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  1. #1
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    General Herp FAQs

    1. What is a good beginner snake?

    2. Is it ok to keep an animal I found in the wild?

    3. Can I keep different species in the same enclosure?

    4. Are snakes dangerous?

    5. Does it hurt to get bit?

    6. Can I take my pet outside?
    7. Is it legal to take my pet reptile into public places?


    8. Why won’t my snake eat?

    9. My snake hasn’t eaten in months. Will he be ok?

    10. Is it true that all reptiles need UVB light?

    11. What is quarantine? Is it really necessary?

    12. What is acclimation? Do I really need to do this?

    13. Can I use live plants in my pet’s cage?

    14. What are mites and how do I get rid of them?

    15. Is it true that reptiles carry Salmonella?

    16. How do I find a good herp vet in my area?

    17. Why do they need hides?

    18. Can my snake be tamed?

    19. What is Daytona?

    20. My snake escaped! What should I do?

    21. How should I transport my snake for moving across town?

    22. How should I transport for moving across the country?

    23. Can I keep two ore more snakes in one tank?

    24. Where can I buy a rack?

    25. Where can I find blueprints to build my own racks?

    26. What does CH, CB, and WC mean?

    27. Does my snake need a vitamin supplement?

    28. What does reptile poop and/or urine look like?

    29. I see white chalky stuff in her tank. What is it?

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

    31. Is it dangerous to feed live rodents?

    32. What are some common ailments I should watch for?

    33. What do those numbers mean that I see when someone lists animals? 1.0 albinos or 2.3.1 normals or whatever?


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


    1. What is a good beginner snake?

    There are many species that make a good first snake. Obviously, ball pythons are a good choice if you're aware of their husbandry requirements and their sometimes less than perfect appetite.

    Other great first snakes are:
    Corn snakes

    Most species of king snake (california king, speckled king, mexican black king etc)

    Most species of milk snake (pueblan milk, sinaloan milk, honduran milk etc)

    Rat snakes, gopher snakes, pine snakes and bull snakes

    Sand boas (kenyan and roughscaled)

    Hognose Snakes


    There are others as well, do some research to find out what is best for you!


    2. Is it ok to keep an animal I found in the wild?

    Generally it is not a good idea. Wild caught animals are likely to harbor internal parasites that can be costly to eliminate. It can be difficult to provide the exact same prey they are used to eating in the wild. And there are often local laws that prohibit the collection and keeping of indigenous wild animals.


    3. Can I keep different species in the same enclosure?

    It is a bad idea to house different species in the same enclosure. Disease and/or parasites would be shared between animals. Canabalism is possible with many snake species. And different species have different husbandry requirements, which would make it very tricky, at best, to set up a proper environment for all the critters involved.

    4. Are snakes dangerous?

    This is a very broad question that doesn't have a simple answer. Yes, some snakes are potentially dangerous. People die from venomous snake bite every year. Most are bites from wild snakes, not captive animals. An experienced keeper knows how to stay safe and minimize risk. Rarely, people are attacked by large constrictors such as reticulated pythons, burmese pythons, green anacondas etc. In captive situations, the vast majority of these attacks are caused by keeper error (smelling like snake food being the number one cause of a bite or constriction) In reality, these attacks are exceedingly rare. The media loves to exaggerate these stories out of proportion, feeding fuel to the snake-phobic’s fire.


    5. Does it hurt to get bit?

    This depends on the snake, and the kind of bite. There are two kinds of bite, feeding response, and defense bite. A defense bite is a quick tag and release caused by a snake trying to defend itself. A feeding response bite involves the snake holding on and often constricting because it mistook you for food. Defense bites may cause minor pain if anything at all. A baby snake may not even be able to draw blood. A snake doesn't have terribly strong jaws, so the damage comes from the sharp teeth which in most snakes are quite small. The pain is often less than that of a paper cut and subsides very quickly. A feeding response bite is more likely to cause more pain, but your average small to medium sized snake will not cause you any real damage. Remember, don't smell like a rodent when you handle your snakes!
    Last edited by JLC; 01-22-2008 at 11:27 PM. Reason: updating

  2. #2
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: General Herp FAQs

    6. Can I take my pet outside?

    Yes, if you follow a few simple safety guidelines:
    Don't ever let your snake out of your sight, not even for a few seconds!
    Don't let your snake climb a tree that you yourself can't climb.
    Check your snake carefully after your outdoor excursion for ticks or any other nasties.
    If you are taking your snake to a public area, be aware that others may have negative reactions and be mindful of children around your pet.

    7. Is it legal to take my pet reptile to public places?

    This depends on the place. Check for rules against pets before taking your snake anywhere. Be aware that many people have a very negative reaction to snakes. Do not take your snake out if it has a questionable temperament. Many people are curious about snakes/reptiles and some will want to try petting it. Allow this only with caution.

    8. Why won’t my snake eat?

    There are many reasons why snakes stop eating. First you should examine your husbandry to make sure everything is correct (temperatures, humidity etc) Make sure your snake has secure hiding spots so that it doesn't feel exposed. An insecure snake won't feel comfortable enough to eat. Some snakes will only eat live prey. Never leave your snake unattended with a live prey animal. If your snake is nocturnal, try feeding only at night, and leave a frozen/thawed rodent overnight. Leave your snake alone if possible, (unless you are feeding live) some snakes are too shy to eat while being watched. Often snakes will slow down eating during the fall and winter months. This is normal. In breeding season, mature males are preoccupied with breeding and many lose interest in food.

    9. My snake hasn’t eaten in months. Will he be ok?

    Snakes can survive an amazing amount of time without food. However, if you notice your snake losing significant weight, a trip to the vet is in order to check for any underlying health problems that may inhibit its appetite.

    10. Is it true that all reptiles need UVB light?

    No. In fact, almost all snakes are fine with no supplemental lighting whatsoever. Some lizard species do require UVB, however. Iguanas, tegus and diurnal geckos are some which require UVA/UVB lighting. Do your research before purchasing any reptile pet.



    11. What is quarantine? Is it really necessary?

    Quarantine involves separating new reptile additions from your established collection for a set period of time to assure it is completely healthy before it comes in contact with any of your other animals. Quarantines range from 1-3 months or more. If at all possible keep quarantines in a separate room (or better yet, building) from your established collection. Handle established animals first, and wash your hand thoroughly with antibacterial soap after handling a quarantine. Use separate tools (hooks, spray bottles thermometers etc) for quarantines.

    12. What is acclimation? Do I really need to do this?

    Acclimation is one of the hardest parts about getting a new reptile. You should leave it alone (no handling) for an entire week after you get it to allow it to settle in. Moving to a new home is stressful, and without acclimation time your pet is less likely to eat and really settle in.

    13. Could I use live plants in my pet’s cage?

    You can, but if it is a plant-eating reptile make sure that the plant is non-toxic before considering it. In terrarium style setups, plants can help add and maintain humidity in the cage as well as add natural beauty. Live plants are less practical in a snake's cage. They make cleanup more difficult and some reptiles will enjoy uprooting and destroying your plants. Unless you plan on keeping an entire terrarium setup, live plants are not very practical. Consider imitation cloth or plastic plants instead.

    14. What are mites and how do I get rid of them?

    Mites are tiny parasitic bloodsuckers. They are usually red or black and can be seen easiest crawling around the reptile's eyes, under the chin, and around the vent. The most effective way of removing mites is with Provent-a-Mite which can be ordered online. Clean the entire cage and replace your substrate with newspaper or paper towels until the mites are gone. Products like Reptile Relief, or a soak in a shallow bath with one drop of dishsoap can help get rid of the mites you can see, but Provent-a-Mite is necessary to get rid of the multitude of invisible eggs you can’t see.



    15. Is it true that reptiles carry Salmonella?

    Any egg laying animal can carry salmonella. In reality you are much more likely to get salmonella from handling raw chicken than from handling your reptile pet. Simply washing your hands after handling your pet will eliminate the risk. Do not allow children to pet a reptile if they are too young to know to not stick their fingers in their mouth after touching a reptile.

    16. How do I find a good herp vet in my area?

    http://www.arav.org (Click Member Directory to search by State. May have to remove /Directory if that defaults into the address)

    http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

    17. Why do they need hides?

    Reptiles are naturally shy creatures. In the wild most are very vulnerable and have many predators. Their first defense is to hide. It is the snake's instinct to pack themselves in the tightest, darkest place they can find. Many snakes can not feel secure without adequate hides.

    18. Can my snake be tamed?

    Most species of snake can become docile. It is important to be patient. Many young snakes are understandably fearful of humans and may take awhile to calm down. Handle your snake gently and consistently. Avoid sudden movements and refrain from touching the head and neck, the snake's most vulnerable parts. If it makes you feel more comfortable, wear gloves. Different species have different predispositions. Some are often docile right out of the egg, and some take a lot of diligence and patience. There is also a lot of variation within the species; no two snakes are alike! And always remember they are wild animals that will never be “tame” in the sense of our more common domesticated pets.

    19. What is Daytona?

    Daytona is the biggest reptile shows in the country. Dozens of vendors selling everything from reptiles, to cages and supplies, books and more attend every year.

    http://www.reptilebreedersexpo.com/


    20. My snake escaped! What should I do?

    Look behind, under, and in between everything you can. Snakes will generally head for the warmest, darkest place there is. Around computers are a favorite place. You can try making a 'trap' by placing a thawed rodent into a dark warm spot and leaving it for the snake to find. Smaller snakes can be enticed into a covered (to make it dark inside) 2 liter pop bottle that has a pinky inside of it. Often the snake will eat it and decide to stay for awhile. You can also try sprinkling something like flour on the floor in the room of the cage and wait for 'snake prints', where the snake has crawled, to appear. One key thing to remember when looking: If you dismiss an area because you think it looks too small for your snake to get into or through…go back and look!
    Last edited by rabernet; 11-10-2009 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Fixing broken link for arav.org

  3. #3
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: General Herp FAQs

    21. How should I transport my snake for moving across town?

    The safest way to transport your snake, whether moving across town or going to the vet, is to put it in a snake bag. (A pillow case turned inside out will work fine.) Secure the top of the bag and then place it in a small box (cardboard or plastic w/ holes) and make sure there is enough padding to keep the bag from sliding around in its box. If the weather is extreme, heat packs or cold packs may be added as needed. Never, ever leave your snake unattended in the car during the day!



    22. How should I transport for moving across the country?

    Read the above question for information on how to transport your snake with you throughout the day. If at all possible, try to make the trip without extended stays or side-trips. If you can make the trip with just one or two overnights, your snake should be fine in its bag and box. I would recommend keeping a thermometer in the box to make sure temps aren’t getting into any dangerous ranges. If you have to spend more than two nights on the road, bring along with you a rubbermaid or sterilite container, newspaper for substrate, hides, a water dish, and a heating pad. After a night or two in the bag, the snake may want a chance to stretch out and get a drink of water, but excessive “packing and unpacking” may stress it even more than the move already does. Once again, it can’t be stressed enough to never leave your snake unattended in the car during the day. Plan your daytime meals with drive-thrus in mind. After the move, allow your snake a period of acclimation as if it were new to you.



    23. Can I keep two or more snakes in one tank?

    It is possible to do so, yes. But it is NOT a recommended practice. Snakes are not social creatures and it is stressful for them to live together. What may appear to be 'cuddling' is in fact the snakes competing for the best parts of the cage. Aside from the stress factor, snakes living in the same enclosure are free to share parasites and diseases with each other. This also makes it more difficult to figure out which one is sick if you notice abnormal stool, for instance.



    24. Where can I buy a rack?

    There are many rack manufacturers online. A google search should yield you some results. We have a page with reviews of some cage manufacturers: http://www.ball-pythons.net/modules....category&cid=2



    25. Where can I find blueprints to build my own racks?

    Doing a search on the forums or on Google should find you some help. Here's a link to get you started: http://www.arbreptiles.com/cages/rack.shtml



    26. What does CH, CB and WC mean?

    CH - Captive hatched. These are animals hatched from eggs either laid by a female impregnated in the wild, or eggs found in the wild.

    CB - Captive bred. These are animals whose parents bred in captivity, and who were hatched and raised in captivity also.

    WC - Wild caught. These are animals who were born and lived in the wild before being caught and imported for the pet trade.



    27. Does my snake need a vitamin supplement?

    No. Everything your snake needs is in the rodents it eats.



    28. What does reptile poop and/or urine look like?

    Snake poop looks like.. well, poop. It's brown, generally log shaped, and doesn't smell pleasant. Snake pee comes in two types. Urine, which looks like it should, yellow liquid, and urates. Urates are chalky white or yellowish excretions.



    29. I see white chalky stuff in her tank. What is it?

    This is urates, a normal extretion similar to urine.



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

    Place the mouse or rat into a plastic ziploc bag, then into a container of hot water. Replace the hot water several times until the rodent is thawed completely through. Pinch the belly to make sure there are no cold or frozen spots in the middle.



    31. Is it dangerous to feed live rodents?

    This depends on how you go about it. Feeding live can be very safe as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Never leave a live rodent in the enclosure with the snake unattended. A rodent left to get hungry may start nibbling on your snake (who may actually not notice) If your snake shows no interest in the rodent after 15-20 minutes, remove the rodent and try again next week.



    32. What are some common ailments I should watch for?

    Respiratory Infection (RI) - often caused by too low temperatures or stress. Signs include wheezing or gurgling sound during breathing, bubbles in mouth or coming out of nose, excessive saliva and even open-mouthed breathing. Veterinarian attention is required.



    Mouth rot - this is an infection of the mouth. You may notice sores or lesions in the mouth or excessive mucous. It can be caused by many things, including rodent bites, foreign materials lodged in the mouth, excessive rubbing of the nose or mouth on rough objects, too cool temperatures, or un unsanitary environment. Veterinary attention is required.



    Thermal burns - these are caused by a too-hot heating element. This is why hot rocks should NOT be used for reptiles. ALWAYS know what the temperatures are in your animal's cage. A fresh burn will make the skin stiff in the area, the second stage involves the skin sloughing off and exposing the raw skin. Consult your veterinarian for treatments during healing time. Any animal that has a raw sore should have newspaper or paper towels for bedding. Wood shavings or bark can get stuck in the sore and irritate or cause infection.



    Scale rot - Scale rot causes the scales to enlarge and turn brownish and some will fill up like blisters. This is often caused by a damp and/or dirty cage. Immediately clean the cage and seek veterinary assistance.



    Internal parasites - Indicators include loss of weight even when eating and regurgitation. Veterinary attention is required.



    External parasites - Mites are the most common. They are tiny red or black dots normally seen around the eyes, chin, and vent of the snake. Provent-a-mite is a good way to eliminate these. Ticks are also sometimes found on snakes. Carefully check over the entire snake (ticks like to hide out between scales, especially on the belly) and remove all ticks.



    Inclusion body disease (IBD) - one of the most serious of snake illnesses. It is a virus that affects only boids (pythons and boas) Snakes can be carriers without showing any symptoms (usually boas) IBD is highly contagious and always lethal. Symptoms include listlessness, stargazing, (holding the head upright at odd angles for extended periods of time) snake unable to right itself if placed on it's back, regurgitation, retention of shed skin and paralysis. Always quarantine new snakes!

    33. What do those numbers mean that I see when someone lists animals? 1.0 albinos or 2.3.1 normals or whatever?

    This is a ratio of male to female to unknown-sex. So, 1.0 would be one male. 2.3.1 would mean 2 males, 3 females and 1 unknown.

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