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Zoos and Us

Discussion in 'HH General Discussion' started by Knox, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I think this may have been covered a few years ago (maybe I started the thread...), but as I sit here and watch my snakes move around I am wondering something.

    Snakes thrive in zoos with minimal cover - certainly not the great hides that we provide. The zoos want people to actually see the animals, so they don't give them many places to hide.

    In addition, a hide doesn't always mean a cave or a hole. Leaf litter is a hide to many snakes - much like the aspen my snakes bury themselves into, and not always under the caves I provide.

    And, my snakes will often just curl up beside the log in their tub as well - out in the open when a perfectly good home made hide is right beside them.

    So... Going for visuals in a display cage, how important ARE hides? If the snake can bury under aspen, or curl up beside a log, do we always need to provide caves?

    Certainly, those that keep their snakes in tight fitting quarters, 28 qt tubs and such, aren't providing the same environment as a forest on the west coast, yet their kingsnakes thrive.

    I am not taking either side, here. Just thinking out loud and wondering about the care of captive snakes.

    I will continue to use hides, because the amount of time they ARE in there, I feel good about providing them. But would they be just as "happy" without them?

    Your turn! What are your thoughts and observations?
  2. Jflores

    Jflores Elite Member

    Knox that's an interesting point you made, I too have noticed this behavior on some of my snakes. for example 2 of my 3 Hog noses refuse to go inside their hide they simply curl up on top or to the side in between their tub and hide, however my albino hog cannot get comfortable unless he has his log.
    and like my hogs 2 of my three corn snakes also refuse their hides, they only scurry into their hides as I am trying to remove them out of their tub however my little cream simply loves to be covered if it's not in the hide then chances are you will find it curled up under its water bowl.

    And my Children's Python never uses any of his 5 hides, as a matter of fact it's favorite spot in its tank is right under the doors, Him and I always have a game of whose the fastest when it comes to opening the doors.

    Personally, I feel that the reason some snakes in captivity do not use their hides is simply because they do not feel in danger and their prey is given to them on a schedule. In my opinion, snakes usually hide due to self preservation and the fact that they need to sneak up on their prey.
  3. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    I was just going to say something similar. We provide hides for the same reason we provide heat and humidity gradients. The snakes know what they need, and will go and utilize what they need when they need it. When a snake is feeling safe and secure, perhaps it has learned to trust you and knows you are no danger, it may decide it doesn't need to be hidden. But perhaps a new person comes over, or a new scent wafts into the cage. Then the snake may feel in danger, and if we don't provide that snake any hides because he "never uses them", then we will have a very stressed out and defensive snake on our hands.

    As for zoos, I think they usually provide larger and more elaborate enclosures than we do. Leaf litter could be a perfect hide, so long as the snake truly feels hidden. On the other hand, I have seen zoos that provide rather inadequate care for their reptiles for money reasons. So I'm not really sure we should use them as a comparison for what we should be doing.
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The reason we offer hides in captivity is for security. Most of my Ball Pythons don't use their hides but they have the option to use them when they wish. Every once in awhile I see them in there but they prefer to lay beside them, on top of them or no where near them. lol My cornsnake uses her hides regularly. Occasionally she will be just laying out but she is typically peeking out of a hide.

    I think enclosures should at least offer the hides for the security factor. The snakes know the hides are there if they feel threatened and that alone is helping to keep their stress levels down.

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