If your child has put a snake on their holiday list this year, don't panic. Snakes make pretty good pets, especially if they're given the proper care. Pets are pretty low maintenance, but they're not zero-maintenance. Your child will need to be dedicated to the care of their new snake. Here are four care tips that your child should be prepared to provide – or that you're prepared to assist with.
Adjust the Temperature and the Humidity
Many people think that keeping a snake warm is all they need to worry about. However, Not all snakes like the same temperature settings. One of the first things you and your child should do is research the temperature requirements for their particular breed of snake. Try to adjust the temperature to fall somewhere between their preferred high and low range. It's also important to maintain the proper humidity for your child's new snake. If you've chosen a tropical snake for your child, the humidity should be slightly higher than it would be for a desert-dwelling snake. The right temperature and humidity settings help snakes digest their food, and shed properly.
Don't Forget to Hold Your Snake
If your child is going to be given a snake, they'll need to be prepared to hold it for a few minutes each day. Snakes need to be held on a regular basis in order to get used to the sensation of being handled. If they're not held regularly, they'll resist physical contact until they get used to it again. It's better to simply hold them at least once a day. It's okay to go a couple of days without holding your snake, but try not to go much longer than that without physical contact.
Give it Time to Adjust to New Surroundings
Snakes need a while to adjust to new surroundings, whether that's coming home from the pet shop, or being moved to a larger living space. During the time that your snake is adjusting to their new space, give them a couple days of alone time. Place your snake in its new living space, with the lid in place, and allow to acclimate to the changes. After a couple of days of alone time, have your child take their snake out for some one-on-one contact.
Follow Proper Feeding Requirements
Snakes don't need to be fed every day. In fact, it takes a snake a couple of days to digest a meal. Depending on the size of your snake, your child can feed it live crickets or mice. Their prey needs to be alive or they won't be able to locate it to eat. Judge the size of prey based on the width of the largest part of your snake, and the widest part of the prey. If the prey is slightly smaller than the widest part of your child's snake, it's a good fit for meal time. Have your child place the prey in the habitat with your snake and close the lid. Once the snake eats its meal, it will need to rest for a few days.
Contact a pet store with reptiles for sale for more help.