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  1. #1
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    BP Husbandry FAQs

    1. Do I need a heat source?

    2. What is a UTH? CHE?

    3. Can I use a heat rock?

    4. What should my temps be?

    5. Do I need a temperature gradient?

    6. How far should temps drop at night?

    7. Do I need a day/night cycle for my BP?

    8. Does my BP need UVA/UVB lighting?

    9. What is the right size prey to feed my BP?

    10. How often should I feed, and how much?

    11. What is powerfeeding? Is it risky?

    12. Should I feed in a separate container?

    13. Is it dangerous to feed live?

    14. What’s the best way to thaw prey?

    15. Glass housing or plastic?

    16. What makes a good hide?

    17. Is one hide enough?

    18. How often do they poop?

    19. Does my BP need something to climb on?

    20. My snake is shedding in pieces and has stuck eyecaps. How do I fix it?

    21. How can I increase and maintain higher humidity?

    22. What kind of substrate should I use?

    23. What does it mean when someone says to "Pre-scent" a room?



    =========================================================



    1. Do I need a heat source?



    Yes, you must have a heat source. Snakes are ectothermic (cold blooded), and require the heat you provide in order to maintain their body temperatures. Inadequate heat can lead to respiratory infections and/or refusals to eat.



    2. What is a UTH? CHE?



    UTH stands for Under Tank Heat. This can be flexwatt or another commercial heating pad. CHE stands for Ceramic Heat Emitter, which is something that screws in like a light bulb, but only puts out heat, not light.



    3. Can I use a heat rock?



    Heat rocks should never be used. They can cause thermal burns and are not a reliable source of heat.



    4. What should my temps be?



    Warm side should range from 92-94, and the cool side from 82-84. Never allow temps to dip below 80 degrees unless breeding.



    5. Do I need a temperature gradient?



    Yes. A warm side temperature of 92-94 degrees and a cool side temperature of 82–84 are necessary for your snake to be able to thermoregulate.



    6. How far should temps drop at night?



    Your temperatures should not drop at night. Cooler temperatures leave your BP susceptible to illness. The only time you should drop temps are if you are actively trying to induce breeding.



    7. Do I need a day/night cycle for my BP?



    Ambient light is adequate for the average BP. If you are trying to induce breeding, then a more specific light cycle should be utilized.



    8. Does my BP need UVA/UVB lighting?



    No. BP’s are nocturnal and do not require it.



    9. What is the right size prey to feed my BP?



    A rodent who's girth is the same size or a bit smaller, than the widest part on your snake.



    10. How often should I feed and how much?



    Feeding an appropriate size rodent (the girth of the rodent should be the same size or a bit smaller than the widest part of your snake), usually a mouse or rat, once a week is adequate. Some BP’s prefer mice, and it’s acceptable to feed multiple smaller prey items in a single feeding. Offer the first prey item, and once it has been consumed offer the second.
    Last edited by JLC; 11-14-2006 at 03:51 PM.

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  3. #2
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: BP Husbandry FAQs

    11. What is powerfeeding? Is it risky?



    Powerfeeding is a method of providing food more often than necessary to force growth. This can be done by offering food multiple times a week, feeding oversized prey or forcing an extra prey item down. The results of doing so have not been scientifically documented, but it is generally accepted that it is an irresponsible practice.



    12. Should I feed in a separate container?



    It is not necessary to feed in a separate container. It is a myth that your BP will become aggressive unless you feed in another container. As long as you regularly open you enclosure for water changes and other cage maintenance, you should have no trouble. If you feel more comfortable with feeding in a separate container, then that is ok. BP’s that are more shy, may become stressed and refuse to eat if moved from its enclosure. The most important thing is to find what works for you and your snake.



    13. Is it dangerous to feed live?



    If done responsibly, no. Most incidents occur when a rodent is left for prolonged periods in the enclosure. If you feed live, it is recommended that you do not disturb the enclosure, and monitor the feeding at all times. Do not leave a rodent in the cage for more than 30 minutes.



    14. What’s the best way to thaw prey?



    There are several methods for thawing prey. The first is to put the rodents in a freezer bag and seal it up, and then submerge the bag in tepid water. A second method is to allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. To determine if your prey is thawed completely, squeeze the stomach and make sure there is no hardness. You can also check behind the skull as well. Once the rodent is thawed, then it needs to be heated a bit. You can place the bag, with rodents, in hot water for several minutes or place the prey under a heat lamp for a couple minutes. You just want to warm the prey, not cook it. Never use a microwave to thaw frozen prey!



    15. Glass housing or plastic?



    Most will agree that plastic housing is easier, but either will work, as long as you can maintain the proper temperatures. Plastic is not as aesthetically pleasing, but very inexpensive and easy to heat and clean. Glass housing is more pleasing to look at, but more challenging to heat and maintain humidity.



    16. What makes a good hide?



    Any small, opaque, enclosure that your BP can squeeze itself into. They prefer to feel the hide “hugging” them all the way around and will almost always prefer something that seems too small than something that is more generous. Also make sure that there are no sharp edges that could injure your snake.



    17. Is one hide enough?



    No. You need a minimum of two hides, one on the warm side and one on the cool side. It is preferred to offer two identical hides, to ensure your snake does not have to choose security over thermoregulation.



    18. How often do they poop?



    This will vary depending on many factors. Some BP’s will go every week or so, while other will go every 6 weeks or more. Typically, you will see a bm after a shed. Many people will worry about constipation, but this is not a big concern in BP’s.



    19. Does my BP need something to climb on?



    No, it is not necessary. BP’s are primarily terrestrial, but may climb a bit if a branch is offered.



    20. My snake is shedding in pieces and has stuck eyecaps. How do I fix this?



    First, the commercial “shed aids” you see available are a waste of money. This is one method to try: Get a simple container filled with tepid water, halfway up the body of the snake. (Not high enough so the snake has to swim.) If you can, set the tub inside the snake’s enclosure, partway over the heat source. Do not let the tub sit in a drafty or chilled area. Let the snake sit in the tub for about an hour, and then allow it to crawl through a damp cloth to remove the shed. Do not try to remove eyecaps with Q-tips, tape, or mineral oil. Usually, a snake will rub them off himself eventually, but if not, it will not hurt the snake for them to wait for the next shed.



    21. How can I increase and maintain higher humidity?



    One simple way is to move the water bowl over the heating pad. Another simple method is to use a spray bottle, but monitor the bedding so that it does not mold or become too wet and cause belly rot. If possible try avoiding heat lamps and ceramic heaters, as these suck the moisture from the air. Covering a screen top with plastic wrap, Plexiglas, or clear contact paper also works well to trap humidity. (Do allow some open space for air circulation if you choose to cover a screen top.)



    22. What kind of substrate should I use?



    Simple substrates like newspaper/paper towels are inexpensive and work well. Other more natural substrates, like aspen, cypress, reptibark, or carefresh bedding, work fine as well. Do not use cedar or pine. The oils can be harmful to your snake.


    23. What does it mean when someone says to "Pre-scent" a room?

    This simply means to allow the rodent to "hang out" in the snake's room for awhile before actually introducing the two. This helps to get the snake's mouth watering for dinner. Here is a helpful link on pre-scenting: http://www.ball-pythons.net/modules....warticle&id=60
    Last edited by JLC; 11-14-2006 at 03:54 PM.

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