Snakes are very easy pets to keep because they do not require daily exercise outside the cage. They will spend their entire life in the cage quite happily, which is why you should to make the cage as close to the natural snake habitat as possible. In order to so this, you need to do some research on what this habitat looks like in the wild so that you can have similar features in the enclosure.
There are certain elements of this cage habitat that are extremely important in keeping your pet snake healthy. The most important one is the temperature and the humidity of the cage. Snakes are reptiles and cold-blooded, which means they cannot generate their own body heat to keep them warm. Their bodies adapt to the temperature of the air around them.
Whatever type of cage you decide to use should have a temperature control and a thermostat so that you can raise and lower the temperature when needed. In the natural habitat, when they get too warm they move to a colder area where they can cool down. If you keep the temperature in the cage steady in the range of 25 - 30, this is the perfect temperature during the day and you can lower it to about 24 at night. You still need to have cooler places in the cage to which the snake can move when necessary.
Heating pads over or under the cage can provide this source of heat and incandescent bulbs will also serve the same purpose. Ceramic heating elements are quite effective as well. You need to provide a shade from the source of heat so that you protect the snake from it. It is very dangerous for the snake to come into direct contact with the heat source in the cage. Although a hot rock may look very nice in the cage, it is not suitable for the habitat for a pet snake because snakes can get burned in this manner.
Some species of snakes like to bask in the heat. If you have such a species, you need to provide a basking location in the cage with an incandescent lamp shining on one specific spot. You can include pieces of driftwood for the snake to lie on, but make sure you have the wattage in the lamp to provide heat appropriate for the species you have.
Lighting in the cage is also important. Some snake species need a specific kind of UV lighting in order to remain healthy. These species need the UV light in order to produce Vitamin D3 and without this they can develop a calcium deficiency in their metabolism. Natural sunlight is best for this, which you can obtain by having the cage close to a window, but if you have a glass cage, the glass will block the UV rays. For other species for which light is not as essential, you do need to have lighting so as to replicate day and night in the wild.
To provide the right levels of humidity, when you have the temperature at the right level, you can mist the cage on a regular basis. You can also do this by placing a plastic container in the cage with a hole through which the snake can enter and exit. This is necessary during the shedding period when the humidity helps the snake shed all of its skin.
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