Do you want to start breeding snakes? These NACs, new pets, are more and more appreciated by individuals.
As fascinating to observe as they are to handle, snakes offer certain advantages compared to more traditional pets: they have no hair or feathers, are calm and live in a well-defined space.
The only difficulty is to faithfully reproduce their natural habitat in a terrarium. To achieve this, the first step is to choose a terrarium adapted to your snake. Indeed, the shape and size of your terrarium will depend on its species, its age, its adult size and its natural environment. Also, find out which material to choose for your snake terrarium and where to install it in your home.
What size terrarium for my snake?
The snake terrarium must reconstitute as faithfully as possible its original biotope and microclimate.
Depending on its species and its habits, you will have to choose a more or less large, wide or high terrarium and equip it accordingly (substrate, branches, rocks, etc.).
The age and size of your snake are obviously to be taken into account. A small snake placed in a very large space may be stressed. A large snake placed in a confined space will also be stressed.
It is therefore very likely that you will have to change terrariums during the life of your snake, depending on whether you adopt a young snake or an already adult snake. It is best to choose a small terrarium for young snakes before changing to a larger model.
Terrariums for snakes with semi-arboreal habits
Many species of snakes are semi-arboreal, meaning they are comfortable on the ground as well as in trees. This is the case of the wheat snake, the king snake of California, the love snake, the royal python or the boa constrictor.
Don’t forget to learn about the habits of your snake: some species will spend more time on the ground than in the air, and vice versa.
Depending on the species, you will have to opt for a terrarium that is longer, wider and higher. Your terrarium will have to allow you to have a quality substrate on the ground to facilitate the movement of your snake, hiding places, rocks and branches to climb on.
What materials should I choose for my terrarium?
Snake terrariums come in 3 materials: glass, wood (OSB) and plastic (PVC).
Glass terrariums are particularly aesthetic and offer more light to your snake.
Glass is also appreciated for its ease of daily cleaning, although it is more fragile and heavier (and generally more expensive to purchase).
If you can, prefer an all-glass terrarium, which is easier to heat (you will need a simple underfloor heating mat). If your terrarium has a wire mesh hatch on the top, you risk heat loss. It will then be more difficult to obtain the ideal temperature for your snake.
OSB Wooden Terrarium
OSB wooden terrariums are more economical than glass terrariums. They usually consist of a wooden structure and a glass front.
Wood has the advantage of retaining heat, which makes it easier to heat the terrarium.
Nevertheless, wood is still a material that is sensitive to moisture. It therefore requires more maintenance and is more difficult to clean.
PVC terrariums combine the advantages of glass and wood.
They are more resistant (unbreakable), more insulating (therefore easier to heat), and easier to clean. Another advantage is that they can be stacked! Convenient if you want to breed several species of snakes.
Qualities that give these terrariums a long life span. This explains their rather high prices.
What facilities should I plan in my terrarium?
Your terrarium will have to reproduce the living conditions of your snake’s natural environment, implying specific needs in particular in terms of light and temperature.
A variable temperature
Snakes have a particular physiology, requiring variations in temperature…
You will need to provide hot and cold spots, on the ground or high up in your terrarium using heat lamps or hot plates.
The installation of a thermometer and/or thermostat at different places in the terrarium are essential to control these temperatures.
A specific light
Terrarium lighting is also an important point. Indeed, light is indispensable for the well-being and development of the snake. It ensures that the snake’s metabolism is well maintained.
UVB rays (naturally present in sunlight) are essential for snakes because they allow them to synthesize vitamin D3. The installation of UVB ultraviolet lamps is then recommended for their good health.
A sufficiently large water trough
Snakes, although they drink little, need water to live.
Remember to provide a pond/drinking trough large enough for your snake to bathe completely. Avoid edges that are too high so that your snake can get out easily.
Where to place my terrarium?
Your terrarium should be placed high up to avoid any undue stress to your snake.
Choose a quiet room, with little traffic to ensure its tranquility.
Finally, choose a room with a temperate temperature, so as not to influence the temperature set up in the terrarium.