6
   

Keeping snakes as pets.

 
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 05:31 pm
We're thinking about getting a pet snake. I've done some research but I still have a few questions. I hoping someone here can help!

I am considering either a Ball Python, a King, or a Corn snake. Do you think one is better than the other?

Where should one get the snake? I see pet stores, individuals and rescue organizations as potential providers.

I want to make sure that it is tame. Is it best to get a snake when it's young or is adopting an older snake okay? Are tame older snakes owner-centric or will they carry over their good behavior to a new owner?

If you get a snake from an owner how can you evaluate the overall health of the snake? Are there any tell-tale signs to look for?

Thanks for your advice!
 
farmerman
 
  5  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 05:34 pm
@boomerang,
How about a gungasnake? They love going in right leaning circles , and will swallow just about anything, so long as it didnt evolve.
GoshisDead
 
  6  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 05:45 pm
@boomerang,
It all depends on what you want the snake for and if you have small children in the house. Corn = most docile and huge variety in coloration and pattern grows about 4 feet, stays fairly thin. I have a Mexican Black King beautiful snake, a bit nippy grows about 4-5 feet stays fairly thin. Kings are almost as docile as corns. they tend to nip more and they will musk you more often. Ball pythons although fangless have a little bigger teeth than the other two, also very docile they grow between 3 and 4 1/2 and get sorta fat. Feeding is also something you have to think about. Corns and Kings will max out on large mice, but a ball might go up to adult rats. Balls also tend to be pickier eaters. Kings tend to be little piggies so its normally much easier to get them to eat frozen/thawed rodents. Other species to think about, western hognose, rubber boa, and rosy boa. I think if I ever get another its going to be a Rosy Boa. Beautiful little critters.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:03 pm
@GoshisDead,
Thank you!

No small kids around here. I have a 9 year old (known as Mo on A2K) and he's the snake fancier. He's kept a little garter snake he caught for a couple of months and I've come to appreciate snakes more during that time.

So far Mo is favoring the python because he likes the triangle head but I want to make sure we get the right kind of snake and not just the cool head shaped snake.

Have you ever fed your snake frozen mice. It seems that everyone I've talked to have recommended steam thawed mice.

I was warned away from boas but wasn't given a real reason for the warning... don't they grow to be very big? Maybe that's why.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:30 pm
@boomerang,
Remember, that pythons are still dangerous.

Quote:
While attacks on human beings are rare, pythons have killed people. An 8-year-old girl died in 2002 in suburban Pittsburgh after her family's pet python escaped from its cage and wrapped itself around her neck. Also that year, a Colorado man was killed when his 10-foot python coiled around his neck and chest. It took seven firefighters to unwrap the snake.

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/southflorida/news/pythonsgonewild2004.html

Quote:
Although it is rare that a python will attack without provocation, there are several reports of rock python attacks on humans. Often, a human will startle a snake, causing it to bite. More rarely, the python may even constrict a human to death, and smaller humans have been eaten in extremely unusual circumstances.

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Python_sebae.html

Quote:
Python kills careless student zookeeper in Caracas
A 10-foot Burmese Python killed a student zookeeper in Caracas on the weekend and was caught trying to swallow its dead human prey when horrified coworkers arrived, Venezuela's El Universal newspaper reported.

Published: 2:07AM BST 26 Aug 2008

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2622427/Python-kills-careless-student-zookeeper-in-Caracas.html


JTT
 
  3  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:34 pm
My personal opinion is that keeping animals that belong in the wild is not something we should be doing.

Keeping a pet that is local to your area for a limited time for purposes of youthful discovery is okay, but bringing in foreign animals is not a good policy, again, in my opinion.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:39 pm
@JTT,
I'm kind of inclined to agree, especially regarding local vs foreign.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:39 pm
@tsarstepan,
There are a 27 varieties of python, some dangerous, some not. Ball pythons are considered to be a "beginner" pet snake and not dangerous at all.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:44 pm
@roger,
And my definition of foreign doesn't mean country. It means not indigenous to the area.
0 Replies
 
Arella Mae
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:46 pm
Let me tell you a short TRUE story my friend at work told me today. She has a friend who had a python. She loved that snake. She would even let it sleep in the bed with her at night. All of a sudden, it stopped eating and it would stretch itself out next to her on the bed at night. She took it to the vet because she was so worried about it. He told her it needed to be put down immediately. The snake was getting ready to eat her! If you are going to get a snake, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you know all of their behaviors. How stupid of that woman! She had no clue and was about to become dinner.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:48 pm
@Arella Mae,
Oh, now. . . .
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:49 pm
@Arella Mae,
I think the vet was mistaken. The snake was about to mate with her.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:50 pm
@Arella Mae,
Again, I'm talking about a ball python.

These comparisons are like comparing my house cat to a cougar. I mean.... they're both cats.....
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 06:54 pm
@JTT,
I hear what you're saying but I don't really have serious qualms about that.

The snake rescue place I looked at isn't going to release those snakes into the wild. Same with captive bred snakes (though I typically don't like to encourage animal breeders, snake breeders don't seem too unethical from what I've read).
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:00 pm
@boomerang,
http://www.ehow.com/how_2306117_take-care-ball-python-snakes.html

Quote:
You must provide your python with the appropriate food. Adult snakes will eat about 2 to 4 large mice or 1 to 2 rats per week. It may take some time for your snake to eat the mice. Encourage your python to eat pre-killed mice to avoid injury.

...

Only feed your python pre-killed mice or rats. Live prey can be dangerous for your snake. Mice and rats have sharp teeth and claws that can actually injure your python.


Read more: How to Take Care of Ball Python Snakes | eHow.com


Quote:
Feeding
Ball pythons can be fed exclusively mice or small to medium sized rats (as appropriate for the size of the snake), and only need to be fed every week or two. Young snakes should be fed fuzzy mice every 5-7 days, older snakes should be fed increasingly larger prey and can go a little longer (i.e. 10 - 14 days). Use pre-killed prey as live mice can injure a snake - dangling the prey in front of the snake with forceps usually gets the snake interested.

Moving the snake out of its cage into a separate enclosure for feeding is a good idea and will help in the taming process. The snake will associate eating with the other enclosure, and is less likely to confuse your hand for prey when you put your hand into the cage. This will make it easier to reach into the cage to get the ball python out for handling.

Even captive bred ball pythons sometimes refuse to eat, fasting for a couple of months. As long as body weight and condition are maintained, this is not problematic. If your snake stops eating, carefully examine the husbandry, handling, health, and environment of the snake to make sure stress isn't the culprit. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help if the fast is prolonged or causing weight loss. If necessary, some tricks to entice a python to eat include dipping the prey in chicken broth, trying different colors of mice, exposing the brain of the prey before feeding it, feeding at night, covering the cage with towels after offering a mouse. You may even want to try feeding a hamster or gerbil, although this may make your snake more likely to refuse mice if it develops a preference for hamsters and gerbils.

http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/pythons/a/ballpythons_2.htm

Are you ready to kill its food to avoid any injury to the snake?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:02 pm
@tsarstepan,
You buy them already dead and frozen.

I take all my pets to the vet when they don't feel well. I suppose I'd do the same thing with a snake.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:05 pm
You know, I'm not some impulsive idiot that rushed out to buy a snake. I've done some research. My research didn't answer all my questions. I needed to talk to a variety of people who actually have owned snakes.

I can completely understand people not wanting to have a snake for a pet.

I don't really understand why they think they need to talk me out of it.
Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:09 pm
@boomerang,
I wasn't trying to talk you out of it. I think it's great you are gathering information before making that decision.
0 Replies
 
Pemerson
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:08 pm
@boomerang,
We bought a baby boa constrictor for our oldest son when he was about 11. Prior to that pet he had an iguana (about 6" long). He and Noah the Boah were fine, all his friends would come over to watch it have lunch. He (and his friends) handled it a lot for awhile, but when school started he stopped handling it. I became afraid of Noah but can't say why, I guess his just laying there all day long. Walking upstairs one day I saw this snake throw himself against his acquarium when he saw me walking up the stairs. So, terrified of Noah was I from then on. We took Noah back to the pet store because we didn't know what else to do.

I just had the feeling that these things should be living where snakes live, outside being a snake in wherever place boas live. But, I liked the snake. It just wasn't for us. The thing was, our son never missed him.

Not to descourage you, some people love their pet snakes.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:27 pm
@Pemerson,
Now THAT'S a reasonable caution and good food for though. Thank you.

I do worry about that sort of thing. I understand snakes can live for 15-20 years which means Mo could leave for college and I would end up with a snake. I'm not crazy about snakes. I like to pet them and touch them but I don't like to handle them so much. I could probably get used to it though.

At least he isn't asking for a spider.

I was wondering about "returns". We used to keep salt water aquariums with some rather exotic species. We were able to do trade ins -- larger fish were worth more so having someone raise them up was a good deal for the shop.
 

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