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First Snake?!

Discussion in 'Pituophis (Pines, Bulls, Gophers)' started by YellowOctopus, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    I know for about a year I've been saying I'm gonna get a snake. BUT. Finally! I'll be ready in about 2-4 weeks.

    So today I had a couple extra hours and stopped by the local pet store that I had found had a Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus deserticola. Unfortunately, they sold it back in November. But. They have two Sonorans (P. m. affinis) that are probably 6 or 7 months old.

    I'm probably going to pick one up (I do have prior experience with snakes, I've helped a local horticulture park nurse a 13+ year old Florida king back to health) in two or three weeks. I'm REALLY excited.

    I'm having trouble finding much information about Sonorans. One site showed a picture of a Great Basin and said it was a Sonoran. Does anyone have any good caresheets for a Sonoran?
  2. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    OK, so here is what I have found. Always make sure you have a water bowl in the enclosure. The enclosure should be between 2 feet by 3 feet or 2 feet by four feet. A tip on cage size for snakes is if you take the floor measurements, which is the length and width, and multiply them together you should get the length of the snake or bigger. So for a 6 foot snake you could do 2 feet by 3 feet. For the humidity, room levels (40%-50%) are fine. For the cage temperatures, the hot side should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the cool side needs to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can go down to 70 degrees at night. The snake itself will get to be about 6-7 feet and some reports are close to 8 feet. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Hope this helps. They are really easy snakes to care for from what I have heard.
  3. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member


    I had always thought the tank width was supposed to be half the length of the snake, but I like your way better. It gives the snake more space. I'll have to get a bigger tank at some point.

    The only semi-reliable-looking thing I could find (online) on Sonorans said that they get 5 feet, 6 tops. I just want to confirm that that's incorrect and they get longer?

    Also, should a snake setup have a basking spot? How hot should that get? I'd never thought of that before.

    Thanks again.
  4. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    Another couple of questions.

    Does anyone have a preferred substrate for Pituophis?

    I've heard a few suggestions that say that meals should be smaller animals than you'd normally feed, for example, instead of one adult mouse feed two hoppers. Any thoughts?

    Is full-spectrum lighting necessary for a P. c. affinis?

    Any thoughts about subterranean PVC tunnels?

    Thanks so much!
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I keep all my snakes, including my bullsnake, on aspen

    I am not quite sure where that information comes from and I know of no reason for it. Pits are perfectly capable of handling the same feeding regiment as any other snake. And feeding multiples just doubles the amount of non digestable wastes.


    They are fine if you choose to use them but make sure that they are accessable to you and you will be able to extricate the snake from them if needed.
    But with a good layer of aspen the snake will worm down into it if it so desires.
  6. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    Thanks Merlin.

    The advice about multiple smaller items at feeding time came from Philip Purser's "Good Snakekeeping." The idea was that gopher snakes raid rodent nests in the wild, so more, smaller prey items would be more natural. He also suggested that some Pituophis have trouble keeping larger meals down, and this is a way to avoid that.
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I am not familiar with that particular work.
    While they would indeed not hesitate to raid rodent nests that they come across, that would hardly be the entirety of their diet. I have observed bullsnakes in the wild consuming wood rats as well as big frogs!
    I feed my bull using the same feeding regimine that I do my other snakes.

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