Learn All About Feeding & Caring for Your Pet Gopher Snake
The Gopher Snakes Home
Gopher snakes do not need an elaborate place to live. Probably the main consideration is to make sure the enclosure can be well secured. If you do not secure it the snake can push if up enough to get out. All it needs is for an opening that its head can fit through and they are gone. This snake is a good escape artist so make sure you do not have to search the house for it as all members of the family may not like snakes as much as your do.
If you often take your snake out to handle it or let it exercise you can keep it an enclosure as small as 10 gallons. If you keep it enclosed most of the time you will need at least a 20 gallon tank or enclosure for it to be happy. There have been reports of a gopher snake getting up to 8 feet long so make sure you have a large enough enclosure for the future. The length of the enclosure needs to be at least two thirds the length of the snake to give them room to stretch out.
Gopher snakes do not need special substrates. As long as it can provide warmth and comfort to the snake then it is good to go. However, there are some important things to note in their substrate needs. Shavings such as aspen are good substrate but do not use cedar as it could cause problems with their breathing. Potting soil is good as it is easy to clean up after them. Sand or gravel is not recommended because it is not a good absorber. The use of these will just promote growth of bacteria. Shredded paper is fine as long as it does not have ink on it. A product call Repti-turf is very good as well as indoor / outdoor carpet and Astro-Turf.
Right Temperature for a Gopher Snake
Like most snakes your pet snake needs to have the proper heating in their enclosure. A good way to do this is with a heating pad under half of the enclosure. This way they will have a warm area and a cooler one. The warm area should be kept at seventy five to eighty five degrees Fahrenheit. This is a necessity since it is needed in digesting their food. At night time, the temperature may drop so the temperature must be regulated.
Feeding the Gopher Snake
Gopher snakes are very easy to feed as they will eat frozen and thawed mice or rats and they only need to be fed about every 10 days. The good thing about this is that you can keep a good supply of food in your freezer. Although in the wild these snakes prey on live creatures do not feed them live ones in captivity. They could at times turn on the snake and could bite it causing injury.
Water is a must for Gopher snakes
Your pet gopher snake requires clean fresh water at all times. The container must be big enough for him to get its body into as they occasionally like to bath. Snakes often defecate in their water, in which case it should be immediately cleaned and disinfected.
Handling Your Pet Snake
When you handle your pet snake you must be delicate but at the same time unyielding. A baby gopher snake can be picked up with one hand, but an adult snake needs to be picked up with both hands. They will not coil around your arm like a python but will try to take off. To control it just gently turn it head in the direction you want it to go
At some time in having a pet gopher snake you will probably get bit. There are 2 types of snake bites associated with your pet. The strike is one where they are not happy with you. They do not hang on. While this does hurt the bite is not poisonous and only needs to be disinfected. The other kind is the feeding bite and is a little more serious. The reason being is that it's trying to eat whatever part of you that it has its teeth in. The more you try to get away the more it holds on. A little bit of grain (not rubbing) alcohol in its mouth will make it let go almost immediately. Listerine will also work. Be sure not to get it into its nose. Biting is rare so do not let this deter you from getting a gopher snake for a pet.
The Gopher Snake As A Pet
While Corn Snakes and Ball Pythons are probably more popular as pets you should consider a gopher snake. They probably have the best overall temperament of this type of snake. They are very similar to the Corn Snake in their housing and feeding needs. They are easy to feed as they will eat frozen mice and need to be fed only every 10 days or so. They do not mind being handled and will only bite when provoked or hungry. Even strangers will be able to handle a trained pet snake. Before you determine what type of snake to get as a pet read up on the Gopher Snake and you just might decide this is the pet snake for you.