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Zoo / Display animals?

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by Knox, Jul 13, 2007.

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  1. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Okay people, time for thinking caps and opinions (varied and conflicting :D ).

    We "know" that hides are important in our enclosures, right? That the animals get stresssed without them. Well, the thought hit me last night that Zoo animals (snakes and lizards) don't have hides - just things to hide "beside", because people want to SEE the animals.

    Now, these animals live a long and seemingly healthy life under these conditions. So, is it really VITAL to have full hides?

    And how do we KNOW the animals are stressed without the FULL hides, aside from regurgitations? Maybe some animals are more secure than others being out in the open?

    And are Colubrids diff. from large Pythons/Boas, who seem to never have full hides when most people keep them?

    I know this is a lot to digest, but I figured I would ask the people whom I respect for their opinions.

  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Personally I thnk that some zoos are still way back in the dark ages!:eek:
    I have seen enclosures that were nothing but the animal and bare ground and seriously doubt that under such circumstances, the animal would be healthy, let alone reproduce! A solitary animal lying motionless in the dirt to me indicates a stressed out animal and not something that I would enjoy looking at.
    Some zoos still work under the assumptions that zoos are solely for the entertainment of humans without regard for what is necessary for the proper housing of animals while others set a happy medium of having animals that are on display as well as giving them a place to hide. I have seen many zoo enclosures that were attractive, well thought out, and heavily planted or landscaped to where the animals were still largely on display but at the same time had visual barriers where they could retreat if the crowds of glass thumping goobers has gotten to be too much for them!

    Personally I find such displays much more interesting to observe even if you have to play the "where the heck is it" game!
  3. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    We must be really lucky here, all of the animals have hides at our zoo, well that I have noticed anyway. I know the huge retic has a door that she can go into that leads to a back room area where she can get away from the public. The African Rock Pythons have the same thing, as well as a lot of the other animals. Our zoo does not make them come out unless they want to.
    Apparently they claim they have a black mamba, I however have never seen it though as it always goes into the backroom, lol.

    tHe great thing is if the keepers notice you tapping on the glass or your kids they say something to you. If you cannot keep your children under control you are asked to leave. I have watched that happen to others a few times,

    I watched a little boy throw a cheeseburger in one of the big cat cages and the cat ate it. The keeper saw all of it and they were asked to leave the park.

    Back to the whole hide issue I personally think it is important to the animal so they can feel secure, but thats just my opinion.
  4. Typhanie

    Typhanie Elite Member

    I think it's more of for them to sense that they're safe. If the "hide" is enough that they can crawl into it and feel safe, even if you can still see them, it's a good hide.

    The trick is more getting to know your animal and what they are comfortable with. So if the zoos have a way of arranging things so that even though people can't see them, the animal still feels safe, I don't see why not. But if they are out in the open all the time with hundreds of people staring and banging on the glass, that has to be stressful for the animal.
  5. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I always provide full hides, but seeing a zoo on t.v. the other night got me to thinking about the reptiles that are housed in zoos. Not that I would ever change, because I, too, feel that reptiles need full hides.
  6. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    In an ideal world, every reptiles enclosure would include an exact replica of their native habitat. Unfortunantly, that is often difficult, or very expensive to achieve.

    In my opinion, all animals should have a retreat of some sort. In captive enclosures, this includes "hides".

    Zoos that do not provide adequate shelter to their animals are not serving the underlying purpose of such places. Zoos were supposed to be a place to promote conservation awareness, knowledge of species, and an interactive environment to learn. If a zoo is housing a species improperly, such as what merlin described, they are not teaching anyone anything except "its ok" to house that species that way.
  7. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    I've never given any of my animals an actual "hide". I have given them items to hide amoung, under or in, but never an actual hide.

    In the wild, many of us can find herps hiding in brush, beside a low faced rock, and even in a small patch of grass. This is what I provide to my animals. Of all the zoos I've been to and the two I've worked at, most have these types of hides. These aren't your traditional everyday keepers hides because most do not keep animals in these types of enclosures.
    That is why an actual box is provided for the animals.

    In my experience, most of the herps I have found had rarely ever been inside or completely under anything.

    It all depends on the housing. In most cases I have witnessed, I wouldn't second guess the animal's stress factor with it's living arrangments.
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Zane. I find the opposite to be true. All reptiles that I know off have an area that they retreat to. Whether to escape the elements, to sleep or for security. This would include most of the terrestrial reptiles while the arboreal ones also have hide areas. Whether it's leaves or bark or camo. Tree monitors for example are highly reclusive and don't came out much at all.
  9. kremlinator

    kremlinator Banned User

    Interesting thread Knox. LONG REPLY WARNING!!

    I think this actually varies from species to species quite readily. Zane is correct, I think, for the most part. There is a flaw in his logic, right here:
    "In my experience, most of the herps I have found had rarely ever been inside or completely under anything."

    While it holds true that many species would adhere to this, a great counterpoint would be to simply point out that many of the more reclusive animals simply would not be found. Maybe the reason you are finding said animals fully concealed in a hide is that they aren't among those species that utalize this behaviour? Perhaps you aren't looking in the right kind of hide?

    My blue tongue can't get enough of his hide. My crested geckos ignore hides and opt for a more partial covering by denser fake foliage. My female gold skink spends like 95% of her day in plain sight, without a care in the world. A clear spectrum is observed in these three examples, and only offering, for example, a partial hide might stress certain ones who have different requirements.

    In closing, I'd like to add a bit more personal flavour to this post. When I get a new animal, I ALWAYS provide some kind of hide. If I observe that they never use it, or use something else as I shall point out, I simply take it out. A prime example of this would be to contrast the cages of the crested geckos and the blue tongue skink. My first crested gecko had a sweet cave to hide in. I noted that she preferred to hide in the denser leaves, acting almost like a hide (or more like a partial hide like you said). I did the same thing with the blue tongue skink, giving substrate to hide in or a hide to hide in. He went for the full hide and lives in there alot of the time. As a sidenote to this point, my female gold skink has a hide that she rarely uses. She still uses it though, so I made it more of a hide/basking rock apparatus, making it a multifunctional part of her cage.

    A simple process of observation can tell you a definitive 'yay' or 'nay' on this question. Simply not offering a hide in the initial stages of captivity, even for captive breds, I would call ignorance; assuming that they don't want a hide is one manor of thinking. You won't know if they want one though, and you could be stressing them. If you decide to give them a hide at first, it won't stress them for it to just sit there without use. It demonstrates the preferance by the animal when it is presented with a clear option.

    As Rich said, "In an ideal world, every reptiles enclosure would include an exact replica of their native habitat. unfortunantly, that is often difficult, or very expensive to achieve.

    In my opinion, all animals should have a retreat of some sort. In captive enclosures, this includes "hides"."
    Once again Rich's words of wisdom echo the truth of the situation. In the real world these animals ARE presented with options for various hides. Use some common sense, try to find out their preference with the simple test that I use (trial and error) and go from there.

    edit: This post may be about lizards in the snake forum, but it rings true to the fact that different snakes need different things, same as lizards. It's an analogy, folks!
  10. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    In zoo's I've see the great and the horrorible. The benchmark in reptile care for me would be the Reptilium in Landu. None of their animals are given hides persay but given ground/leaf cover or substrate for burrows as per their needs and left to their own devices to make uses of what they have. No matter how long I look there's always 5-10 animals I just can't see or see very little from. This is what I try to do in my cages at home the one animals I do provide a hide are ball pythons it would just be outside the sizes of thier cage to provide that much cover. My Monitors and Leos are given ample substrat, branches and rocks so finding a place to fit under or between somthing is eazy. My WPCP aren't given a hide but have ample leaf cover and are rarely seen't during the day.
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Having appropriate cover, be it loose substrate, flat rock or dense leaves is still a hide.
    A hide doesn't have to be an artificial box. There aren't many of THOSE laying about in the wild!
  12. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Interesting that you say that, Merlin. I was just noticing this morning how my smaller snakes DON'T use their nice hides, but instead just burrow under the Aspen.

    And to think, I took the time to drink all that Quik and then paint them and everything.
  13. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    I'm not saying that they do not need hides, I'm saying that hides are not always something an animal hides under. Such as my anaconda. She has many spots where she can completely conceal herself however she chooses to "hide" in a little divet on either side of the cage. The leo hides among a patch of grass while it has plenty of fully concealable areas to hide in. I found rattlers often asleep next to rocks and logs. As with other herps.

    But, I've also found them completely under rocks and other debris.

    I'm just saying that conceal isn't always what we may think it to be.
  14. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Zane, I agree with what you are saying. Animals do often hide beside things or among grasses.

    I believe we all agree here. Our reptiles need SOME way to feel secure, be it a plastic cave or a log to snuggle up to.
  15. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I got you now Zane. I agree. I think the main problem is we often don't provide enough cover in all temperature areas of the enclosure. Often there is a hide place at one end only. So when they want that temp they will use the hide. But otherwise they make do with whatever they can find.
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