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» October 2017

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  1. #1
    Registered User FearlessLeader's Avatar
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    Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Hi all, I do apologize in advance if this should've been submitted elsewhere.
    I've just gotten my first snake, he is a young male BP and I just adore him. I had wanted a snake, and after researching and debating between BP & corn snake...I saw this BP alone in a box. I walked back and forth between him and the large amount of brown blacks, who were larger and considerably cheaper. Still, I went with the Albino BP and I've named him Vladimir. I know he can't hear me, but I say "Hey vlad" whenever I walk into my bedroom [since bringing him home, I've only walked in my bedroom to go to sleep/check on his numbers].

    I have Vlad in a 15 gallon tank [large, I know]. I have blacked out 3 of 4 sides. I've cluttered it with two hides, one hot and one cool. A mid-sized water dish, an artificial plant hanging over one corner, and a piece of driftwood in the center. The left hand side of my tank is where I have a UTH, but I am a bit worried. When I probe my Hot spot, towards the bottom, it very slowly creeps up to only around 88-91 degrees F. So is my snake feeling it even cooler where he lays on the substrate? I am using Forest Floor. My humidity levels are perfect. My ambient air at first was leveling around 80 but has not stabilized (with no heat other than UTH) at 75F. After a long day, sick at work, I took the temps and ran to the pet store for a CHE. Its small, 50 watts. Its taken my tank to a nice 82F as I have a mesh lid. He is spending no time on the hot side of the tank. When I plugged the CHE in (about 24" directly above him, installed on cool side since its intended for ambient air and they do not bask) he emerged and brought his head toward the source like a thriving plant. I just love him. But was he cold?

    And for what it's worth, although I very briefly handled Vlad when I met him, and when I got home with him and setup, he just wanted to climb up my arm, not into his tank- I am suddenly really nervous to touch or pick him up. I want to put my hand into his enclosure, and then stroke his back so he knows I'm there. I don't know when I can touch him. Today (day 2 in my house) he entered his (cool) hide for the first time. He's only been in and out of his hot hide once that I've seen.

    I work 9-5 and I love the thought of Vlad being with me for many years as I'm 21! I want to provide Vlad with the highest possible quality of life. Am I doing anything wrong?

    The man who sold me Vlad (owner of exotic pet store, reputable in area)- told me that this coming Wednesday I should feed Vlad a "Fluffy mouse." He told me to feed him a live mouse and then switch to F/T, but will the live mouse injure him? He is pretty small yet. I feel very afraid of doing a bad job. Vlad has spent most of his time strolling in the dark and tucked away in a corner.

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  3. #2
    Registered User MmmBanana's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are doing everything right as long as your heat sources are regulated so they cannot over heat and injure Vlad.. As far as the hot side and UTH goes, people say they will burrow to get to the heat. 90F is what it should be. If you're worried, you can thin out the sub straight over the UTH. The UTH is really only gonna heat the glass its taped to. Its no really gonna heat the media. I Like to leave just a paper towel under the hide so the snake can be right against the glass pretty much.

    Also, Welcome to the forum! Do you have any pictures of Vlad? I really like Albinos!

  4. #3
    Registered User FearlessLeader's Avatar
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    Re: Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Thanks for your response and kind words, MmmBanana!!!

    Is it ok to take the substrate out from under his hide and have paper towel (2 layers) there? I think it'll help.

    I'm due to feed him for the very first time today. I have two fuzzy mice, will be feeding him F/T. I understand juveniles need more food as theyre growing, so if he snaps for the first mouse I will offer the second. If he doesn't show interest in it, I will leave it there and not even try to feed him a second (unless I come back into the room within 5 or 10 and he's eaten it.)

    I'm deciding to feed Vlad in his enclosure, as I really don't want to move him after he eats? Funny how people say to let them alone after a meal, yet will grab their snakes up from one tank to the next. I am a little fearful of him swallowing substrate, I watch ViperKeeper a lot on Youtube and he says that it isn't really a frequent occurrence, but I feel like a new mom right now. Everything has me asking questions.

    I apoligize if these photos don't look great- I just visited the thread on how to do this.

    I don't know just how old Vlad really is. The man who sold him to me wasn't keen on a real number. All I know is he is a young, skinny thing as of right now and I'm honored to be his new caregiver.

    Anyhow, here are the photos. You can see the difference between what the breeder told me to give Vlad (1 hide, water dish, nothing else, besides UTH)...and the setup I created for him. He loves climbing the bamboo branch late at night. Is he just interested in checking up on an escape route, or does he like being up there? Is this question even worth asking? Lol, I digress. I love Vlad's contrast!

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  6. #4
    Registered User Starscream's Avatar
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    I love those hides! Very pleasing to look at.

    I see you've got some stick-on dials to measure temps, are those your only thermometers? Unfortunately, those ones are notoriously inaccurate up to +-10 degrees, and the sticky adhesive on the back is known to come off and get stuck to snakes, which is less than ideal. I'd suggest getting digital thermometers, if you don't have them already.

    You mention moving things around for the UTH, which if this is his first feeding day with you, I'd recommend against. You want him to settle in without any handling for at least two days after the first feeding. That's the minimum -- a lot of folks will suggest only handling after 3 consecutive successful feedings to ensure that all is well before handling them. He'll figure it out if your setup's as it should be, and regulated with a thermostat to prevent possible burns.

    As for ingesting substrate, that only becomes a problem if your husbandry is off. They've survived in the wild for thousands of years without our help, getting dirt and who-knows-what all over their prey before they eat it, so a few pieces of substrate aren't going to hurt him.

    This is just a suggestion, but I'm seeing a lot of open space in the tank. I'd suggest putting in some leaf litter or fake plants from the dollar store to give your snake some added security. They're very keen on feeling things around them as they move, makes them feel safe and hidden.
    0.1 Red Axanthic Ball Python | Mazikeen

  7. #5
    Registered User FearlessLeader's Avatar
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    Re: Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Starscream, thanks a million!!! I've torn the stick-on thermometers out and made sure there is no adhesive residue where they were. I use a digital thermometer to probe his hot spot, i feel naive for assuming those dials would be okay. They were being used at the establishment i purchased my snake from, and now i feel disappointed with them, too.

    I have a digital thermometer, but Im afraid of leaving it in there all the time. It comes with suction cups, which I wouldn't feel exactly okay with slapping onto his hot spot. Vlad doesnt go in there much as far as i know.

    I cant thank you enough for answering- I'm going to add more cover in his tank, change my temperature setup... i was wondering, do the reflections frighten him? For instance, does he see himself and feel displeased? I may cover up more of the front of the tank...

    Won't be feeding him just yet- I feel so dumb for having to disturb him/stress him...But the temp is crucial. Going to better it and make sure its alright, and then feed him tomorrow instead.

  8. #6
    Registered User Starscream's Avatar
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    Re: Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Quote Originally Posted by FearlessLeader View Post
    Starscream, thanks a million!!! I've torn the stick-on thermometers out and made sure there is no adhesive residue where they were. I use a digital thermometer to probe his hot spot, i feel naive for assuming those dials would be okay. They were being used at the establishment i purchased my snake from, and now i feel disappointed with them, too.

    I have a digital thermometer, but Im afraid of leaving it in there all the time. It comes with suction cups, which I wouldn't feel exactly okay with slapping onto his hot spot. Vlad doesnt go in there much as far as i know.

    I cant thank you enough for answering- I'm going to add more cover in his tank, change my temperature setup... i was wondering, do the reflections frighten him? For instance, does he see himself and feel displeased? I may cover up more of the front of the tank...

    Won't be feeding him just yet- I feel so dumb for having to disturb him/stress him...But the temp is crucial. Going to better it and make sure its alright, and then feed him tomorrow instead.
    It's not something pet stores really seem to know/care much about -- they're usually a bit more focused on selling the thing than whether it's actually safe for the animals. Take "Repti Sand" and other "reptile" sands, for example. Not safe, will most assuredly cause impaction if ingested, but marketed as best substrate for arid species. Now, play sand and regular sand IS fine -- but that's because the consistency is very, very different than the sand most pet stores sell. I wouldn't use straight sand for a ball python either way, but I digress.

    Suction cups are fine -- no chance of it getting stuck to the snake whatsoever. From my experience, they don't usually use the hot side much, unless it's right after they've eaten, or in Maze's case, while she's in shed.

    Reflections -- doubtful. The few times I've had Maze in front of a mirror she poked around trying to figure out her 'reflection' for a few seconds before losing interest. I've seen setups where they've had mirrors instead of glass and the snakes have done just fine. It's arguable that they can even 'see' reflections, since their eyesight isn't always the best. What they would likely notice is the reflection of a heat signature, but again, doubtful that that would bother them within their own enclosure. Having one side of the tank open for viewing is also fine -- I just noticed what looks like insulation (?) on the sides in your pictures, and that's perfect.

    You said you got Vlad on Sunday? I'd wait until next Sunday to try to feed him, especially since you'll be messing with things. Some snakes will handle intrusions better than others, but for now it's best to give him space once things are where they should be. Also, on prey size -- it depends entirely on weight or the thickest part of the body. Even if Vlad is particularly young, the smallest he should be eating is an adult mouse or a rat fuzzy. Mouse fuzzies are far, far too small for a ball python.
    0.1 Red Axanthic Ball Python | Mazikeen

  9. #7
    Registered User FearlessLeader's Avatar
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    Re: Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Thanks for a prompt response.

    Am I able to leave the thermometer monitor in the tank? Some people have them suctioned to the glass or even right on the ground in their tank, but others say to keep the monitor outside...I worry about things between the lid and tank even though I use lid clips and rocks to weigh the individual corners.

    After work today I'm going to be bugging him for the last time. I got a long vine with leaves on it to offer more security while he is moving about.

    I'll be feeding him next weekend! Thanks so much. I was wondering about the size of feeder- the fuzzy mice are only 5g and as you said, seem.small even for him.

    This forum is wonderful

  10. #8
    Registered User Starscream's Avatar
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    Re: Vladimir the juvenile BP

    Quote Originally Posted by FearlessLeader View Post
    Thanks for a prompt response.

    Am I able to leave the thermometer monitor in the tank? Some people have them suctioned to the glass or even right on the ground in their tank, but others say to keep the monitor outside...I worry about things between the lid and tank even though I use lid clips and rocks to weigh the individual corners.

    After work today I'm going to be bugging him for the last time. I got a long vine with leaves on it to offer more security while he is moving about.

    I'll be feeding him next weekend! Thanks so much. I was wondering about the size of feeder- the fuzzy mice are only 5g and as you said, seem.small even for him.

    This forum is wonderful
    You can leave the thermometer inside, it won't hurt it. And not a problem! The general rule for feeders is 10-15% of their body weight. Here's the feeding chart most folks follow on the forum:
    0.1 Red Axanthic Ball Python | Mazikeen

  11. #9
    BPnet Senior Member zina10's Avatar
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    How refreshing to see a "newbie" go to such length to have everything RIGHT for their new snake!! Kudos to you

    You are already doing FAR FAR better then many others have (me included when I first started out way back..)

    Its a good thing you removed the "sticky" thermometers for all the reasons given. You don't have to worry about suction cups or digitals laying in their enclosure. As long as there is no tape...

    Actually it is a good thing to have "some" substrate over the UTH. They can burrow a bit if they want warmer or just lay atop. They will figure it out. Just make sure you do not have a layer that is 2 inches thick, and you'll be just fine. Up to an inch is great, they move it around if they want to.

    He probably stretched towards the ceramic heater because it is a "heat source" and he was trying to figure out what the big heat signature from above was. Make sure you don't heat up the entire enclosure to much, esp. since the ceramic heater can turn the cool side into a warm side pretty quickly. As long as your ambient in the room doesn't go below 75 you should be fine. If anything, add the ceramic into the middle, you do want to keep part of the enclosure "cooler" then the rest.

    Don't move him for feeding, don't change the substrate. Let him keep settling in for now. When you do feed, heat the rodent up well (not boiling hot of course) dry it a bit and fluff it up with a paper towel if its wet and offer it. He might take it right away. Or it may take several tries. If he turns away and acts "bothered" by it, then try again a few days later, or leave it by his hide overnight. Don't "bother" him with it to much, esp. if he shows no interest.

    You will do fine, you already are. And he is quite the pretty snake
    Zina

    0.1 Pastel Lesser Ball Python "Lestada"
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    0.1 Lemonblast Enchi Desert Ghost Ball Python "Aurora"
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    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
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