Introduction: Bringing the Outside In, Creating a Vivarium for a Carpet Python
I wanted to create this Instructable for anyone that owns a carpet python or anyone who is considering owning such an amazing animal. I wanted to share my knowledge of animal husbandry and my passion for reptiles with people. I have had Zeus my carpet python for a little over a year now and its been awesome to watch him grow and take care of him and i look forward to sharing my knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.
DISCLAIMER: With any pet you should make sure you do your research months in advance making sure you understand the full commitment you are about to undertake. Never make an impulse buy when it comes to a living creature it will just end up with the mistreatment and neglect of the animal. With this in mind, this is geared towards a specific species of snake and should not be considered the only way of doing this, this is what works for me and my animal so take it as you will everyone's experience will differ and adjust accordingly so that you keep your pet happy and healthy for its long lifespan.
Step 1: Get Your Supplies
You want to begin the project by gathering your basic supplies, the things you need include:
Appropriately sized Aquarium or Snake specific cage, in this case a 55 gallon Aquarium
- Appropriate sized tank is dependent upon the size and species of snake in this case everything I refer to is for a 4 ft to 5 ft Jungle carpet python. Keep in mind this is not its forever home but will house it for some time
Appropriate wattage Heat bulbs
- I use a 60 watt daytime bulb and a 50 watt nighttime bulb, any brand is fine but Zoo Med or Exo Terra is the best.
A good heat fixture with day and night sockets and ceramic bases for the bulbs
- I use Zoo Med mini deep dome light fixture
A digital thermometer
- Essential for ensuring a proper heat gradient for your reptile
A spray bottle of any size designed for use with animals
- Make sure this bottle is only ever used with animals and nothing else
A screen cage lid
- You don’t want an escape, snakes can be hard to find and are amazing escape artists, make sure it’s right for the size of your cage and is locking
Zoo Med forest floor bedding
- It’s made from cypress mulch great for holding in humidity for long periods of time
- Do not use pine shavings for snakes, it will cause respiratory problems
A hide rock large enough to house the snake
- Snakes need security you want to make sure your hide is big enough to accommodate but small enough where you’re animal touches all sides for a sense of security.
A water bowl
- You want a water bowl large enough for the snake to completely soak his body in
- Lots of fake plants to provide decorative and natural appearance to the tank
- Perches, place for the snake to rest on while basking
Step 2: How to Begin
You want to begin the setup of your snake cage by first cleaning the cage you intend to use. You want to make sure you use either a reptile safe cleaner or you can use just really really hot water. You DO NOT want to use any type of soap or cleaner cause it will kill your pet. Once Your cage is clean begin with the substrate, you don't need to wash the substrate because this kind is pre-washed. You will want to use the entire bag and spread it out so you have an even surface of 2 to 3 inches on the bottom of the tank.
Step 3: Add the Bigger Decor
For this step you want to add the bigger decorative items. All of these items include the main things you need to keep your snake healthy and happy. Begin by placing the hide rock on the side of the cage you plan to have be the warm side. Place your water bowl on the cool end in order to avoid evaporation. Some evaporation is necessary to maintain ambient humidity but you don't want to replace the water twice a day if you don't have to. Just as a side note you will want to make sure you change the water bowl daily or at least once every two days or every time the water is fouled by waste to avoid making your animal sick.
Step 4: Add Your Basking Perches
After placing the larger items in the cage you now want to focus on adding perches for your snake to rest on while basking. You can use just about anything you want for the perches as long as they are strong enough and resist growing mold. In this case I bought mine at PETCO, these perches just suction cup to the side of the tank and provide a good support for the snake to bask on. You want to place at least one directly underneath the heat lamp about 3 inches from the top of the cage. The other perch I have i place on the cool side of the tank in order to allow me to create a platform across the two perches using the plants, and vines. I will continue showing you how this works in the next step.
Step 5: Add the Decorations and Fake Plants
After adding your perches you want to begin to add the fake plants and other decorative items. When adding your plants you want to do so in such a way that you create a sense of security for the snake. I put one of my long draping plants in the corner over the water bowl, this gives him a sense of security while hes soaking, this is where i often find him. The other plants I have I arranged and wrap around the perches to give him an almost Multi-level habitat with vines, plants and perches. You can go about it however you want as long as it is accommodating to your animal and that it looks good.
Step 6: Finish Up
Have someone to interact with the snake while your getting your enclosure ready. The last steps will consist of putting your animal back into the cage and setting up the heat lamps and locking the screen top to the cage. you want to make sure you screw the bulbs into the sockets and plug everything in, you will want to turn your daylight heat lamp on an place it over the basking spot. When it comes to lighting you want to make sure you provide a basking spot in the high 80's to low 90's in the hot spot with an ambient temperature of about 75 to 80 degrees. At night you want the temperature to drop slightly and you should have a night bulb that keeps the tank at about 70 but no cooler than 60. Make sure you create a daily light cycle for your snake, since these snakes are from Australia they require about at 12 hour photo-period of light on, light off. Lastly, Give the snake a good misting once a day, he usually wont drink from his water bowl but he will drink the water droplets and it will also aid in keeping the humidity up. And to end it off enjoy your pet make sure to clean the cage regularly and spend as much time as you can with your animal and you will have a very rewarding experience.
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