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Old 08-01-17, 08:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
RCR
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Join Date: Jul-2017
Location: Manitoba
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Setting up

Hey guys! I am looking into getting a corn snake on Sept. 10th(Reptile expo) and im curios as to the setup i should have. Im reading up on many different things that are required. I am also new to owning a reptile, and i want top get it right lol.

I have a 10 gallon tank that i will put it in(i plan to get a smaller one, and as it grows get bigger tanks). I have a screen top for it.

1. Should i be using a lamp/light or a heat pad, im getting mixed reviews on that.. if its a light, what W is correct? Is it a UVB or just a Bask light. Should i be putting the light on a timer, should i have both a light & heat pad?

2. Is a 10 gallon too small, should i just start off with a 20 then upgrade from there?

3. Whats the best bedding too use, i already use aspen for my pet rats, ive read aspen is good for snakes too.

4. Will the corn snake benefit from having things to climb/slither? up on, is it more of a terrestrial than arboreal.

5. What is a good setup? What kind of setup do you have, what is useful and unuseful in your tanks.

Lmao, alot of questions and i apologize. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!
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Old 08-01-17, 10:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Setting up

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCR View Post
Hey guys! I am looking into getting a corn snake on Sept. 10th(Reptile expo) and im curios as to the setup i should have. Im reading up on many different things that are required. I am also new to owning a reptile, and i want top get it right lol.

I have a 10 gallon tank that i will put it in(i plan to get a smaller one, and as it grows get bigger tanks). I have a screen top for it.

1. Should i be using a lamp/light or a heat pad, im getting mixed reviews on that.. if its a light, what W is correct? Is it a UVB or just a Bask light. Should i be putting the light on a timer, should i have both a light & heat pad?

2. Is a 10 gallon too small, should i just start off with a 20 then upgrade from there?

3. Whats the best bedding too use, i already use aspen for my pet rats, ive read aspen is good for snakes too.

4. Will the corn snake benefit from having things to climb/slither? up on, is it more of a terrestrial than arboreal.

5. What is a good setup? What kind of setup do you have, what is useful and unuseful in your tanks.

Lmao, alot of questions and i apologize. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!

Congrats on your decision to get a snake, we'll be here to help you the whole way!

1. I would go with a heat pad since you're a beginner and live in a cool climate that will likely need heat to be on at night in the winter time, I recommend the ones from reptilebasics.com called Ultratherm, they are easier to use and can be reused with future tanks/terrariums. Make sure you are using a thermostat as well. I'm not sure how shipping works with Canada so maybe some of the Canadians on the forum could tell you where they get their products from to help save you some money.

2. 10 gallon would be fine for about a year for a hatchling. In my experience its best for a beginner to start out with a yearling or adult snake. This offers several benefits:

-Yearlings and Adults are much more established and aren't as susceptible to mistakes that a beginner might make in their care.

-You can buy an adult cage straight off. Reptile (particularly snake) cages that are truly escape proof can be a bit on the pricey side. The screen lids with the clamps don't cut it for me. I prefer front opening like the exoterras or sliding screen top tanks.

-Buying the adult or yearling might cost more than the hatchling but you're gonna save a boat load of money, because when you upgrade your tank size you'll have to upgrade your heat pad size to compensate, water bowls, hides etc, you can see how this could get expensive. With the yearling/adult you can just start off with the main stuff and it'll be good for life.

-If you buy an adult, just cause you're a beginner make sure to get a male he'll likely not be an animal that was blasted with egg laying and won't have the problems associated with that.

3. I've used tupperware as water bowls, I've used random sticks/rocks from outside as decor, the light timers I use aren't from the pet store. I've made my own backgrounds all in the name of cheap (OK my background wasn't THAT cheap) but you get the drift. The one place it's advisable to pay what we call the "reptile" tax, which is where something will be more expensive because it's "made for reptiles" is with the bedding. Rodent bedding has TONS of dust in it and doesn't hold burrows compared to the stuff processed for use with reptiles. Otherwise, aspen is probably the most popular colubrid bedding and it has its advantages and disadvantages just like everything.

4. Absolutely, not only does decor give your snake something to do, it makes the enclosure more appealing for the keeper as well. Snakes like to hide, a lot. So often times the only thing you have to look at is the enclosure. Once your snake gets more comfortable they will come out more often but the point remains in my opinion. Decor also gives visual barriers which are vital to the overall security of the snake which is of utmost importance to him. I would say, use your discretion in terms of making sure the cage isn't too cluttered. You want them to have some room to move around a bit.

5. A good setup provides the necessary temperatures for your snake, proper security (meaning at least two hides) and a substrate that is easy to get poops out of but doesn't need completely changed everytime your snake goes number 2 and a waterbowl. A great setup does all of that and has decor for the snake to climb on and offers plenty of security. I'm keeping one snake in a bioactive planted setup with a custom background using a ceramic heat emitter as the heatsource. You can see that in my "Lucy has a new home" thread in the Colubrid section of the forums. I keep the other with the standard reptile hides you'll see at the petstore a fake ceramic log and a hollow boulder with a lid on it, this set up has plenty of plastic plants to offer more visual barriers and is warmed via a heatpad. Both have hoods with 5.0 UVB bulbs in them (the planted one has one 5.0 bulb and a plant grow bulb). This isn't necessary but I think it makes the enclosures look better. One thing a good setup has especially for beginners is a humid hide. A humid hide is usually an enclosed hide (meaning not open from the bottom) filled with either paper towel or sphagnum moss that you mist about once a week to offer a place for the snake to just experience a humid area which helps with hydration and shedding. When you notice the snake going into shed you can make sure this material is moist every day until you see shed skin.

Bonus Rounds:

1. I know that you have decided on a corn snake and you'll likely find them at the reptile show. But I'll tell you this, if another North American Colubrid strikes your fancy while you are there IE: Eastern/Chain King Snake, California King Snake, Gopher Snakes, Baird's Rat Snakes, Black/Eastern Rat Snakes, Yellow Rat Snakes (basically any of the rat snakes that are from North America). All of those have care that is essentially that of a corn snake, now that's not to say not to read up on those species (maybe before going just to be sure) but you never know what might strike your eye and it's best to know what your options are based on your set up you already have, especially if you see something awesome and the price is right.

I'm not sure what the species spread is at a Canadian Reptile Show so some of these options might not be available to you outside of paying to have something shipped to you, but like I said, having options is good.

2. Have fun with the whole process, often times learning about these animals and their interesting behaviors and personalities can be just as fun as having them as a pet. Make sure you read up on corn snakes and snake care in general, not everything will be covered in one source or caresheet.

Recap:

1. Thermostat with your heating element.
2. Plenty of visual barriers to include at least two hides.
3. Decor is basically as much as you like depending on what you use, but use restraint.
4. Have fun with it.

If you have any questions about my reply or anything I'll be on again later and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.
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