All about Snake Vivariums
If you have been thinking about getting a pet snake, snake vivariums are one of the first pieces of equipment you will need to research and purchase. In fact, do not bring home a snake before you have a vivarium and it is set up for your snake. The vivarium is your snake’s home and it needs to be set up just right to keep your snake healthy.
In addition to the vivarium, you need to get a heating pad, heat light (optional), digital thermometer and substrate, otherwise known as bedding for the bottom of the tank. A snake needs a bowl to drink from and several hiding places. Also make sure that your tank has a cover because snakes like to try to escape whenever possible.
The most important consideration when buying snake vivariums is to get the right size for your snake. There is a rule of thumb to follow, and that is: the tank must be 50% of the size of your snake. You need a cover on the top which locks in place, so you have to be sure that you still have plenty of ventilation for your snake.
Heat is very important to a snake because as a reptile, they are cold-blooded and cannot regulate their own body temperature. That’s why having a heating pad and placing it underneath one half of the vivarium is of ultimate importance. A digital thermometer is also essential so you know the temperature is just right and never too hot or too cold.
50% of the tank needs to be warm and the other 50% cooler. Some people use a heat light as well to help out on the warm side of the vivarium. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot. It really depends on the type of snake you have as to what the temperatures should be. A general rule is around 75 degrees on the cold side and 85 degrees on the warm side. Some of the warmest climate snakes need to have as high as 95 degrees on the warm side and 85 degrees on the cool side. Make sure to adjust the temperatures specifically to your species of snake.
Some people buy heat rocks to put in their snake vivariums instead of a good outside heating pad. These rocks should be avoided altogether. They are meant to go inside the tank but they get too hot for the snakes who try to lie on them. The heat level is not able to be regulated and your snake can get severe burns from heat rocks.
Substrate for snakes is really a matter of preference. Two materials you should never use are shavings of pine or cedar. Beyond that, you can use newspapers, paper towels, aspen and coconut fiber. On top of the bedding, you will need a water bowl so your snake can drink whenever he wants, and a minimum of two different places for your snake to hide (referred to as hides). You can buy hides at the pet store or make your own, as long as your snake has somewhere to go to get out of the open. These hiding places help the snake to feel safe.
You should continue decorating your snake vivarium with plants and branches which can be used for climbing. You need to be very careful with live plants so that they do not attract pests or cause diseases. It is often best to go the safe and less complicated route of having fake, plastic plants. The snake won’t know the difference. Some people put a large rock in their vivarium or a few smaller ones. This is okay as long as you buy a sterilized rock at the pet store or learn how to sterilize them yourself. Never take a rock from outdoors and just set it in the tank because it can have bacteria which can be very dangerous to some snakes.
Snakes make very good pets for some people although it’s not exactly like hugging a puppy. Paying attention to a good vivarium set-up can make the difference between having a sick snake or a very healthy one.