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Old 05-15-04, 05:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar-2003
Location: Orillia, ON
Age: 47
Posts: 460
And I'll concur with both Matt and Joe. There are lots of better pet snakes out there that are captive bred, including salt marsh snakes if you decide you like them. However, that looks to me more like a midland water.

If you do keep it, don't keep it with a lot of water. They are quite prone to skin infections if they are damp. I know this sounds weird since they're water snakes, but it is true. A water bowl similar to what you'd use for a corn or king is fine. Feeding a nutritionally sound diet can be a challenge; look at some of the various threads on feeding garters/ribbons/waters for some further insights on this. On the cedar issue, a few hours shouldn't hurt anything.

Jeff Hathaway
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Old 05-15-04, 05:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
Join Date: May-2004
Posts: 8
Thanks to everyone giving input saying I should let it go and find another breed, but I think I can handle it. I've had snakes before, so I at least have a litle experience.
As far as the cedar goes, I know it's not good to keep snakes in it for an extended period of time.. as far as I know, it just irritates their mucous membranes. I don't know if I'd use the word toxic though.
Also, I know that wild snakes generally can make bad pets, and I have also read lots of stuff claiming that water snakes are real aggressive. This one is actually pretty docile, I have been handling it and it hasn't tried to strike at me or bite me yet... seems pretty comfortable atually.

I read about the skin infection/blister thing, but I heard it generally won't be a problem if I use a bedding such as aspen that allows them to dry off completely, because the infections are due to them being damp and not able to dry off, can you offer any insight into this?
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Old 05-15-04, 06:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul-2003
Location: Ontario
Posts: 1,176
Originally posted by ThrowedOff
I don't know if I'd use the word toxic though.
I would, and anyone who has made the mistake, or heard tell of someone who has, would too. Cedar phenols are toxic to reptiles (capable of causing injury or death, especially by chemical means).
I also agree wth Matt, Joe, and Jeff... please let it go. Just my opinion, but I never could fathom how someone can be content knowing they have removed an animal from the wild - the "tree hugger" in me I suppose
But, as Joe said, good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Last edited by Removed_2815; 05-15-04 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 05-15-04, 06:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar-2003
Location: Orillia, ON
Age: 47
Posts: 460
Aspen is okay, but if it gets damp, they'll be damp, and they'll get infections. I only use newspaper with water snakes (and most others). Even then, I've had occasional problems with skin infections. A good basking light with a rock under it does seem to help- clean and bleach the rock regularly.

Another problem with aspen- most of the foods for Nerodia will get a lot of aspen stuck to them, so a greater risk of ingestion by the snake.

Water snakes are not aggressive, except towards their prey. Wild ones are often highly defensive- they will readily bite if handled. It has been my experience, though, that juvenile natricines almost never bite, but get more likely to with age. Many other snakes (Elaphe, Lampropeltis, etc.) seem to be the opposite- juveniles are much more skittish and prone to biting, but adults are more mellow. Either way, once used to people, they rarely bite. I've had both CB and WC specimens of several different species of Nerodia in the past, and all eventually calmed down nicely (except the WC N. taxispilota, but it was in bad shape and didn't live long enough to be considered a fair representation).

As for letting it go, it isn't just a question of whether you can 'handle it'. I'm sure you're capable of giving it adequate basic husbandry, if you put your mind to it. However, do you even know whether it is legal for you to keep it in your area, or to collect it from the wild? At the end of the day, it is a wild snake, and I think it belongs in the wild, unless there is some good specific reason to take it into captivity.

BTW, I currently have 9 Nerodia. I love them, and I use them a lot in educational programs. However, if I was just considering a pet, they'd be WAY down on my list of pet species.

Jeff Hathaway
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