Part 1: The Basics
A few people have recently told me that they were interested in getting a snake but felt they weren't ready to take care of one. I applaud the decision to not take on a pet that is beyond one's means or experience to keep. At the same time I'm astounded at how many people think that snakes are difficult to keep.
I realized that everyone who expressed this concern to me owns at least one dog and/or cat. Let me tell you, most snakes are much easier and cheaper to care for than a dog or cat.
Snakes require a relatively small space compared to many other pets. They don't eat as often or as much. They live in cages, so poop is contained and easy to clean. Snakes don't require elaborate setups or toys. A very simple enclosure will suffice. In fact, the only thing a snake needs that a dog or cat doesn't is a source of heat. I've had better luck with snakes than with fish.
So what do you need to care for a snake?
1. A suitable enclosure. Most people use glass aquariums with secure lids made especially for reptiles. Smaller snakes can also be kept in Kritter Keeper plastic cages. The important thing is to make sure the snake cannot escape.
2. A substrate such as aspen shavings or newspaper.
3. A water bowl that is not easy to tip over and is large enough for the snake to soak in.
4. A safe source of heat such as a lamp, heat pad or heat rope designed for reptiles.
5. A place to hide.
6. Thermometer and/or temperature gun.
That's it in a nutshell. I'll go into specifics in upcoming posts.