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First Time Having A Snake, No Idea What I'm Doing

Discussion in 'Boas' started by Serenes, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. Serenes

    Serenes New Member

    Hello All! I'm new here and new to being a parent of a reptile. *BACKSTORY*
    Up until now I've only ever had cats and dogs. I've always loved reptiles and have wanted a snake for as long as I can remember, but my mom wasn't a fan. I'm now 22 and living with my boyfriend and 2 cats and finally convinced him (he's not too interested in snakes) to add a snake to our family.
    Anyway, I went in to a pet store on Sunday (So two days ago) without the intention of buying, but I fell in love with a 1 month old black and white Rosy Boa. I purchased him on the spot and named him Beatlejuice. The pet store was LLL Reptiles so of course I dragged every bit of advice out of them, but I feel like they were a bit nonchalant. I bought a pretty tall glass terrarium with a screen top as recommended to me by them (although looking into it I'm scared he will hurt his little nose if he tries to escape). I also have a heating pad underneath the left hand side of his cage, 1 hiding spot on each end, and a little water bowl. They didn't recommend a thermometer although I'm most likely going to get one, and they also said I could keep the water in the cage 24/7 since the screen top will keep it from causing excess humidity.

    I took him home and set him up in a seperate room from my cats in case he gets out. My cats don't care for other animals, and would most likely steer clear of him. They refuse to even kill the bugs around the house so if he does get out it probably won't be an issue, I just want to be cautious.

    When I first put him in his cage, he was very excited and curious. He would slither all around the cage and whenever I would come in the room he would come up to the glass and watch me. I haven't taken him out yet as I was told not to handle him or really bother him at all in the first week until he has been fed, and then I know to wait 24 hours after that before I can really handle him.

    Anyway, he seems a bit more lethargic now and a little more reclusive. Whenever I come in the room while he's out he will slither back inside on of his hiding spots. He's been burrowing all around the cage so I feel like that's a good sign that he's not too cold or too hot. I also have a dim little lamp that I keep on in the center of the room just so he has a little bit of light because I was told they don't care for light too much.

    I feel like their advice just wasn't enough. I'm scared I'm in way over my head, and I just want to do right by this little guy. Please give me all the tips you have on Rosy Boas. Should I keep his water in his cage? Is it okay that he sleeps at night? When I do feed him should I put him in a shoe box? If so, how should I set it up? It's Mid October now, what should I do come winter? Thermometer suggestions? Do I need to take him out with a hook? What do I need to know about shedding? What are signs that he's ill? I know this is long and I probably seem super paranoid, I just want to be the best snake mama I can be.
  2. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Yes fresh water should always be available.

    They will become more active during the day and sleep at night during winter months, let him sleep whenever he wants.
    Not necessary, and it can make feeding more difficult from the stress of being taken out and relocated.
    Check your thermostat on the heat mat (If you don't have a thermostat for your heat mat that needs to be done and installed yesterday. It could seriously hurt your snake) check surface temps and make sure all temps are where you want it.
    Pangea makes a good one, but as long as it is digital with a probe you will be fine.
    No, if you need to hook a boa you are doing it wrong in my opinion, especially for something small like a rosy.
    He will be alittle more stressed when shedding, especially when in "blue" (That's when the eyes fog over, and the foggy color of the scales is most pronounced, usually lasts a day). Often they won't eat while in a shed cycle.
    Abnormal lethargy, coughing, gasping air, slimy discharge from nose and or mouth. blisters, scales that look infected or dying. crusty around vent, eyes, nose or mouth. dark red gums sometimes with blisters. very very tiny crawling insects dead in water, crawling all over snake or inside enclosure. Abnormal firm mass under skin, especially on belly or near vent...
  3. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Can we get dimensions and pics of the enclosure? The screen won't hurt his nose. Also what substrate are you using?
    This is correct but it's more like 48 hours after feeding. If he still has a solid lump in the belly it's too soon to handle.
    Even nocturnal animals need adequate light to cycle through the day.
  4. Serenes

    Serenes New Member

    Hi wow thank you so much for your response, it helps a lot. I'm not sure the dimensions of his terrarium, eyeing it looks about 3x1x2. For substrate I got aspen snake bedding by Zoo Med. Thanks especially for the tips on signs of illness, I will need to look in to what breathing looks normal because as I said I'm a total noob with all of this. I posted a couple of pictures, he was more energetic when I got home from work. It's hard not picking him up as he looks so Darn cute.

    I also meant to ask about spot cleaning, do you dig through to see if there are spots or do you just surface check? I don't want to bug him by probing my finger around there, especially while I'm letting him get used to his new environment.

    Attached Files:

  5. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    For spot cleaning they will defecate on the surface where you can see it most of the time, I usually will also remove a small area around it for any urates that soak in. Good question though.

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