55 Gal too big?

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R3dguitarist
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55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 3rd, 2013, 9:06 pm

I think it's time to move my lil Bull snake from his 15 gallon tank. He's about 23", do you think a 55 is too big of a jump?

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Berkeley Boone » December 4th, 2013, 5:18 am

Nope. I bet he enjoys it!
--Berkeley

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 4th, 2013, 9:14 am

Alright, I thought it would be fine but I'd heard all sorts of stories of Ball Pythons and Corns not thriving in tanks that were "too big".

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Zach_Lim » December 4th, 2013, 9:26 am

R3dguitarist wrote:Alright, I thought it would be fine but I'd heard all sorts of stories of Ball Pythons and Corns not thriving in tanks that were "too big".
This may be due to the sheer amount of "available" space causing stress to an animal. That is, with such a large enclosure, some snakes may not feel secure if not enough hide areas are provided.

If such a large enclosure is furnished to suit the animal's need to hide and bask, it should work.

I figured you have an adult Pituophis, and not a neonate, correct? It'd be tough to find a neo in that large of a tank! Imagine trying to feed it!

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 4th, 2013, 9:36 am

The tanks wernt too big. They may not have been geared appropriately.

If you take two normal footsteps, you will have spanned the distance of a standard 55 gal tank.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 4th, 2013, 9:40 am

Zach_Lim wrote:
I figured you have an adult Pituophis, and not a neonate, correct? It'd be tough to find a neo in that large of a tank! Imagine trying to feed it!
I've got both, I'm referring specifically to the lil guy though. He isn't a neonate, he's just shy of (though it's been a while since measured.... he might be directly at) 2 feet. The 2 ft mark is too big for the 15, at least I feel, and thus I want to move him but the only open tank right now is a 55 gal. I always feed in separate tanks anyways.
Kelly Mc wrote:The tanks wernt too big. They may not have been geared appropriately.

If you take two normal footsteps, you will have spanned the distance of a standard 55 gal tank.
That's the way I figured it; it's not at all large given the area I find them in in the wild.

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Post by craigb » December 4th, 2013, 10:29 am

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 4th, 2013, 10:54 am

craigb wrote:If you have an issue with him finding food, you may want to develop a routine. Most folks use a cardboard box, plate, or bowl for the food item. I hope you are using thawed. But it is a simple effective way to keep the critter fed. Remove the box, plate, or bowl after the item is eaten. Repeat at next feeding.

You probably know this already, but lots folks troll the site and this might help.
I take my snakes out and put them in an empty tub, then offer them (via tongs) thawed mice or rats. If they don't take it, I'll leave them in with it for an hour or so and afterwards let them back into their tanks. I never feed in the tank because they might ingest substrate or associate the hand with food, that sort of thing.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Zach_Lim » December 4th, 2013, 11:50 am

R3dguitarist wrote:
craigb wrote:If you have an issue with him finding food, you may want to develop a routine. Most folks use a cardboard box, plate, or bowl for the food item. I hope you are using thawed. But it is a simple effective way to keep the critter fed. Remove the box, plate, or bowl after the item is eaten. Repeat at next feeding.

You probably know this already, but lots folks troll the site and this might help.
I take my snakes out and put them in an empty tub, then offer them (via tongs) thawed mice or rats. If they don't take it, I'll leave them in with it for an hour or so and afterwards let them back into their tanks. I never feed in the tank because they might ingest substrate or associate the hand with food, that sort of thing.
That is an excellent feeding procedure.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by justinm » December 4th, 2013, 2:25 pm

R3dguitarist wrote:
craigb wrote:If you have an issue with him finding food, you may want to develop a routine. Most folks use a cardboard box, plate, or bowl for the food item. I hope you are using thawed. But it is a simple effective way to keep the critter fed. Remove the box, plate, or bowl after the item is eaten. Repeat at next feeding.

You probably know this already, but lots folks troll the site and this might help.
I take my snakes out and put them in an empty tub, then offer them (via tongs) thawed mice or rats. If they don't take it, I'll leave them in with it for an hour or so and afterwards let them back into their tanks. I never feed in the tank because they might ingest substrate or associate the hand with food, that sort of thing.
This is what I do as well. Just a tub that has some paper towels in it, so that the snakes can get a grip in there.

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Post by craigb » December 5th, 2013, 6:25 am

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55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 12th, 2013, 6:19 pm

R3dguitarist wrote:
craigb wrote:If you have an issue with him finding food, you may want to develop a routine. Most folks use a cardboard box, plate, or bowl for the food item. I hope you are using thawed. But it is a simple effective way to keep the critter fed. Remove the box, plate, or bowl after the item is eaten. Repeat at next feeding.

You probably know this already, but lots folks troll the site and this might help.
I take my snakes out and put them in an empty tub, then offer them (via tongs) thawed mice or rats. If they don't take it, I'll leave them in with it for an hour or so and afterwards let them back into their tanks. I never feed in the tank because they might ingest substrate or associate the hand with food, that sort of thing.
Why?

If your snake is properly hydrated, even if it swallows a decent amount of substrate, it's not big deal.

Or, just feed the rodent dry, rather than thawing it out in water, thaw it out at room temp.

Or, just leave the food item on a piece of cork bark etc.

It's just pointless to disturb a snake, and place it in a box to feed - in my opinion.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 12th, 2013, 9:30 pm

Crotalid wrote:[If your snake is properly hydrated, even if it swallows a decent amount of substrate, it's not big deal.

. . .

It's just pointless to disturb a snake, and place it in a box to feed - in my opinion.
I'd say it depends a lot on the type of substrate...if you get a jagged piece of orchid bark or similar, which may cause internal damage, why take that chance? Sure, a lot of herps in the wild get exposed to this sort of thing, and some indeed die, but when we're talking n=1 in someone's collection, it's hard to justify taking the "no big deal" approach.

I think the bigger advantage of feeding in a separate container has already been mentioned--I don't want my animals associating the enclosure lid opening with "here comes food"--I'd rather have them associate being placed in a special tub with that expectation/response. Less chance of getting inadvertently bitten by an over-eager snake that way.

Of course, this assumes that you want to open its enclosure for things other than feeding--like refilling water
dishes, cleaning, or even picking them up to hold them.

Unless you don't ever disturb your (nonvenomous) snakes by holding them. :P

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 12th, 2013, 10:17 pm

+1 to Chris, to me my snakes are friendly pets (willingly or not haha, I've got a few... "love nips).... I love to hold em and interact with em. And I am a very firm believer in the "don't take the chance" rule; if it's an inconvenience of a few cents or an inconvenience of a few seconds of time, I'll gladly sacrifice it to ensure the well being of the individual. That being said I very well know my boundaries and theirs, I know when it is not okay to disturb a reptile and at that point will leave it undisturbed unless the situation calls for it. And to the separate tub thing, indeed the idea behind it is to prevent aggression during handling in the event they associate the hand with food.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 13th, 2013, 3:24 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Crotalid wrote:[If your snake is properly hydrated, even if it swallows a decent amount of substrate, it's not big deal.

. . .

It's just pointless to disturb a snake, and place it in a box to feed - in my opinion.
I'd say it depends a lot on the type of substrate...if you get a jagged piece of orchid bark or similar, which may cause internal damage, why take that chance? Sure, a lot of herps in the wild get exposed to this sort of thing, and some indeed die, but when we're talking n=1 in someone's collection, it's hard to justify taking the "no big deal" approach.

I think the bigger advantage of feeding in a separate container has already been mentioned--I don't want my animals associating the enclosure lid opening with "here comes food"--I'd rather have them associate being placed in a special tub with that expectation/response. Less chance of getting inadvertently bitten by an over-eager snake that way.

Of course, this assumes that you want to open its enclosure for things other than feeding--like refilling water
dishes, cleaning, or even picking them up to hold them.

Unless you don't ever disturb your (nonvenomous) snakes by holding them. :P
I personally believe the whole, snakes associating every interaction as feeding time, is rubbish.

I don't keep non venomous snakes, never have, never will, only venomous. If I did, I wouldn't handle them (unless it was absolutely necessary), snakes don't want to be handled.

Like I said, if you feed the rodent completely dry, substrate doesn't stick to it. Or feed on a slab. Seems overkill to remove the snake from the enclosure.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Joshua Jones » December 13th, 2013, 5:04 am

Crotalid wrote: I personally believe the whole, snakes associating every interaction as feeding time, is rubbish....


...I don't keep non venomous snakes, never have, never will, only venomous.
Coming from someone who's never owned a snake that can be free-handled, I'm not sure how much weight to put on the first statement.
Crotalid wrote: If I did, I wouldn't handle them (unless it was absolutely necessary), snakes don't want to be handled.
Scientifically speaking, would you say bull snakes like to be touched more or less than being held in captivity? :lol:

What I mean is, you have absolutely no way of knowing this, especially with your admitted lack of experience with this entire family of animals. As this is a conversation about A) how a change in cage could affect the way this person deals with a species you've never kept, B) what size cages work best for that species, and C) how cage size might affect their feeding, I'm lost as to why you would feel the need to argue a point that you don't necessarily understand. Many people keep nonvenomous snakes strictly so they can handle them. Many are also a wealth of information on reptile husbandry. Rather than knock them for their keeping practices, you'll likely have much more luck asking questions. Why do they feed a certain way? What evidence do they have to support their ideas? Why do they like to handle their snakes? These kinds of questions help further everyone's understanding without engendering animosity between members. Continually trying to push a viewpoint that you're actually completely inexperienced with is just kind of asinine.

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55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 13th, 2013, 5:25 am

Surely because I keep solely venomous snakes where I don't free handle, my snakes should be showing signs of this 'food association' all the time? And associate every interaction (handling on hooks, changing water) as feeding time, more so than their non venomous counterparts that are regularly handled.. But they don't.

I think people mistake food association, for the snake wanting to be left alone and being defensive.

I asked why in my initial post, and said why I think it's pointless. Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake.

It's not knocking them, it's called a discussion. If you're not adult enough to participate without assuming the worst, then don't get involved.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 13th, 2013, 6:44 am

Crotalid wrote:Surely because I keep solely venomous snakes where I don't free handle, my snakes should be showing signs of this 'food association' all the time? And associate every interaction (handling on hooks, changing water) as feeding time, more so than their non venomous counterparts that are regularly handled.. But they don't.

I think people mistake food association, for the snake wanting to be left alone and being defensive.

I asked why in my initial post, and said why I think it's pointless. Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake.
Your assumption is faulty ("Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake"). Even individuals within a given species can behave wildly differently, let alone different species or families.

Getting back to a point I previously made, you are attempting to make a point based on your experiences with a small number of captive venomous snakes and generalizing your observations to ALL snakes. I am simply pointing out that such a generalization is invalid.

Does it make your experiences irrelevant? No, but realize they are one data point in the face of a large amount of data suggesting otherwise.

To borrow your phrase, if you're not adult enough to appreciate there are valid reasons for the husbandry practices espoused here (and many other herp-related books, discussion boards, etc.) that you may not identify with based on your personal observations of a subset of a wildly diverse grouping of animals, then don't get involved. :P :beer:

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Joshua Jones » December 13th, 2013, 6:45 am

Crotalid wrote:Surely because I keep solely venomous snakes where I don't free handle, my snakes should be showing signs of this 'food association' all the time? And associate every interaction (handling on hooks, changing water) as feeding time, more so than their non venomous counterparts that are regularly handled.. But they don't.
There is so much wrong with that statement...

First, many hots are ambush predators. A feeding reaction from my rattlesnakes usually looked a whole lot like being coiled up on a nice warm rock. Some are different, though. Some buzz. It is much different trying to figure out the temperament of a rattlesnake versus, say, a kingsnake.

Second, without having the ability to determine whether a hot wants to bite and escape or bite and feed, a bite can only be counted one way. Colubrids aren't so cut-and-dried. Many will bite, constrict, and try to swallow parts of your hand. That is not defensive behavior for most colubrids, hence the reason many colubrid keepers call this a feeding bite.

Third, making gross generalizations, based strictly on the fact that it's a snake is about as scientifically grounded as me saying that wolves can bark. (Why can wolves bark? Because, of course, dogs can bark.)
Crotalid wrote:I think people mistake food association, for the snake wanting to be left alone and being defensive.
What experience do you have with colubrids that would lead you to this conclusion?
Crotalid wrote: I asked why in my initial post, and said why I think it's pointless. Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake.
Again, two different species, two different genera, two different tribes, two different subfamilies, two different entire families. Not even close to a valid comparison.
Crotalid wrote: It's not knocking them, it's called a discussion. If you're not adult enough to participate without assuming the worst, then don't get involved.
Don't get it mixed up. First, you're telling people who actually use this method successfully that they are wrong about the way that they feed and about their firsthand observations of their snakes' behaviors. Now you're calling me childish because my stance, although logical and rooted in science and personal experience, is different than your own.

If you're not adult enough to participate without interjecting unfounded theories, arguing with actual experience, making assumptions based only on the suborder that the animal descends from, or getting your feelings hurt when someone notices a flaw in your logic, maybe it is you who should not get involved...

Or you could always prove me wrong. Do you have some worthwhile, relevant experience to share about keeping Pituophis spp.? Or is it going to be another attack on my maturity level, followed be more of your bull snake expertise that you picked up working with hots? If it's the latter, I would suggest you send it via PM. I'd like to see this thread back on the informative track that it was on.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 13th, 2013, 7:17 am

I use uniformity as a tool with my feeding to eliminate distraction and foster a calm feeding event, and I avoid loose sub ingestion. But it is plastic, and dictated not only by the snake, but its size, and whether it is alone (most are) and also cage design and entrances. Most of my colubrids in tanks I will feed them on the half opened screen while I spot clean or water the adjacent tank, or just watch because its pleasant to me. Neos I feed it upright standing paper bags, or at home, a small oatmeal box or similar. But I keep the bag, or container in the environment. And my bigger guys I feed them on their cork or basking shelves, offering it with forceps. But I have used other ways with other more eclectic animals, like arboreals, and when I fed large boas and pythons back in the day. Some snakes are different. If I had to feed my zonata in a separate box, he would never eat. I offer his prey on forceps when he is on forage in his environment.

An interesting note I have observed is that the forceps themselves do not seem to hold any visual meaning to the snake, whereas lizards that I feed with them, recognize them and approach them, even if they are empty and sticking out of my hand when I am adjusting something or picking up a water bowl.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 13th, 2013, 8:28 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Crotalid wrote:Surely because I keep solely venomous snakes where I don't free handle, my snakes should be showing signs of this 'food association' all the time? And associate every interaction (handling on hooks, changing water) as feeding time, more so than their non venomous counterparts that are regularly handled.. But they don't.

I think people mistake food association, for the snake wanting to be left alone and being defensive.

I asked why in my initial post, and said why I think it's pointless. Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake.
Your assumption is faulty ("Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake"). Even individuals within a given species can behave wildly differently, let alone different species or families.

Getting back to a point I previously made, you are attempting to make a point based on your experiences with a small number of captive venomous snakes and generalizing your observations to ALL snakes. I am simply pointing out that such a generalization is invalid.

Does it make your experiences irrelevant? No, but realize they are one data point in the face of a large amount of data suggesting otherwise.

To borrow your phrase, if you're not adult enough to appreciate there are valid reasons for the husbandry practices espoused here (and many other herp-related books, discussion boards, etc.) that you may not identify with based on your personal observations of a subset of a wildly diverse grouping of animals, then don't get involved. :P :beer:
My quote about a snake being a snake was in reference to that fact, if your snake is properly hydrated it doesn't matter what species of snake it is, it can swallow a good amount of substrate and digest it perfectly fine.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 13th, 2013, 8:37 am

Joshua Jones wrote:
Crotalid wrote:Surely because I keep solely venomous snakes where I don't free handle, my snakes should be showing signs of this 'food association' all the time? And associate every interaction (handling on hooks, changing water) as feeding time, more so than their non venomous counterparts that are regularly handled.. But they don't.
There is so much wrong with that statement...

First, many hots are ambush predators. A feeding reaction from my rattlesnakes usually looked a whole lot like being coiled up on a nice warm rock. Some are different, though. Some buzz. It is much different trying to figure out the temperament of a rattlesnake versus, say, a kingsnake.

Second, without having the ability to determine whether a hot wants to bite and escape or bite and feed, a bite can only be counted one way. Colubrids aren't so cut-and-dried. Many will bite, constrict, and try to swallow parts of your hand. That is not defensive behavior for most colubrids, hence the reason many colubrid keepers call this a feeding bite.

Third, making gross generalizations, based strictly on the fact that it's a snake is about as scientifically grounded as me saying that wolves can bark. (Why can wolves bark? Because, of course, dogs can bark.)
Crotalid wrote:I think people mistake food association, for the snake wanting to be left alone and being defensive.
What experience do you have with colubrids that would lead you to this conclusion?
Crotalid wrote: I asked why in my initial post, and said why I think it's pointless. Irrespective of what snake it is, it doesn't matter, a snake is a snake.
Again, two different species, two different genera, two different tribes, two different subfamilies, two different entire families. Not even close to a valid comparison.
Crotalid wrote: It's not knocking them, it's called a discussion. If you're not adult enough to participate without assuming the worst, then don't get involved.
Don't get it mixed up. First, you're telling people who actually use this method successfully that they are wrong about the way that they feed and about their firsthand observations of their snakes' behaviors. Now you're calling me childish because my stance, although logical and rooted in science and personal experience, is different than your own.

If you're not adult enough to participate without interjecting unfounded theories, arguing with actual experience, making assumptions based only on the suborder that the animal descends from, or getting your feelings hurt when someone notices a flaw in your logic, maybe it is you who should not get involved...

Or you could always prove me wrong. Do you have some worthwhile, relevant experience to share about keeping Pituophis spp.? Or is it going to be another attack on my maturity level, followed be more of your bull snake expertise that you picked up working with hots? If it's the latter, I would suggest you send it via PM. I'd like to see this thread back on the informative track that it was on.
For your information i have kept Boiga species and Dispholidus typus.

And again my quote about a snake being a snake is explained in my reply above.

I never said they don't use it successfully, i asked why. It is overkill to take a snake out and feed in a box, simple as that. I've already said how you can avoid substrate attaching itself to the prey item.

I have friends that keep bull snakes, they don't feed outside of the enclosure, yet their snakes are perfectly calm during handling. Why is this? Because their sole interaction with the snakes isn't for feeding. If the only time you interact with the animal is to offer food, then there may be a chance that they will associate every encounter as feeding time.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 13th, 2013, 8:58 am

Crotalid wrote:My quote about a snake being a snake was in reference to that fact, if your snake is properly hydrated it doesn't matter what species of snake it is, it can swallow a good amount of substrate and digest it perfectly fine.
As someone who lost at least one captive herp, albeit a lizard, to substrate ingestion/impaction this spring (maybe more, but only successfully necropsied one), I strongly disagree.

There is little to no harm to the individual snake in placing it in a separate feeding container.

That being said, it is readily apparent your mind is made up; perhaps others reading the thread will gain insight from both sides of the discussion, though.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by SurfinHerp » December 13th, 2013, 9:07 am

I have a decent little collection of colubrids, rosy boas, and ball pythons. I handle them about once or twice a week and use them in presentations for kids.

I think a 55 gal. tank for a 2 foot bull snake is much larger than needed, but should be fine if set up properly.

I usually feed my snakes inside their terrariums, but sometimes feed them outdoors in a specially built wooden box with a rock hide and climbing branches. I don't like to disturb them when it's obvious that they're hungry. Most of them will indicate that they're hungry by sticking their head out of their hiding spot and flicking their tongue more frequently than normal. Their gaze will also follow my movements. When I see this behavior, I don't just reach in and try to handle them. Instead, I'll gently open the lid and dangle a mouse in front of them using foreceps. They'll usually take it right away.

I think it's important to use a substrate that you know is safe for your snake to ingest. If you're really concerned about your snake ingesting the substrate, why would you use it in the first place? Their are many safe options available. I rely mainly on coco fiber, and also use sand for some species.

I try to handle my snakes mainly when I see them cruising around their enclosure, or when I need to clean. If a snake is coiled up in it's hide, I just leave it alone.

The result is that all of my snakes are friendly and safe for kids to handle.


Hope this helps!


Jeff

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Crotalid » December 13th, 2013, 9:10 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Crotalid wrote:My quote about a snake being a snake was in reference to that fact, if your snake is properly hydrated it doesn't matter what species of snake it is, it can swallow a good amount of substrate and digest it perfectly fine.
As someone who lost at least one captive herp, albeit a lizard, to substrate ingestion/impaction this spring (maybe more, but only successfully necropsied one), I strongly disagree.

There is little to no harm to the individual snake in placing it in a separate feeding container.

That being said, it is readily apparent your mind is made up; perhaps others reading the thread will gain insight from both sides of the discussion, though.
Problem with lizards is, a lot of them tend to lick the ground, and ingest substrate continuously - snakes do not do that.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by ThomWild » December 13th, 2013, 10:02 am

Crotalid wrote: Why?
I have a couple of charina that won't go near food if placed in with the enclosure, they have to be in a separate container or they will go no where near the food. I have another that won't take anything if I try to pick it up to put it into a separate container. So what do I do?
Kelly Mc wrote:I use uniformity as a tool with my feeding to eliminate distraction and foster a calm feeding event, and I avoid loose sub ingestion. But it is plastic, and dictated not only by the snake, but its size, and whether it is alone (most are) and also cage design and entrances. Most of my colubrids in tanks I will feed them on the half opened screen while I spot clean or water the adjacent tank, or just watch because its pleasant to me. Neos I feed it upright standing paper bags, or at home, a small oatmeal box or similar. But I keep the bag, or container in the environment. And my bigger guys I feed them on their cork or basking shelves, offering it with forceps. But I have used other ways with other more eclectic animals, like arboreals, and when I fed large boas and pythons back in the day. Some snakes are different. If I had to feed my zonata in a separate box, he would never eat. I offer his prey on forceps when he is on forage in his environment.
I think Kelly made a very important point: Know your animals! There is not a blanket statement or method that is going to work with every animal in every situation, even within a species. The best thing you can do is learn as much as you can so you have a nice tool chest to go to when a curveball is thrown.

-Thomas Wilder

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Joshua Jones » December 13th, 2013, 10:13 am

Well said, Jeff. The only thing I would disagree with is choosing substrates based on ease of use or safety. Not that it's in any way a bad idea, I just know that many people prefer to use subs that are more natural-looking or, in some cases, exactly the kind of substrate the animal would see in the wild. I see no problem with either method, provided that care is taken to ensure the animal's safety.
Crotalid wrote: For your information i have kept Boiga species and Dispholidus typus.
Congrats. I'm genuinely happy for you. I'm a big fan of boomers and cat snakes.
Crotalid wrote:And again my quote about a snake being a snake is explained in my reply above.
I know. I was referring to the fact that you generalized all snakes as not liking to be held. You have no basis to make that assumption. Not that you've yet named, anyhow...

Crotalid wrote:I never said they don't use it successfully, i asked why.


Nor did I accuse you of it. I said that you were arguing with people who had.
Crotalid wrote:It is overkill to take a snake out and feed in a box, simple as that.
It's still safer. Period. I've never had a rattlesnake bitten by live prey, but I still prefer F/T. Why? It's just safer. Besides, my personal experience (as well as that of many others) has shown me enough pros to outweigh the cons.
Crotalid wrote: I've already said how you can avoid substrate attaching itself to the prey item.
You've never seen a snake move around it's cage while eating? Nothing, short of complete immobilization can eliminate the possibility of a snake ingesting substrate while in their feeding cage. I've even seen them get some newspaper in there, despite using full sheets.
Crotalid wrote: I have friends that keep bull snakes, they don't feed outside of the enclosure, yet their snakes are perfectly calm during handling. Why is this? Because their sole interaction with the snakes isn't for feeding. If the only time you interact with the animal is to offer food, then there may be a chance that they will associate every encounter as feeding time.
Huh. Somebody was just telling me that snakes don't like to be held, but these ones that get held regularly don't seem offended. Weird. :lol:

As Chris said, all snakes are different. I've had pits that were dog tame, and others that would rap me on the knuckles every time I reached into their cage. Likewise, a hefty (even, possibly, unhealthy) feeding schedule can alter feeding response. There is no keeper out there that only opens their cage to feed their snakes. Even with hots, you're likely to open their cage three or four times for every time you feed them. You figure feeding is one, cleaning up poop is two, and spot-cleaning the substrate and water bowl is usually good for three and four.

If there's even a remote possibility that some snakes can be habituated to specific feeding schedules and practices, why not do whatever is in your power to keep your snake from getting an impacted bowel or some missing teeth from a bite? Even if you only open the pit's cage four times a week, you've just dropped the risks of bite-related injury and impaction by 75% It's hard for me to see that as a waste of time, no matter how you split the hairs.
Crotalid wrote: Problem with lizards is, a lot of them tend to lick the ground, and ingest substrate continuously - snakes do not do that.
This is not true. Snakes can and do ingest substrate through their rostral cleft while flicking their tongue.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 13th, 2013, 10:20 am

I once again side with Chris, different species have widely different personalities. If you are so diligently focused on hots, than take the example of C. ruber vs C. v. viridis... Almost anyone with experience in the field of crotalinae will tell you that ruber is renowned for being calm in demeanor, and viridis being renowned as a little spitfire from the depths of the 7th circle of hell. But even then, there is quite obviously differences amongst individuals of the same species. I've had a lot of experience with pituophis in the wild; some of them have been atrociously aggressive whereas others have been absurdly pacifistic. So to generalize them as "snakes are snakes" is unwise, and in some cases even dangerous. And lizards were mentioned; I have kept lizards for years and know for fact that they don't lick the the ground and accidentally ingest substrate, they strike at a food item and accidentally take a mouthful with it. This could happen with a snake too. Again, my pets mean a lot to me, so I am a strong proponent of why take the risk? It's quite simply stupid to risk the health of a beloved animal with the logic of "they should be fine". That's my 2 cents. And I don't mean to attack you, I'm just pointing this out for everyone. Everybody had their own beliefs when it comes to husbandry, I'm just explaining my own. If yours work for you, that's great. I'd disagree but hey, it's an innocent discussion where people are supporting or proposing their own ideas. It's not like we are diffusing a bomb, lets let some of the tension go :)

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 13th, 2013, 10:36 am

R3dguitarist wrote:And lizards were mentioned; I have kept lizards for years and know for fact that they don't lick the the ground and accidentally ingest substrate, they strike at a food item and accidentally take a mouthful with it.
Careful...you're making the same generalization about lizards as Crotalid has with snakes. 8-) Skinks and terrestrial geckos both lick the substrate occasionally while foraging.

But back to snakes: just because a prey item is dry doesn't mean it can't pick up substrate in the fur, or if the snake bites it such that it bleeds or otherwise leaks fluid it could pick up substrate. Even the snake's own saliva picks up substrate as it cruises around (or merely repositions) with the prey item hanging out of its open mouth. Not to mention, what if the substrate itself is moist?

I've seen all those things happen (and cringed at the substrate ingestion), but personally I haven't seen any direct results (illness/death); mostly because my n=2 and I know that's an insufficient data set to draw any conclusions either way.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 13th, 2013, 12:13 pm

My bad Chris :P

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kent VanSooy » December 13th, 2013, 12:38 pm

Rosy boas offer a curious insight into this learned feeding response: wild-caught adults can be generally fed any which way you want, and never seem to "learn" anything, even after decades in captivity. Some captive-born boas will do everything they can to bite the hand that feeds, including strikes that the keeper previously thought wouldn't reach his flesh.

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by R3dguitarist » December 13th, 2013, 1:43 pm

Huh... That's fascinating!

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 13th, 2013, 3:16 pm

I feel I should clarify, because I very earnestly consider tactile enrichment an important value in keeping snakes. So I don't let feeding event dictate the sub. I just don't let them eat in the sub. Sometimes its as simple as a quick lift to their shelf or other sub free surface. They don't seem to mind.

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Post by craigb » December 18th, 2013, 1:25 pm

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 18th, 2013, 3:19 pm

back to topic...

Huh? I don't see how anyone has gone off topic at all. Traction and burrowing opportunities are the criteria for how some keepers choose a sub for a species. Some keepers do not find it important, others prefer to keep on the side of not thwarting it, if only for observational relevance. But I also find it to be a courtesy to my snakes to have more diversely usable surface area.

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Post by craigb » December 19th, 2013, 5:39 am

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 19th, 2013, 8:00 am

Where do I criticize what others do?

I use the word courtesy to describe providing options. I think provision is courteous, what do I care if the animal knows what it is?

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Re: 55 Gal too big?

Post by Kelly Mc » December 19th, 2013, 9:19 am

Sometimes people don't do the best they can . Sometimes its impossible to concede. Sometimes its just inconvenient. I have a list of improvements I want to give my animals that would comprise a book. I will never attain my goals perhaps, ever.

But the world is full of the myopic and obtuse. They are everywhere but in the privacy of their own thoughts anyone, can consider things they had not before.

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