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Old 06-01-17, 01:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New snake parent: help needed

I got a rainbow boa a week ago, and i wasnt quite prepared as i was expecting us to get a ball python... that being said, I love my rainbow boa but i have a BUNCH of questions.

1. How do i maintain humidity without harboring mold and promoting scale rot?

-i got a reptifogger and it was able to maintain humidity up to 80% but the whole enclosure got way too moist and i noticed mold in the moss. I quickly moved my snake into another enclosure so i can clean out the tank. Seeing as she wasn't fully acclimated yet, this kinda pissed her off, but I'd rather inconvenience her than leave her in bad husbandry.

-speaking of scale rot, I noticed her belly is a little pink, especially towards her tail....is this a serious concern? How do i differentiate between shed signs and infection signs?

2. How do i encourage her to explore her terrarium more? She has been living under a rock (aka her hide) this whole time. She's very active and inquisitive when i take her out of her tank but otherwise she's in a ball under her hide

3. In terms of feeding. We have a plastic container with holes for air where we will be feeding her. Is it safe to leave her there as is for 48 hrs after feeding, or should we put our heat lamp on it?

I realize some of these are stulid questions but i would really like feedback from more experienced pet owners as Petco people havent been very helpful.
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Old 06-01-17, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

1. Use mold resistant bedding and offer enough air flow without sacrificing humidity. I've used an EcoEarth and cypress mulch mix with success. Some of my rainbows are on EcoEarth only atm, since Amazon was out of the ReptiChip last I checked and I've used the last of the cypress. I don't want to use more cypress because of the environmental impacts, and I've also had trouble maintaining high enough humidity with the mulch by itself.

Unfortunately foggers and misting are not efficient ways at all to raise humidity. All it does is make everything wet, and create wild swings in humidity while dropping temperatures. Your best bet is to use a bedding that you can keep semi-damp that will slowly release humidity into the air, like the beddings I mentioned above. I pour just enough to make it slightly damp, if any water strains out it's too wet. If you use EcoEarth, it should also fall freely from your hands and not in clumps. If it's too wet, it will not dry out properly and that's when mold sets in.

2. To encourage her to explore more, you will have to offer more cover. More hides, more foliage, etc. It's also possible she's exploring, just not when you're awake. If you're using any lights at night, that could also encourage her to stay hidden as they can see any light we can see, and it will disrupt their night/day schedules.

3. Feed her in her enclosure.
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Old 06-02-17, 12:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

Reptichip is back in stock on Amazon just ordered some yesterday. Reptichip is what I use with my rainbows. You need a decent amount of airflow since the humidity is so high. I have a line of drilled holes on both sides of their containers to help with mine. It also helps to mix up the bedding.

Get some pictures of the belly. I honestly can't remember what either of mine look like during shed but I don't remember pink. I get that a lot with the others but don't remember it on the rainbows. Is she dull overall?

What are her temps? That's often a common mistake with rainbows so just wanted to check! She a Brazilian Rainbow?
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Old 06-02-17, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

If humidity is a problem, you can raise it by using the right bedding (as already stated). If even then it's still a problem (ie- you need to keep the bedding too wet to keep humidity up) you can create a layer of clay balls in the bottom, a separation on top of that (f.e. mosquito protection net), and your soil layer on top of that so that the soil won't mix with the clay balls. In 1 corner you can instead of soil put gravel so that you can poor water directly to the clayball layer. Basically you make the terrarium wet from the bottom up. This will release moist into the air consistently without causing your soil to be soaking wet. You'll have to poke some holes/stir the soil slightly about every week because the snake will lay on it and this may cause the air reaching down into the soil to be blocked. Healthy bacteria require oxygen... if oxygen is unavailable, unhealthy bacteria will start to grow and that is bad for the snake's health and stinky for you. Restricting airflow is not healthy in high humidity environments, and if possible should be avoided. If there is really no way around it and you have to restrict airflow, the terrarium should be opened a few times a day so that fresh air can find it's way in.

PS. This would also allow you to put live plants in there, if you like. But that may cause some extra work in maintenance.

You can't use UTH with this setup though.

PS. Don't spray the substrate to keep humidity up, spray the sides of the terrarium on the inside. This will already avoid a lot of problems.
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Old 06-03-17, 01:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

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Originally Posted by riddick07 View Post
Reptichip is back in stock on Amazon just ordered some yesterday. Reptichip is what I use with my rainbows. You need a decent amount of airflow since the humidity is so high. I have a line of drilled holes on both sides of their containers to help with mine. It also helps to mix up the bedding.

Get some pictures of the belly. I honestly can't remember what either of mine look like during shed but I don't remember pink. I get that a lot with the others but don't remember it on the rainbows. Is she dull overall?

What are her temps? That's often a common mistake with rainbows so just wanted to check! She a Brazilian Rainbow?
I've noticed rainbows get flushed bellies really easily if kept on belly heat, and they do turn pink when going into shed as well. The pink belly seems to be fairly standard across the board, even my garters get pinkish bellies. The color of the belly affects your ability to see it, though.
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Old 06-03-17, 03:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
I've noticed rainbows get flushed bellies really easily if kept on belly heat, and they do turn pink when going into shed as well. The pink belly seems to be fairly standard across the board, even my garters get pinkish bellies. The color of the belly affects your ability to see it, though.
Hmm I think the one is in shed now I'll have to go look at him. I keep mine with back heat so that might be why I never noticed. The only ones I really pay attention to when they are in shed are my lighter colored Retics since they always look like they have a burn or beginning of scale rot or something else horrible. I swear every time I get worried their dying even though I know better they just look insanely pink/red everywhere during shed.
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Old 06-07-17, 09:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

I have kept Rainbow boas myself, including both Brazilian and Colombian. Here are my suggestions:
1. Use a newspaper or paper towel substrate, provide a ceramic water dish that cannot easily be tipped, and provide a humid hide. I use plastic food storage containers. Cut an entrance hole in the top. For substrate, coco fiber or peat moss will hold moisture well. This should generate enough humidity for the entire enclosure, unless you are using an aquarium or something with a screen top (which I recommend against). If needed, cover up part of the top. I have found that Brazilians are more likely to remain in the humid hide than Colombians, but of course this also varies by individual snake.
2. The snake will explore when it's good and ready- most likely at night. It's normal behavior for a snake to want to remain hidden most of the time.
3. Feed the snake in its own enclosure. There is no valid reason to feed it in a separate container; in fact, moving it to feed it may distress it enough to cause it not to eat.
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Old 06-10-17, 07:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

Thanks for the responses. I wanted to update everyone that she had a whole shed, and since then have had no pinkness in her belly. I'm just gonna attibute that to pre shed symptoms. She didnt look any duller, than when we first got her but her eyes were a bit more grey. Now she has clear eyes, smooth scales, and a gorgeous sheen. She's a columbian rainbow.

Our glass tank has a screen top which is probably why we have humidity issues. We also use a night heat bulb. It heats up the tank just right for her temperature gradient but i heard ceramic heat emitters dry out the air less. Once my current bulbs burn out, im probably gonna switch it up. My substrate is eco earth with patches of sphagnum moss where she likes to burrow

I feed her in a separate container lined with papertowels with a water dish and hide. She has a tendency to get substrate in her mouth. I have had no feeding problems. She eats hopper/adult mice weekly.

Overall, she's sweet tempered and loves to slither around when handled or when shes out of her cage.
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Old 06-10-17, 03:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

Feed her in her enclosure, a few bits of moss or EcoEarth isn't going to hurt her. Moving to feed stresses them out, increases the chance of a regurge, and opens you up to more chances of getting bit.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

Agree with bsg. Only if there's a specific need to feed in a separate container (medical or if cohabbing being the main ones) just feed in the enclosure.

A bit of substrate won't hurt if all other things like temperature and humidity are ok.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

I have heard from numerous sources that feeding them in their enclosure can cause them to mistake me as food when i go in to handle her. Any thoughts on that?

I also know that the pet store I got her from fed her in a separate box.

My CRB is actually pretty active after eating a meal, and i the norm is that they tend to be more sluggish (but ultimately varies from snake to snake).

She doesnt seem to mind feeding elsewhere, but i think the main reason why i like feeding her in a separte place is because i can easily spot feces and urates on white paper towels, as opposed to that camaflouging in the ecoearth.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

They won't mistake you for food. Also look at tap training to further mitigate the risk. Don't necessarily follow what the store did - they may not be doing it right or there may have been more than one snake in the enclosure

Snakes are often active straight after feeding as they are still in hunting mode and seeing if there's anything else about.

I don't understand your comment regarding faeces etc. They won't defecate for at least a week after feeding and spotting faeces etc on eco earth is easy enough.
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Old 06-11-17, 01:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

Like danny said, they don't mistake you for food. Unless you're literally not doing anything but feeding them, they have plenty of activities that they won't just randomly zero in on feeding. Regardless of where you feed, you will still run a chance of a snake mistaking you for prey. The only way to combat this is to not smell like their food and practice cancelling cues so they know it isn't feeding (so like a tap with a hook for instance).

Activity after feeding will definitely depend on the snake, expect at least a few hours to a day of hyperactivity after eating, as they will still be in feeding mode, but many will get sluggish for a day or two after that.

The chances of your snake pooping while it's feeding is very slim. With EcoEarth, digging around a little will help you to turn up any buried feces/urates, as the shapes should stand out quite well, and white urates should stand out like a sore thumb against a dark background.
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Old 06-17-17, 08:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: New snake parent: help needed

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Originally Posted by TRD View Post
If humidity is a problem, you can raise it by using the right bedding (as already stated). If even then it's still a problem (ie- you need to keep the bedding too wet to keep humidity up) you can create a layer of clay balls in the bottom, a separation on top of that (f.e. mosquito protection net), and your soil layer on top of that so that the soil won't mix with the clay balls. In 1 corner you can instead of soil put gravel so that you can poor water directly to the clayball layer. Basically you make the terrarium wet from the bottom up. This will release moist into the air consistently without causing your soil to be soaking wet. You'll have to poke some holes/stir the soil slightly about every week because the snake will lay on it and this may cause the air reaching down into the soil to be blocked. Healthy bacteria require oxygen... if oxygen is unavailable, unhealthy bacteria will start to grow and that is bad for the snake's health and stinky for you. Restricting airflow is not healthy in high humidity environments, and if possible should be avoided. If there is really no way around it and you have to restrict airflow, the terrarium should be opened a few times a day so that fresh air can find it's way in.

PS. This would also allow you to put live plants in there, if you like. But that may cause some extra work in maintenance.

You can't use UTH with this setup though.

PS. Don't spray the substrate to keep humidity up, spray the sides of the terrarium on the inside. This will already avoid a lot of problems.
Am I just pouring enough water into the clayball layer or am I pouring water to dampen the soil as well?
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Old 10-19-17, 03:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Question Re: New snake parent: help needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRD View Post
If humidity is a problem, you can raise it by using the right bedding (as already stated). If even then it's still a problem (ie- you need to keep the bedding too wet to keep humidity up) you can create a layer of clay balls in the bottom, a separation on top of that (f.e. mosquito protection net), and your soil layer on top of that so that the soil won't mix with the clay balls. In 1 corner you can instead of soil put gravel so that you can poor water directly to the clayball layer. Basically you make the terrarium wet from the bottom up. This will release moist into the air consistently without causing your soil to be soaking wet. You'll have to poke some holes/stir the soil slightly about every week because the snake will lay on it and this may cause the air reaching down into the soil to be blocked. Healthy bacteria require oxygen... if oxygen is unavailable, unhealthy bacteria will start to grow and that is bad for the snake's health and stinky for you. Restricting airflow is not healthy in high humidity environments, and if possible should be avoided. If there is really no way around it and you have to restrict airflow, the terrarium should be opened a few times a day so that fresh air can find it's way in.

PS. This would also allow you to put live plants in there, if you like. But that may cause some extra work in maintenance.

You can't use UTH with this setup though.

PS. Don't spray the substrate to keep humidity up, spray the sides of the terrarium on the inside. This will already avoid a lot of problems.
I know that you aren't speaking to me in this thread but I was wondering if you could tell me how much water you need to poor into the clay ball layer... I have a 30 gallon tall fish aquarium that I am using? Where can I get the clay balls, how thick of a layer do you want under your substrate and how thick should the substrate be on top of that? My BRB loves to dig and burrow under her substrate (even though she has plenty of hiding spots with her hides and plant foliage) would that cause a problem with the clay balls? Also someone else was saying that if we can see the light that is used to heat with then it could mess up the day and night schedule. I am using the red heat lamp will that effect her at night time or is it ok?
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