considerable distance. *****Your Snake’s Physical Needs***** Snakes require a very specialised habitat if they are to grow and thrive. Snakes will use both the horizontal and vertical space within their enclosure if provisions are made for this activity. They like to move up and down and in and out with regularity if allowed to do so. Avoid enclosures with large holes as snakes repeatedly attempt to escape. Any enclosure used must be top-heavy, to make it escape proof. Your snake is more likely to stay put if you have a big top. All snakes are potential escape artists and many (especially the California King snakes) can slip out of even the most secure enclosure. Snakes enjoy it when their environment is draped with natural items, such as silk or cotton. They find this much more interesting than large expanses of bare landscape spread out before them with nothing to investigate and no hidden little nooks and crannies. It is very important to provide some privacy for a captive snake. Many snakes will not thrive without the privacy afforded by some degree of visual security. This can be accomplished by providing a "hide box" into which the snake can re
                        treat when privacy is desired. This “box” should be a tight, dark, warm space if the snake is to feel at home there. If the box is too big, or used by more than one snake, your snake will not be satisfied and will look elsewhere for comfort. The tongue is a highly sensitive and useful organ and is often used to probe the box and check its suitability, heat and humidity levels before the snake enters. The box should be surrounded by lush vegetation to provide visual security for the snake. The snake likes its private area to be hidden from view and the vegetation also helps to keep up warmth and humidity in the private area. Heat and high relative humidity are essential to promote burrowing behaviour. Snakes become more active when they are hot but care should be taken not to overheat their sensitive flesh. Unprinted newsprint, butcher paper, paper towels, terrycloth towels and indoor-outdoor carpeting can be used under the enclosure to prevent spillage and mess. Most snakes enjoy having a suitably sized container for immersing themselves and soaking. The vessel should be roomy enough to allow adequate soaking. *****Feeding Your Snake***** Snakes prefer warm or hot-blooded prey. Hot-blooded prey gives off scents during the chase, which stimulate the snake, build its appetite and keep its interest on the hunt. Some snakes, however, prefer their prey to be dead (ewwwwwww). The frequency at which your snake needs to be satisfied is individual to species. Some may require satisfaction more often than others, whilst many may go for extended amounts of time between sessions. You will learn to spot the signs when your own personal snake is hungry. It might rub against you, stand upright and make bobbing movements with its head, bang itself repeatedly against the entrance to its enclosure, or even slip quietly into its burrow without you noticing. These ar
                        e all good indications that your snake needs seeing to. *****Shedding***** Shedding is the process by which snakes periodically discard their outer layer of skin. The underlying new skin is soft, delicate, sensitive to stimulus and vulnerable to damage while the outer layers prepare to slough away, so be very gentle as the skin begins to pull back and do not be tempted to tug it hard. A snake will make use of any rough objects or surfaces within its enclosure to help dislodge the outer skin, rubbing repeatedly against ribbed or rippled surfaces. Shedding commences with the skin of the head. Once the snake has loosened and dislodged the skin surrounding the tip, it then seeks tight channels to pass through, which trap the loose skin and hold it as the snake glides out. Many snakes defecate after a successful shed, or consume large quantities of drink and sleep. ******Snakes and Sex****** Snakes under 18 inches long can usually be sexed by exerting gentle pressure on the tissues surrounding the vent. This kind of manipulation will make the genitalia engorged and much easier to spot. The widely accepted method for sexing most snakes over 18 inches in length requires specialised sexing probes. These elongated, blunt-tipped instruments are gently inserted into the vent and directed toward the tail. This procedure should only be attempted by experienced handlers, but snakes of this size are much more rare and you are unlikely to come across them unless you advertise specifically for an extra-large specimen. *****Final Care Tips***** Snakes must be housed in scrupulously clean enclosures so as not to encourage fungal (mould) growth. Keep your snake as clean as possible, paying particular attention to the head and eye areas and if possible, pull back shedding skin and wash the flesh beneath it carefully. Snakes become bored easily without suitable stimul
                        us. Try to keep them interested with play, regular exercise and lots of care and attention. Get them out often and see to their needs. Keep their enclosure clean and fresh to avoid illness and bad smells. If properly stimulated, your snake can go on for a long time. If kept happy, snakes can be very active right through into old age. In fact, older specimens are more stable, less likely to bolt, easier to please and need less attention, whilst still being able to keep you happy and satisfied. I hope these tips have been useful to you and have prompted you to consider getting a snake of your own. They can be temperamental and difficult to care for, I know, but in the right hands they can provide a great deal of joy and satisfaction. Oh, and do give your snake a name. I call mine Big Frankie. What will you call yours? I hope you enjoyed my little taste of snakes. Please do give snake husbandry a try. If you don’t like it, or become bored of it, you can always pass your snake on to a friend or work colleague. Stroking a pet regularly is medically proven to lower blood pressure and help maintain a healthy heart, so why not stroke a snake – it’s much more fun than stroking your pussy. Oh, and the name for snake lovers is Herpetologists, but please don’t do what I did and go to the Herpes Clinic for advice on keeping snakes – because that is something entirely different, as I found out, to my embarrassment! Enjoy your snake!

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                          25.02.2002 19:34
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                          • "once you have one you want more"

                          This opinion won't be too popular I don't imagine and really I do understand for those of you that may hate it. I grew up in a family that thought snakes were about the worst creature you could come across. The word was rarely even spoken!So naturally I picked up the fear of snakes. Now that I am older and wiser(ha ha)I have taken a closer look at them and can even see the beauty in them.Of course my family think I have gone over the edge! Maybe so,maybe so! About 4 years ago I was in a pet shop looking at some baby cornsnakes(behind glass) and the lady of the shop asked if I would like to hold one! I was out the door very fast making some silly excuse why I had to go. But every week as I went to get my bird seed I would linger by the snakes and watching them.The shop lady seemed to understand and begain telling me about them and even got one out to show me how harmless they were. I would stand(about 15 feet away) and watch it wrap its little body around her beautifully manicured fingers.She had no fear so why did I? Eventually I gave in and bought "corndog" and was completely terrified of my new baby! I even wore gloves when I had to clean the cage or change the water bowl.He looked so sad and lonely I began taking him out,gloved hands shaking all the while. I wonder what the poor snake was thinking of this weird human? The gloves finally came off after a while as it became silly even to me. And he would happily climb all around my fingers. He even learned to eat frozen food as I just could not stand seeing a live pinkie be eaten! One by one I added to my snake family and now have 17. Not all cornsnakes but most of them are and all the beautiful colors! Each one is different.Everytime a reptile show comes to our area I am there! I always get the same reaction,"You don't look like a snake person" or else "but you look like such a nice lady" this always makes
                          me laugh for some reason. The true test came last year while at a snake show this one snake man thought he would scare the "nice lady" and put his boa around my shoulders! I think my heart may have stopped but I didn't let on for a minute to his surprise.He just stood with his mouth open as I talked to the snake and ran my hands over its warm velvety body. No, they aren't slimy or cold and quite pleasant to feel.If you ever have the chance to touch one,just even with one finger, I think you will be in for a surprise. I am not trying to convert anyone to being a snake owner just giving my opinion about them and saying how glad I am to be over my fear of snakes.

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                            18.12.2001 22:39
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                            I keep many snakes but not as pets. Snakes are never going to be a cute cuddly little friend that you can enjoy, conversely they are evil and vile I of course you should remember that Satan was cursed to be a serpent, moving on his belly eating dust-is that your idea of a pet? I keep snakes because they are an integral part of any true believers worship services. And God has ordained, in his holy scriptures that believers are to take up snakes to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is manifest in them. Behold I give unto you the power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing by any means shall hurt you. Luke 10:19 By my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them. Mark 16:17-18. See it is quite clear, the Lord shows that his true disciples will have the power over serpents and it is also clear that the serpents referred to are venemous or at least dangerous snakes. That is why I keep several Timber Rattlers, four Copperheads and a recently acquired King Cobra. I also have, but never employ in my services a Burmese python and several garter snakes. I also have a snake that I can only describe in my native Afrikaans as a Boomslang. Now of course the Lord has instructed us to use dangerous snakes to demonstrate as true followers of Christ that lethal snakes can not harm us so it would do little good to bring out tame friendly housebroken snakes at services. So it is very important to keep ones serpents mean. I accomplish this by keeping them hungry and agitated. I leave them in a big box all together and I leave them in a room with lights above, below and to each side of the box. I also try to annoy they by keeping some rubber mice in a cage with my sons hamster and then I throw the rubber mice in there and it makes them very onery. I also do this trick with rubber sn
                            akes. Now don't get me wrong I let them eat whenever the neighbors neglect to abide the local ordinances for keeping their numerous cats or dogs on leashes. Although the holy scriptures do not give us concise guidance on the matter of cats I feel that it is an evil animal that eagerly has participated in a major role in the occult from Egypt to Salem to the modern day. It is fine to feed cats to serpents. I do not really know what else should be addressed in this op, I have explained how to care for a serpent and how to use it as a pet. If you have any questions on keeping serpents feel free to post them in comments, and I have recommended scorpions to the site as a topic for me to write on. I guess another important topic is what to do when a heretic gets bitten by a snake. Basically very few snakes are actually lethal aside from the Water Moccasin and those demons that the Crocodile hunter plays with. (BTW I am discussing with my deacons the doctrine of using an alligator in services now that Florida has changed some of their laws to permit the capture of alligators. I am leaning towards being unable to do so, had Christ ordained that his disciples would be safe from Crocodiles we could have extrapolated that Alligators would be valid to use in worship service.) But if someone is not a believer and is bit by a serpent generally it requires medical attention and as a O type bloodgroup I am often called upon to give blood as I have had numerous chastisements from the Lord which resulted in me being bit several times to the point where my blood is chock full of antivenom. I have not been bitten since Helen Cowdry left our congregation and I no longer was filled with lust in my heart for Sister Helen. People basically get sick and throw up some and truthfully them little critters have a good set of sabers for teeth that leave a goodsized cut. Laugh all you want but I paid for that 70X14 Hillcrest we use for our temple from fees I g
                            et all over the country by giving my blood. I'll be working at Wal-mart as a greeter and the helly-copters will land right down in the parking lot between the buggies and come to take me to Memphis or Chattanooga or columbia to a hospital where they get my blood. I will tell you too, I know the Bible is clear on abstaining from the blood and I reckon most of the problems in the world today can be attributed by people ingesting life blood or getting aids from blood transfusions. But when it comes to life or death I feel obligated to allow my blood to be used to save lives, unless the victim is Roman Catholic. Instead of thinking about keeping a snake for a pet you should find a church that uses serpents for their proper purpose as God in Genesis gave Adam dominion over all creatures and we use the serpent to glorify him.

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                              03.06.2001 01:09
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                              I cant understand why people dont like snakes, mind you having said that I hate spiders and I suppose all spider lovers would say the same thing about me! Ive always loved snakes, they're lovely little (or not so little as the case may be!) creatures. Generally my first piece of advice BEFORE buying your first snake would be to read up a lot about them. Unlike with hamsters, mice, rabbits, and the likes, snakes simply dont have common sense care requirements. After you've read up about snakes in generally then maybe restrict your reading to one or two species' that you would like to keep. As a generally guide garter snakes are ideal for complete novices. On the whole they grow to around 2 feet long. Also they are generally very pretty looking snakes. They eat little fish (e.g. sprats), so are slightly different in that respect to most other snakes. If your after a slightly larger snake, then other beginners one's would be corn snakes. These generally grow to around 4 feet long, eat around 2-4 mice per week. If you're not keen on the idea of feeding live animals (like moi!) then dont worry, the purchase of dead animals is surprisingly simple! Most pet shops, well a few!, stock frozen mice, rats and rabbits for the larger snakes. Frozen animals are cheap (relatively) too, you can buy frozen mice for around 30p each, however it works out cheaper to buy a larger amount, as with most things in life! After you've decided on the type of snake you would like to keep, then comes the fun part! .....shopping!! If you take a trip down to your local Pets At Home or PetsMart then you'll be aware of the wide and varied choice of my all-time favourites, "Starter Kits". These, in my opinion are absolutely great. They, as the name suggests, provide near enough everything you require to get started on a certain pet. Currently on offer at PetsM
                              art are snake starter kits that have: A plastic tank, of about 1.5' x 1' x 1.5' (roughly), so only the smaller snakes could be kept, a lamp of some description (UV one), heat pad, astro turf type stuff, a water bath, a "guide to your first snake" booklet, plus vitamin & mineral supplements, a thermometer. You may also find other stuff included (it depends what offer is on from week to week). Generally though these starter kits are great. Ive had one for mice and hamsters, also for my fish - all of which have been excellent. On the whole these "Starter Kits" provide you with *most* of the equipment your ever likely to need at first for your chosen pet. So they make buying for a new pet particularly easy (however this doesnt mean you should skimp on the reading before-hand). However if you're after a large snake, then these are obviously not suitable! Snakes dont actually need *too* much room. Even though the average boa would look to need far more room than your average house bunny, it isnt necessarily the case. Snakes are generally quite happy with tanks that *appear* too small. (Dont let this be an excuse to buy a smaller tank though). After reading about your chosen snake then you should know what size your snake is likely to grow to, therefore be prepared to provide it with enough space. A few important things to think about before buying a snake: ~ Phobia's ~ Does everyone in your close family like, or at the least, not hate snakes? Personally I cant really see that this would pose a great problem. So long as at least 1 person (other than yourself!) does like them. After all if you end up in hospital for a few weeks, then who id going to look after your scaly friend?! If everyone has a problem with them, then im sure they wouldnt be too keen on having to feed/clean out/generally care for your friend!! ~ Escape artists ~ No m
                              atter what type of tank you choose, whether it be plastic or glass, make sure the lid is securely fitted. Snakes have long bodies - dont forget that simple, quite obvious, yet often forgotten fact! They could quite easily "climb" out of a tank! (and would be happy to do so!) ~ Danger ~ Ok, so maybe a 14' boa and your 2 year old toddler shouldnt be left alone together. I know its the things of nightmares this - but a boa COULD kill your child. No matter how "friendly" your snake is, it effectively is wild. I can understand the fact that us humans always think that "it will never happen to us" - but it *could* happen. [just something to bare in mind!] ~ Cleaning the vivarium ~ Snakes can and often do carry salmonella. Dont get too worried though! As long as you wear rubber gloves when cleaning the vivarium out then you should be fine, as well as washing your hands after handling your snake. All in all this isnt generally necessary - but if you want to be particularly safe then do carry out these procedures. ~ Holidays ~ This is one major disadvantage of having an unuasual pet, particularly one with which many people are petrified! Just what do you do with your pet when you go on holiday? If you dont live near to your family, your neighbours hate snakes, non of your friends like them.....and you dont see many "Snakery's" like cattery's or kennels do you!! One possibility is some sort of "pet sit" service. However check that they do deal with exotic animals before purchasing - just incase! After all of that - and you still want a snake!? Well if so, have fun! Befriend your little scaly mate, and have years of fascinating insights into the world of serpants!

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                                12.04.2001 03:39
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                                I have had snakes in the past, and if I got the oportunity to have another one I would be more then delighted. What devine pets they are. I get really irritated with people who see or hear the word snake and totally freak out, I mean what for? Okay they aren't cuddly, cute, soft, warm and they aren't the best company, BUT, they are exciting, full of fun and so interesing. I could sit for hours just watching my snakes and playing with them and they are really easy to handle if you are confident with them. It really depends on how large your snake is and what breed it is, but the average 'home' a single snake needs is a 60x30cm glass tank with a lid. They can either have sand or a 'fake' grass mat for the bottom of the tank. Obviously it depends on what snake you have, some prefer twigs and sticks in their tank, some prefer a little house to curl up in. They need fresh supply of water every day. Unfortunately most snakes eat live food, I used to have to catch ghekos for my snakes to eat (being in south africa there were plenty to catch) so it really depends.

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