Snakes for pets!

If you follow me on instagram you will already know what type of pets I have. If you don’t you may have guessed from the title of this blog lol!
Please note there are pictures at the end of this blog.
I’m the odd person that doesn’t have normal animals for pets lol!
Let me tell you why and how we’ve ended up with snakes for pets!
It started a few years ago when Alfie was a baby.
Ste always wanted a dog, he’s grown up around them so naturally he wanted them. Unfortunately I’m allergic to them though and I told Ste that he should start getting up extra early then to prove he could for if we got one. Anyway, we didn’t get one. Bonus I won!
Nope. After much discussing about cats, rabbits, hamsters and all the other traditional pets we got a pet Python instead! I know I don’t get it either but the next best thing for a pet was a snake! It simply ticked all the boxes.  So we picked up Fluffy. A yellow belly spinner Royal Python (known as a Ball Python in America because of their tendency to coil up into a ball for any given reason).
It wasn’t long before I was hooked! He was so cool and interesting. We loved watching him and he was so tame as well. Really chilled and beautiful colours. So naturally when he outgrew his first vivarium we got him a bigger one and decided to get another snake to fill his old one!
Along came Bellatrix. A red female hognose. Now these snakes are generally small snakes and grow to around 2ft. Ours is massive at around 3 to 4 foot long lol, some friends of ours always comment on how big she is ha ha.
We did get a few more in time. Nagini who is a Florida King snake, who’s black with almost yellowy green markings.
Then came Fang who is a female lesser pastal Royal Python.
I thought that was it but then my husband ‘rescued’ a female Jungle Jaguar Carpet Python – Jungle Jaguar Carpet Pythons are actually a cross bread of two Australian Pythons – Jungle and Coastal. She is yellow with black markings. We named her Narcissa. She’s an angry bugger and Ste is the only one that has handled her, she still attacks him as she wasn’t looked after properly previously, plus being young they tend to be a bit more defensive. She is getting much better though.  The defensive nature will subside as she grows larger and isn’t as threatened, plus regular handling will help. She was kept in a plastic tub not much bigger than a shoe box and now she’s in a 4ft viv…
We ended up buying matching vivs which meant we had another spare to fill… So we got a Leopard Gecko. It’s very different having a Gecko. Live food for one (which I am not keen on!) and they’re a lot more difficult to hold, being both delicate and very quick.
One thing I didn’t want when we first got a snake was the mice in the freezer. However now I am used to it and we have a drawer now just for them. At the end of the day they are just frozen meat.
We don’t mix any of them. They each have their own viv set up specially for the heat and humidity they need.
They eat dead mice or rats, it depends on their size as to what they eat. Our biggest is Fluffy at 4ft the first we bought. He is fussy and doesn’t like rats so he eats mice which isn’t enough for him so we have to give him a couple a week, but that’s what he likes lol. Royal pythons have a reputation of being fussy eaters, he went over 7 months without eating at one point. We watched his weight, he barely lost any and remained as active as Royal Pythons are, so we just had to wait and keep offering him food every other week. Eventually he started eating again and has been fairly consistent since.
Surprisingly they all have their own personalities! I know, I know, it sounds silly but they do…
Fluffy is scared of everything and everyone. He sometimes fasts.
Bellatrix is now a lazy sod and sleeps all the time! Though she does like a stretch every now and then digging her way through her sawdust (not actual sawdust it’s a special snake substrate).
Nagini hates loud noises. Is constantly on the move and pops up to say hello every time you come into the room.
Fang is very chilled and inquisitive. She’s the same as Fluffy, a Royal Python, but unlike Fluffy has never missed a meal.
Narcissa is well.. an angry b**** lol. She likes climbing in branches and coils around them like  Kaa (the snake from Jungle Book). She’s the only one of our snakes that likes to hang out at the top of her viv, the rest all stay put on solid ground.
Our gecko, Norbert is very scared and skittish and because we don’t want to hurt him we don’t get him out as much as the snakes. Gecko’s are fragile and he’s very fast lol. As he gets bigger we will get him out more. He’s also quite inquisitive and spies on you walking around the room.
We do have some normal pets though. We also have fish ha ha! It’s about the most normal thing we have pet wise lol. We have a group of Guppies, Neon Tetras, various Shrimp, assassin snails and more recently two female Betta’s.
People have a lot of negative things to say about snakes – dirty, aggressive, difficult, slimy, dangerous etc. Fact is we have been taught to fear them (babies and young children aren’t scared of them) – it’s a learned behaviour right from the snake in the bible trying to give Eve an apple, countless documentaries showing them attacking food and only showing the dangerous kinds.  Below are what we’ve found after 3 years having our little zoo.
They’re very clean – their urine is solid, so easy to spot and clean, they only need to poo once a every other week, sometimes once a month.. it doesn’t smell (except for Bellatrix) and again easy to clean. They won’t go near their own waste but will move away from the area until it’s cleaned. The vivs are cleaned monthly but spot cleans done when needed.
They are not slimy! They have different textures the Pythons and the King snake are all silky smooth, Bella our Hognose is rough. They only odd thing is because they’re cold blooded they are very cold. When you think they’re in a hot viv all day with a heat range between 23c to 33c it’s strange they are so cold to the touch.
In terms of danger, these snakes are a lot less harmful than a dog, a playing dog can give a nasty nip which hurts more than snake bite and draws more blood. A scared dog much worse. An aggressive dog could kill, these snakes can’t. Even a cat can give a nasty scratch or bite when it’s had enough. Snakes only react out of fear or when they mistake your hand for food, they’re not out to get you. Like any pet treat them well and they’ll play nice – also make sure you wash your hands after handling mice/rats.
Ste’s been bitten a couple of times, nothing ever serious! It doesn’t hurt it’s more of a shock and then a oh it got me! Ste likens a bite to pricking yourself with the corner of a fresh piece of paper. Only two of ours have bitten him – the King snake, which thought Ste was food (he was being fed at the time) and Narcissa who’s classed as a intermittent experience required snake because they are snappy and defensive when young but mellow out loads when adults. Downside is when they are adults they’re a big snake so remain intermediate – 6ft to 13ft is a lot of snake to handle.
The most taxing thing about looking after snakes is giving them fresh water. Yes they need heat, one side of the viv has to be warmer than the other (a hot side and a cool side), but once you’ve got a thermostat and set it up it’s actually very easy. We used to use heat bulbs but recently moved to heat mats – to give the snakes more room (all bulbs must have a protective guard to stop the snakes burning themselves which take up loads of room) and to save on the electricity bills.
They truly are fascinating and rewarding pets, no they are not fluffy but they do like to snuggle in (even if it’s just to steal some heat). They can be cute – Nagini our King snake pops his head up and presses it to the glass every time we enter the room and watches us like a meerkat. Fluffy and Fang our Royal Pythons have cute little faces and puppy dog eyes.
If you consider getting a snake, research is key! They can live to a very good age, so be prepared for a long term pet. All of ours will live longer than 10 yrs and the Royals over 30 yrs possibly to 50! We can’t think of better companions.
Plus how cool is it to say.. yeah I’ve got 5 snakes..
Pictures of pets below……
Our fish are named in groups.
Slytherin
Hufflepuff
Ravenclaw
Griffindor

Our gecko Norbert…..

Fluffy…..

Bellatrix….

Narcissa…..

Nagini……

Fang……

2 thoughts on “Snakes for pets!

  1. Becster

    Fascinating stuff! I’ve never thought of snakes in much detail if I’m honest. I don’t fear them as such but not sure I’d want one as a pet. I do like the idea of a Gecko though – always loved Geckos!

    Reply

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