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Old 02-05-18, 03:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Last week I got a Russain rat snake baby. He (or she) is currently housed in my Brooks kingsnake's old tank. While that tank was fine for my kingsnake for his first year with me, it seems it won't be big enough for long with this new active, growing boy or girl. Also, with this tank we've got the "big giant hand" problem again. The noise of opening & closing the sliding lid combined with the big hand reaching down at them, is just scary for the baby snakes. Will say, the Russian certainly recovers a lot quicker than the Brooks. So far I'm loving the new guy's temperament! But I'd still prefer a front door so I'm less likely to scare him.

What would be a good size for a juvenile Russian? He seems to be making use of the whole tank, especially his tree & greenery, though it's only 12" high. I don't want to put him in a huge cage yet, but would like something that could last for the next year.

Right now I'm thinking, 24"l x 24"w x 24"h. Maybe it won't be too big for a wee baby, but will to give him height for the climbing he seems to like. The hope is to give him room to roam comfortably for now & the upcoming months until he's ready for something larger. Once he's outgrown the cage, it can be used for a gecko.
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Old 02-05-18, 04:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Since you know that your new baby will grow quickly, why not get the full-sized adult enclosure for him now. I place my baby snakes in their full adult sized cages immediately after they get out of quarantine. I provide them with a number of different hides to choose from and they do very well. It would save you time, money and energy. Just a thought...
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Old 02-05-18, 06:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

I think you could out it in its adult sized enclosure and just add some extra hides to keep it feeling comfortable. You can just do plastic bowls or planters and cut them for cheap temporary hides.
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Old 02-05-18, 11:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Try going by your local Goodwill store. You should find lots of appropriate sized wood or plastic bowls. Simply cut a hole in the side (like a cartoon mouse hole) and place it in the enclosure. I've been using these for years with great success and they usually cost less than $2 each.
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Old 02-06-18, 07:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Getting a little away from the OPs question here, but since I have no experience with Russian Rats (cool pickup, by the way. They seem to be gaining popularity in the hobby) I thought I would just throw my two cents at the hide thing...
With younger and smaller snakes I've had success using plastic take out containers as inexpensive, or free, hides. I especially like the ones you get when you buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Buy yourself a delicious, already cooked meal, then wash out the bottom section of the container, cut a hole and you're good to go. They're black, so look good as well as block light, and low fitting so offer lots of security for the snakes.
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Old 02-06-18, 10:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
Try going by your local Goodwill store. You should find lots of appropriate sized wood or plastic bowls. Simply cut a hole in the side (like a cartoon mouse hole) and place it in the enclosure. I've been using these for years with great success and they usually cost less than $2 each.
good tip. I use any dollar store around me to find bowls or colored storage bins as well. cut an opening and sand the edges and you are good to go.

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Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Getting a little away from the OPs question here, but since I have no experience with Russian Rats (cool pickup, by the way. They seem to be gaining popularity in the hobby) I thought I would just throw my two cents at the hide thing...
With younger and smaller snakes I've had success using plastic take out containers as inexpensive, or free, hides. I especially like the ones you get when you buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Buy yourself a delicious, already cooked meal, then wash out the bottom section of the container, cut a hole and you're good to go. They're black, so look good as well as block light, and low fitting so offer lots of security for the snakes.
I have a chinese food takeout dish that I use as well. I also saved the plastic pots from some plants my wife bought and used those. had to trim the height but they are so thin, it is easy.
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Old 02-06-18, 11:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Thanks to all for the replies. The suggestions for cheap hides made me smile. The baby is currently in his little Daisy sour cream container & I've got a little black take-out container drying in the drain board. It was formerly filled with salsa. One of my kingsnake's hides is from take-out Chinese. I used a lighter to carefully melt the edges where I cut it. It leaves the edges smooth & rounded. He also has a clay flower pot saucer I got for next to nothing from Michaels because it was already broken in a way that was perfect as a warm hide to use below the RHP. But the Russian is spending at least half his time climbing in his tree. For the Russian, a lot of hides on the floor of the cage aren't enough. So far he really is proving to be semi-arboreal. I'll need a lot more height & items for climbing.

Looking back at my post, I realized I should have added something. The problem isn't just putting a baby into a huge adult enclosure. Have to admit I, also... um... well... I don't want to shell out so much money on one right now. I just dropped a large chunk of change on the new cage for my Brooks. Plus, I'm planning to add a gargyle gecko. So I thought maybe something for the gecko could be used first for the snake. Maybe? Do you think? My plan for the Russian's adult cage is something like 48"w X 24"d X 48-60"h. I really do worry I'll never find my baby in there.

In truth, the Russian is the snake I really wanted to begin with but was put off by the size of enclosure one would need, as well as the difficulty of finding one. Their price was also a put off for me as a first time snake owner. At Repticon I ended up falling for the Brooks. Though I don't regret that, I have to admit that he really hasn't been the right type of snake for me. At least, he's not right as my only snake. It hasn't stopped me from loving him but I still yearned for a rat snake, especially a Russian. We're only a week into the relationship, but this new baby is much more the type of snake I wanted. He's less scared, more outgoing & adventurous. At least, he's like that as long as a hand isn't coming down on him from above.
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Old 02-06-18, 12:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

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Originally Posted by kudzu View Post
Thanks to all for the replies. The suggestions for cheap hides made me smile. The baby is currently in his little Daisy sour cream container & I've got a little black take-out container drying in the drain board. It was formerly filled with salsa. One of my kingsnake's hides is from take-out Chinese. I used a lighter to carefully melt the edges where I cut it. It leaves the edges smooth & rounded. He also has a clay flower pot saucer I got for next to nothing from Michaels because it was already broken in a way that was perfect as a warm hide to use below the RHP. But the Russian is spending at least half his time climbing in his tree. For the Russian, a lot of hides on the floor of the cage aren't enough. So far he really is proving to be semi-arboreal. I'll need a lot more height & items for climbing.
re-purposing is the most direct and efficient form of recycling. I love it.

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Originally Posted by kudzu View Post
Looking back at my post, I realized I should have added something. The problem isn't just putting a baby into a huge adult enclosure. Have to admit I, also... um... well... I don't want to shell out so much money on one right now. I just dropped a large chunk of change on the new cage for my Brooks. Plus, I'm planning to add a gargyle gecko. So I thought maybe something for the gecko could be used first for the snake. Maybe? Do you think? My plan for the Russian's adult cage is something like 48"w X 24"d X 48-60"h. I really do worry I'll never find my baby in there.
I do the hand me down enclosures for mine too. I have plans to build custom enclosures so I am building them as the snakes get near outgrowing their enclosures. Then everybody gets sized up to the next enclosure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kudzu View Post
In truth, the Russian is the snake I really wanted to begin with but was put off by the size of enclosure one would need, as well as the difficulty of finding one. Their price was also a put off for me as a first time snake owner. At Repticon I ended up falling for the Brooks. Though I don't regret that, I have to admit that he really hasn't been the right type of snake for me. At least, he's not right as my only snake. It hasn't stopped me from loving him but I still yearned for a rat snake, especially a Russian. We're only a week into the relationship, but this new baby is much more the type of snake I wanted. He's less scared, more outgoing & adventurous. At least, he's like that as long as a hand isn't coming down on him from above.
very cool. I kind of want a rat snake the more I read. Colubirds calm as they get older I have been told. we have a yearling and she is way better than she was as a hatchling. I have 2 MBK that are about the same age and one is calm while the other is still a little squirt and wiggles all the time. It is interesting how different the same species can be.
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Old 02-07-18, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Here is the wee Russian, doing a good job of blending in with his tree. He spends a LOT of time up there. The tree is only about 12" wide & 11" tall. Am sure he would appreciate more height.




IDvsEGO, my kingsnake is certainly less timid now that he's older. He still gets stressed by handling. He's not defensive, like doesn't nip or musk, but always seems happy to get back in his cage. He then avoids me for a while afterwards when I'm doing housekeeping in his cage. It makes me feel bad. So I handle him enough to ensure I can do so when needed, but have decided to just enjoy in a mostly hands-off relationship. His personality could still evolve and handling may become less stressful, but whatever happens, I'll accept him as he is. We like watching him doing what he wants to in his enclosure. I upsized his enclosure, much larger than I'd initially thought he would need, so I could create lots of room for him to explore & have areas of interest.

Will accept the Russian the same way but already I know he's braver and less stressed with handling. Have only held him twice as he is still knew, but he's calms quickly & recovers quickly as well. Since he's only my second snake & they are two different species, I've no way of knowing how "average" their temperaments are. But I sure do enjoy having them.
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Old 02-07-18, 08:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Cage size for juvenile Russian rat snake?

Good pick, russians are very hardy snakes. I have a large adult Korean, too. It too is extremely hardy, easy to care for. My Russians just came up from brumation, they should be breeding size next year.
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