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Old 12-22-03, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why do I listen??

Well, if you all remember I told you about skate, the corn snake who escaped for about a month and was found in the hockey gear. We're having a new cage built for him right now, and he's currently being housed in a modified rubbermaid with a large square area of mesh in the lid. The mesh was taped down really well on both sides (top and bottom of the lid) with this clear packing tape, and it was holding very well. My mom was getting pretty stressed though, because she didn't think that tape was strong enough to hold him in. She wanted me to use duct tape, because she thought it was stronger. So, after many days of nagging and lecturing, I finally just got frustrated and conformed. I took off the packing tape and put on the duct tape. I made sure it was secure and everything, and then I went to do other things.

About an hour later, I go back in there, and I look and see skate up under the lid. My first impression was 'Oh look, he's trying to escape again,' but then I looked a little closer and saw he was UNDERNEATH the duct tape, and wasn't moving. The tape must have peeled back, and he tried to escape and stuck himself to it.

I carefully ripped off the tape with the snake attached, and took him into the bathroom. I ran a sink of warm water, and put him in there with his head up. You wouldn't believe how stressful this is. He's not just a little stuck, his skin is flattened out all along his body and totally stuck to the tape. I'm just glad he didn't get his face or eyes stuck. His vent was out a bit, and it was stuck, too. This is totally freaking me out, as I don't know if I'll be able to get him off without damaging his skin... There were even some scales stuck to the tape around his body, so he must have been trying to thrash around and get off. Of course, that had only gotten him more stuck.

It took me a good hour and a half of soaking and trying to peel him off the tape without hurting him to finally get him off. I had to roll the tape around and stretch it out to loosen it, and even that wasn't helping much. It was really hard to have my little snake so helpless and stressed. I got him off by pushing his skin back off the tape slowly, and eventually just peeling his body off. He's still got some sticky stuff left on him, but I'm not about to take it off. It will come off with the next shed.

This all happened two days ago. That was his feeding day, but I waited until today to feed him to make sure everything was alright. It was very stressful. It's just like having one of your kids have a near death experience. Once I got him off the tape, I broke down and started crying. He's doing well, though, and ate his pinky fine. I have him in a large critter keeper for now. It's smalle than the rubbermaid, but I don't want to deal with tape anymore, specifically duct tape.

That's the last time I listen to my parents about something reptile related. I'll just do it my way, and I should have done it my way all along. Jeez. Anyways, skate is fine, although he does have some torn scales and stuff, but he's due to shed soon, so he'll be fine. That snake has been through more than his share of trauma for a lifetime. He's the only one who's had such bad experiences. I'm going to be very careful what I do from now on, as I don't want to cause any more unneeded stress. I'm just glad I could get the poor thing off the tape without too much damage. His vent was fine. I think he musked when he got stuck, and that helped a little to prevent it getting stuck. I'm just glad he's doing well.


-TammyR
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Last edited by Oliverian; 12-22-03 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 12-22-03, 06:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity why are you using a rubbermaid WITH mesh? Rubbermaids don't need mesh lids or any mesh at all. Simply drilling/melting holes into the sides and lid is sufficent for airflow.

Just a suggestion Glad he is o.k.

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Old 12-22-03, 06:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good to hear that the little guy is OK.

Let this be a lesson to one and all...snakes will get stuck on tape if they can.

I have read a disturbing amount of tales about people using tape in or around their snake's enclosures with similar results.

Drilling / melting holes is definitely better than using tape. If you really need to stick things together...hot glue would be my recommendation.
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Old 12-22-03, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Best way to deal with adhesives is using vinegar. Helps to dissolve it off instead of pulling. Your mom's suggestion was pretty much the same as your idea, just a different kind of tape (duct tape has more hold than packing tape, so your snake would've loosened the lid even easier and still gotten stuck), tape should never be used, regardless of what kind it is. Either way, now ya know Glad your little guy is ok.
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Old 12-22-03, 08:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yikes! I'm glad to hear that your poor little guy made it through that ordeal. As Marisa said, you only need to drill some holes into the sides of the Rubbermaid and use the original lid. That way you don't have to worry about tape. Invictus and I have our corns in Latch-Toppers with holes drilled in the sides, and they work wonderfully. We haven't had one of them escape from those yet.
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Old 12-22-03, 09:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Tape and snakes do not mix; it's been said soooo many times. This has happened before to people and it shouldn't still be happening, it's avoidable. I hope more people will learn from your experience.
Glad to hear he is okay but please try and augment your cage design so that tape is no part of it, there's no need. Snakes have an uncanny knack at getting stuck. It's a hard way to learn but I am glad you managed to get the tape off, well done!
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R
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Old 12-22-03, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, I learned something. I guess I just saw someone using a rubbermaid with mesh for geckos, and I figured it would work for snakes as well. As you know, I'm quite new at keeping reptiles, so it's all a learning experience. I'm glad you all pointed out my mistakes. I actually figured the mesh would be a better idea because it offered more ventilation, better visibility, and I didn't have the equipment or the knowledge to just drill or melt holes. Now I know. He isn't in that cage anymore, though. I have him in a large critter keeper, and soon to be a large custom cage. He's doing well, and I'm glad he didn't have more serious damage done.

Linds: The packing tape was holding much better than the duct tape. I don't know if this is usually the case or not. I wish I would have known to use vinegar before. I was trying to think of things I could use to help get him off, but I couldn't think of anything.

And on a side note: I didn't really 'pull' him off. I guess I may have worded it wrong, as when I put it like that, it sound like I just peeled him off the tape. I actually soaked him for a long time, and slowly worked the tape off. It wasn't like I was just ripping him off. I was freaked out, but I went about it slowly because I know I could have hurt him if I did it quickly.

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Old 12-22-03, 10:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can use lots of things for the hole making!

With certain rubbermaids they may be soft enough to just use a screw and screw driver. this takes awhile though! A drill works good.

If you dont have a drill or whatever you can use a screwdriver thats heated up and melt the holes. What I do is melt the amount of holes I think it will need, within a couple days you'll notice if you don't have enough because the cage will have condensation on the insides....I drill more if thats the case, wait and if its enough, great....if not more holes. lol.

Good luck
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Old 12-22-03, 10:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. I'll see if my brother can drill me some holes at his shop if I decide to house another snake in a rubbermaid. I'm sure it will happen eventually!
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Old 12-22-03, 10:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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we use a cheap soldering iron for holes.
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Old 12-22-03, 10:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oliverian,
I too use mesh on my rubbermaids. It takes a lot of work but I think it's worth converting.
I start with big sterlite containers that I lay on their sides so that they have the slight tilt and look of the old neodesha display cages. I cut a large rectangle out of the top (it is a very pliable plastic that cuts easily with a sharp razor). I then use an epoxy to permanently affix the top to the container. I then make a screen to size (now this requires some expertise in screen making, however anyone can learn). I cut the lengths of the screen frame, join them using corner joints and I then roll some nylon screen into the frame using some spline and a spline roller. Finally, I use some plastic hinges and a clasp to attach the screen and voila!, a very sturdy, light-weight, ventilated and aesthetically pleasing rubbermaid conversion.
I have never had an escape in the last 12 years (I have never had an escape period) and I can build some pretty large cages for under $30.
Cheers,
R
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Old 12-23-03, 12:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Tammy: I'm glad your snake is ok. I woulda been freaking too. You sound fairly calm and collected with it, I don't know if I would be the same in that situation.

This is the first time I've heard this (about tape and snakes). Thanks for posting, I will definately not be using any tape around my snakies.

Quote:
Originally posted by RMBolton
Oliverian,
I cut a large rectangle out of the top (it is a very pliable plastic that cuts easily with a sharp razor). I then use an epoxy to permanently affix the top to the container. I then make a screen to size I cut the lengths of the screen frame, join them using corner joints and I then roll some nylon screen into the frame using some spline and a spline roller. Finally, I use some plastic hinges and a clasp to attach the screen and voila!
Cheers,
R
Do you happen to have any pics of that?? I'd be interested in seeing how it looks. Thx.
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Old 12-23-03, 01:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm glad he's ok. I would probably yell at my mom if that had been the case for me!
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Old 12-23-03, 03:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm glad he's ok too. He's got a couple of torn scales, and he hasn't been trying to escape lately, but he's fine. Thanks RM for the idea. I'll remember that next time. I just like being able to look into the top of a cage and see whatever the snakes are doing.

Christina, did you just get a corn, or a BRB, or both new snakes at the same time?
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Old 12-23-03, 03:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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... oops. Remind me to only hit the submit button once.
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