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  1. #1
    Registered User Grub's Avatar
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    Questions about what you personally enjoy about your animals / just general questions

    I've been taking in a lot of information on my path to finding out if snake ownership is right for me, and then by extension which snake. For me, I like to view my animals and feed them, and I enjoy a beautiful scene so I would want an attractive enclosure with enrichment that allows an animal to engage in natural behaviors. I'm confused by the multiple tub rack set ups. I'm not judging, I'm just genuinely confused. It seems like the people who have those set ups are perfectly happy and really like their pets. For those of you who have this kind of set up, how do you enjoy your snakes/what do you enjoy about them? Is it just the act of caring for them, or the collecting aspect? Do you handle them frequently? Or is this kind of set up more frequently used by those who breed, and the enjoyment comes from tracking the statistics (that part I totally get, I love tracking things.)

    If I didn't handle them frequently, would that make me neglectful? I've got other pets that enjoy being handled, and rather need it for their own well-being, but it seems like snakes are more about tolerating it rather than enjoying it.
    Is out of cage time a necessity or mostly an owner's enjoyment aspect?

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    I like to view my animals and feed them, and I enjoy a beautiful scene so I would want an attractive enclosure with enrichment that allows an animal to engage in natural behaviors. I'm confused by the multiple tub rack set ups. I'm not judging, I'm just genuinely confused.
    The issue with this if you are talking about BP which are commonly kept in tubs is that a visually attractive enclosure that allows the animal to engage in natural behaviors would likely not be that visually attractive to you unless you like having a termite mount in your living room which would not allow you to see the animal at all. That would be how they need to be kept if you want something TRULY realistic.

    Being a good keeper is not about appearances it's about meeting an animal's need allowing the animal to thrive in a safe environment.

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  4. #3
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Hello!!

    I don't use racks, so can't comment on that. But I do know that they are more practical and easy to maintain, so people with multiple snakes benefit from that.

    For me, I've been fascinated with snakes since I was a kid. However, having one as a pet was out of the question due to my father being "afraid" of them.
    It didn't take me too long after moving out of my parents house to start into the hobby though.

    For me, I love the mystique of snakes. I love handling them watching them explore and roam, feeding them, and just observing them and their mannerisms and demeanors.
    It blows my mind that an animal with no arms or legs and basically just a mouth for self defense (many of which can't do much damage anyway) has survived in this world for so long, while thousands of other creatures have gone extinct.
    The fact that there are so many species of snake is something I enjoy as well. I currently keep 4 different species and love them all for different reasons. (I would be happy to elaborate more on that later if you're interested in keeping any of the species I keep)

    One other big factor in why I enjoy keeping snakes as pets is that they're super easy to keep. If you've done proper research and set up the right equipment the right way they are super easy to maintain. They are also very inexpensive to keep once the initial investment is made, but enclosures and equipment can get pricey if you go higher end.

    To answer your handling question: you're right, snakes generally "tolerate" handling and don't seek it out or require it. Some species are more docile than others, some are more active and inquisitive, some will just chill like a lap cat.
    So choosing a species will be very important for you.

    You're in a great place to learn, so stick around and ask lots of questions. We're happy to help and will definitely help you pick a species that you'd enjoy.

    Best of luck!!
    ...life is beautiful...

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  6. #4
    BPnet Lifer zina10's Avatar
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    I enjoy animals for many reasons.

    The whole tank/tub/cage thing has been discussed and argued to death. To me it comes down to this. Do the best you can. For any animal.

    BUT, do NOT anthropomorphize.

    What exactly is enrichment ? Would it be the same for a dog and a snake ? Or a Retic and a Ball Python ?

    No, it is not.

    Most people here keep at least some Ball Pythons, hence the forums name. Many (but not all) Ball Pythons are kept in rack/tub systems. Why? Because it works for them. It works very well for them. In the wild they spend a large part of their lives hiding in a tight dark spot. They lie in hiding, waiting for food to wander by. They do not go out and actively hunt like some species do. Even when found in trees, they were usually seeking out hiding spots, because they were often found in tree hollows. Which are just above ground dark and tight hides.

    They do move around, esp. during breeding season, but a large part of their life is spent in a dark, tight, private and low traffic space.

    When you have a BP that has feeding issues, which is not rare in this species, you can often remedy that by giving them a smaller, darker and tighter space. Given that everything else is on par and the animal is not sick, they often just crave the safety of just that.

    So perhaps "enrichment" for a BP is the safety of a small space.

    Of course you can still keep them in cages and tanks. It ALL can be done right and it ALL can be done wrong. Husbandry always has to be spot on. Which is harder to do in tanks, then cages or tubs. But it can be done. Privacy should always be given, with hides and solid back, sides and tops (mostly covered tank lids, too).
    And yes, there are individuals, too, as with every species on earth. You will have the bolder or shyer ones, the more curious or laid back ones and the more nervous and high strung ones. But all in all you should look at a species needs, before you can decide what is right or wrong.

    A room sized enclosure might feel more confined to a species that is used to travel for miles in the wild, then a tub is for a Ball Python that spends 95% of its life in a tight, dark space.

    I only keep 6 Ball Pythons at the moment. I have the space and means to put them all in big cages. I choose to keep 5 in a rack system because it works and I feel they are doing exceptionally well in a system like that, after years of keeping that species and also doing rescue and rehab of them, years ago. I do keep one of them in a beautiful display cage. But honestly, it is more for my pleasure then his. He does come out of his hide at times, and he does climb on his shelf. But I believe he climbs on it because it is there. Not because he thinks its fun to do and looks forward to do some climbing.

    Long story short, Ball Pythons do well in tubs. They can do well in cages/tanks. I don't knock either one, because there are some awesome keepers that do it either way and do it right. And the animals are thriving.

    I do handle mine, all of them. I let them stretch and move about supervised. I try not to do it to much, I don't feel they look forward to it or particularly enjoy it. But they don't seem to mind it either, they are used to it, they are used to me, they know they won't get hurt.

    I would also like for my horse to live on 400 acres+ to roam on, with streams, lakes, woods and grass land. But I can't. Most people can't. Doesn't mean that we can't give them a good life in a far smaller space then what the species is used to.

    Well, here you have my 2 cents
    Last edited by zina10; 11-20-2018 at 12:57 PM.
    Zina

    0.1 Super Emperor Pinstripe Ball Python "Sunny"
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  8. #5
    Registered User Grub's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about what you personally enjoy about your animals / just general quest

    Quote Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
    I currently keep 4 different species and love them all for different reasons. (I would be happy to elaborate more on that later if you're interested in keeping any of the species I keep)
    Thank you for all the insight you offered in your reply. I'd really like to take you up on the elaboration on your other species because it seems to me, with what others have said about BPs, that maybe that isn't the species for me.

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  10. #6
    Registered User CALM Pythons's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about what you personally enjoy about your animals / just general quest

    I like your questions. Your looking at it in the right manner. Some people see and buy, then wonder if its for them and if they are enjoying it hahahaha.
    I have always had display enclosures. Id never own a rack myself. Honestly the Pythons Iíve owned I take out a couple times a week and other than that use their Hides unless its Midnight and Im sleeping. You find this with most snake species. So they are not good entertainment unless you take them out and spend a short period time here and there with them. Also I do not decorate the enclosures. Im after Health and Happiness first. My enclosures are easily cleaned and very simple so they have their needs and nothing that can be dangerous. I have 4í and 8í PVC enclosures, PVC Hides, Radiant Heat Panels, Herpstat Thermostats and Kraft/Butcher Paper Substrate. I do have a PVC pipe panted brown that runs across for them to climb on and they do climb every night. Im not up to see that of course, im sleeping but when I wake i sneak and look and they are busy as beavers.
    Ball Pythons tolerate handling well however could care less. Ive always been a Burmese Python Junkie and when I got the itch for something new a couple years ago went with Balls because I feel more than one Burm wouldnít be good for the snake as giant snakes take up more time I might not have. First and for most Im respectful to all living things needs and If I cant give them that I dont sign up.
    Burms are a whole different kind of animal. They follow your movement, they make choices, they investigate...where as Balls seem to be more instinctual, shy and self protective.
    Now that I have a couple Balls I love them for who they are however I would never do it again. Ive spent a lot of time with them and they have come a long way and I feel they actually have some personality now that I think has come with all the handling and trust that has been built. So now that Ive talked nothing about what you have asked hahahahaha I think you should think about what would be good for you, because that is what would be good for the Snake. If your looking for a great looking Enclosure I recommend a AP (Animal Plastics). This is what you will see when you walk by it... the snake will be in its Hide 90% of the time. Around 8pm if its not light up like a Football Stadium they will come out before you go to bed.
    Name: Christian
    0.1 Albino Ball (Sophie)
    0.1 Russo White Diamond (Grace)
    1.0 Hypo Burmese (Giacomo/AKA Jock)
    1.2 Razors Edge/Gotti & American Pit Bull
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    1.1 Albino/Normal Burmese (Mr & Mrs Snake)
    1.0 Albino Ball (Sully)

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  12. #7
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about what you personally enjoy about your animals / just general quest

    Quote Originally Posted by Grub View Post
    Thank you for all the insight you offered in your reply. I'd really like to take you up on the elaboration on your other species because it seems to me, with what others have said about BPs, that maybe that isn't the species for me.
    You're welcome, I'm happy to help.

    So I do have a BP. And based on what you said in your initial thread, it sounds like they're not the beat choice for you. I keep mine in a naturalistic glass enclosure, and rarely see him. There's even a saying you'll hear around the hobby "a hiding ball is a happy ball". So if you're looking for an animal you'll see exploring often, a BP won't likely satisfy that.
    I also have a Borneo Short Tail Python...basically, see above. Very similar in that he spends almost 100% of his time hidden.

    The next one that I keep is a western hognose. If you're thinking you want a snake on the smaller end of the spectrum that's a lot of fun look into these guys. Males stay pretty tiny (usually topping out around 18") but females get a fair amount bigger. These snakes are super cute, extremely inquisitive and have tons of personality. They even have some adorable "defensive" behaviors, including flattening out their heads to look like a cobra, hissing and bluff striking (it's adorable, check out YouTube to see what I mean) and in very rare occasions even play dead (I've only seen this in videos).
    I do have to let you know they are rear-fanged and considered VERY mildly venomous. That being said, they almost NEVER bite, they prefer to bluff. And when they do their delivery system is HORRIBLE and they would need to hang on and chew on you for the venom to take effect. The results are quite varied, ranging from very minor itching, swelling and irritation to some serious swelling and allergic reaction.
    So, if you're interested in these guys study up on them. (Although that goes for any pet)

    Lastly, is my favorite species I have kept through the years. Kingsnakes.
    I think of the species I have this would best meet your desires. They stay a very manageable size, handle well (though often nippy when young), are pretty active and will use every inch of their enclosures, and are very forgiving husbandry-wise. They also come in plenty of morphs and localities so you can find one on the smaller or larger size of the spectrum depending what you're looking for.

    Other species I think you might enjoy are carpet pythons or boa constrictor imperators (BCIs). Both offer lots of options in size, look, etc...

    Another thought is a Green Tree Python. Although not typically considered a "beginner" snake they make great display snakes. They are typically not handled often and most people who keep them set them up as display snakes.

    Any which way you go, there are plenty of people on here who keep all sorts of species. So feel free to keep asking. People who keep those species will chime in and help you out.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  14. #8
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    Snakes,

    I enjoy snakes because other people do not. I learned to love snakes because my Grandmother was deathly afraid of them, and she needed someone to relocate them from her yard and garage. They didn't bother me not one bit.

    I got my first snakes at 10 years old. Wild Caught Garter Snakes from my yard. I had 1.1 for a long time, they had babies once or twice which I released back into the wild (I was a dumb kid, yes).

    At 12 years old, my parents traded a local guy the parts he needed to upgrade his computer for his Female Ball Python (wild typE) and gave her to me for Christmas, I was thrilled. Looking back I had no clue. The internet was new, and did what I as told. Husbandry wasn't right, but she ate and I had her for 2 years until my parents divorced and I had to give her up because neither one wanted to have her while I was at the other's house. It sucked.

    When I graduated High School, I went big. I got Retics and Burms. Loved them. I had them from 18-21 and had many large snakes in my house. Again, I was a dumb kid. One sick snake came in and I didn't quarantine like I should and then everyone was sick and I lost all my snakes over a period of about 6 months. Broke me.

    A couple years later I got another Retic, had her for a year or so, got married, and the wife made me get rid of her. Didn't want something around that could eat the kids.

    Now that I'm divorced I'm back in. I came back into this with all the learning I did as a younger man taken hold.

    I use racks for a number of reasons.

    1) You can clean a plastic tub a hell of a lot easier than you can a glass aquarium. They're lighter, they're made from a single injection molded piece, and are super light in comparison.

    2) It's much more efficient when you plan on having multiple snakes. In less space than the (3) I have now were in their original tubs, I have space for (10) hatchling/juvenile ball pythons.

    3) Single Thermostat for the rack. Instead of individual heat for each enclosure, one setup, one thermostat. All my spots are checked 2x a day with the laser probe, but temps are holding well.

    4) As above, cramped dark spaces are NORMAL for a Ball Python. They aren't open land area hunters. Health of the Snakes > all in my book.

    I interact with my snakes 2-3 times a week. I check on them more, but don't bring them out more than this. They're hand tame, but they're more there to look at and hold occasionally than they are to play with. I have a dog to have a pet to play with.

    Best,

    Paul

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  16. #9
    BPnet Lifer zina10's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about what you personally enjoy about your animals / just general quest

    Quote Originally Posted by Grub View Post
    Thank you for all the insight you offered in your reply. I'd really like to take you up on the elaboration on your other species because it seems to me, with what others have said about BPs, that maybe that isn't the species for me.
    Well, don't rule them out because you want them to live 100% species specific and fear you are going to look at a tub or termite mound, only.

    Just about NONE of our animals (whether pets, livestock or reptiles) live the way they would out in the wild. You want to keep the species in mind, you want the basic needs to be met 100% (in case of reptiles, that means heat, humidity, privacy) but aside from that there is some wiggle room to make things work and be pleasing to you.

    In case of a Ball Python, just give them some time. If you get a young one or shy one, do provide those hides and privacy. You can still make an enclosure visually pleasing. You can also work your way up to a larger/busier place. After all, they can live 30+ years and part of the fun is to "grow with them". You will find many keepers on here that have their BP's in beautiful setups. All you have to do is keep the snakes well being as first priority. If you have one that is shy and won't eat, put the emphasis on smaller and darker. Doesn't mean it will always be that way.

    They DO learn to trust, they do figure out their surroundings and get used to them. You will be able to handle and enjoy them. Just go at the snakes pace. Establish the animal well (get it feeding) Develop trust. "Anything worth having is worth waiting for". Ball Pythons are awesome snakes. Before moving I had a large collection. I've had Redtail Boas, a Carpet Python, Blood Python, Green Tree Pythons, Rubber Boas (yes, there is such a thing, lol..), Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Russian Ratsnakes, a Bearded Dragon and a Tegu. Plus my Ball Pythons and the rescues I took in (sick, starved BP's)

    Now all I have are BP's. One of them in a beautiful Display. They can be quite rewarding, I enjoy them immensely. For what they are. And they certainly can have a range of personalities. I've had some that were SO chill and easygoing I got into the habit to lift their chin and kiss the top of their heads while I carried them around. There was no head or anything shyness about them and they were the ones I took to schools and wildlife parks, for education. Some never get super comfortable with handling, but most learn to trust and with age/size they get a lot more confident. You just have to learn not to freak out over the long fasting they do. Its part of them, and nothing to be worried about, as long as they are healthy.

    Of course there are a ton of other species, some of which enjoy a huge and beautiful display cage and make good use of every square inch of it. The ones that like to be out and about and "watch" you. The most interactive species I've ever had were my Russian Ratsnakes by far. Very nosy, very into your business. As adults they were so curious and personable, I would take one out on walks. Something I would NEVER do with most any other species. But they like cooler temps so when the weather was right Scarlett went into my hoodie. She was resting on my belly and I supported her with my hand on the outside of my hoodie. Her little head would peek out from above the zipper and she would just look around. Most people never even noticed she was there, sometimes not even when they stopped and talked to me, unless they looked real close I still remember he little head nodding with every step I took. She stayed in that position the entire walk. They also love to climb, so a large display cage would be awesome for a species such as that and since they don't need tropical temps, its easy to make a huge display cage for a species such as that.

    Just take your time deciding. There is something for everyone But don't rule out the BP's because of their unique needs. You can work with that and enjoy your animals
    Zina

    0.1 Super Emperor Pinstripe Ball Python "Sunny"
    0.1 Pastel Orange Dream Desert Ghost Ball Python "Luna"
    0.1 Pastel Desert Ghost Ball Python "Arjanam"
    0.1 Lemonblast Enchi Desert Ghost Ball Python "Aurora"
    0.1 Pastel Enchi Desert Ghost Ball Python "Venus"
    1.0 Pastel Butter Enchi Desert Ghost Ball Python "Sirius"
    1.0 Pastel Yellowbelly Ball Python "Jag"
    1.0 Crested Gecko ( Rhacodactylus ciliatus) "Smeagol"

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    - Antoine de Saint-Exup»ry

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  18. #10
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    I was brought up with a deadly fear of snakes. When I had my daughter, she was fascinated with all animals. Heck we volunteer at the shelter a minimum of twice a week. The treat is like paid employees now. Well she got interested in snakes and I told myself that I was not going to teach her to be afraid. So I educated myself as much as I could for over 2 years before buying my first snake. Now I find myself going to shops on a weekday basis to handle different snakes as Iím looking to start keeping several different species. I feel something special when Iím with a snake, canít describe it. Iím to the point where Iím not scared of any non venomous snake at all. U learn to read them and itís fun as heck!! I keep mine in tanks because I owned an exotic fish company and I have tanks galore. But Iím thinking of going to a rack system when I start breeding.

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