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Old 03-06-17, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Questions from a beginner

Hi all!

I wish this forum had a place for newbie to post their questions, because I feel bad asking what I am sure has been asked a thousand times over. But I wanted to ask some things about my new snake here rather than in my introduction thread!

I got a California kingsnake last Saturday (Feb. 25th). He is young, but I don't know the exact age. He's probably about 13 inches in length if I had to guess. Since we brought him home he has mostly hidden out in his new home. To some extent, I figure this must be normal snake behavior, and also adding in the fact that he's getting accustomed to his new place. But I still would like to ask the experts if this is ok.

I don't expect a snake to be a cuddly type of pet, but I do hope to be able to hold him in the near future. Do you think we are still are in the window of time where he's still just adjusting? Is his young age also a factor? I fed him for my first time back on Wednesday and though it took him awhile to get the pinkie down, he did successfully eat it so I was happy about that. I guess I just want reassurance I'm doing things right so far and that he'll come around in his own time. If anyone has any opinions I'd love to hear them! I did research before purchasing him, but of course there are a thousand opinions out there and some often contradict each other! Thanks!
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Old 03-06-17, 07:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Hi there! And congrats on the new critter

You should definitely not be worried about him hiding so much. Young snakes are pretty much defenseless in the wild, so they spend most of their time hiding from predators. This is pretty hard wired into their DNA, so even captive bred individuals have this behavior. I am sure when he starts growing he will feel more confident and start wandering around more.

At this point, for him, you are still a big scary predator, and only time and handling will show the snake that you're not gonna eat him

Just give him some time. If your husbandry is on point and he is eating without problems, you shouldn't be worried at all
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Old 03-06-17, 08:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Get him feeding a few times in a row before you begin to handle him. Let him settle for a week before your first offering. Everything sounds normal and welcome to the world of keeping snakes!
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Old 03-06-17, 08:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Thank you both! What you've said makes a lot of sense. I guess I just need some hand holding

If anyone is curious, he is in an Exo-Terra terrarium. I have a hide on the cool side, in the middle and on the warm side. There is also a "moss vine" I put in for climbing. I'm using Care Fresh for his bedding as that's what they had him living in at the reptile shop. As far as I have observed, he likes spending most of his time in the small gap between the styrofoam "rock" background and the top of the enclosure (if you're familiar with the Exo-Terra set ups). I guess he'll outgrow that pretty soon, haha! Cool side is consistently measuring at about 75 degrees and warm side about 85-88 degrees.
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Old 03-06-17, 08:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Husbandry sounds good. Now the hard part especially for beginners; try not to worry and let him be a snake!
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Old 03-06-17, 08:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

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Originally Posted by Andy_G View Post
Husbandry sounds good. Now the hard part especially for beginners; try not to worry and let him be a snake!
Touche! Haha!
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Old 03-06-17, 08:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Yes, don't feel to bad about not handling, or even seeing your pet if you've given them places to hide. Both of my snakes, my Corn and King, are hiding in the faux hollow log structures I put into their homes last week.

I was able to feed the King, and she appeared rather feisty, but the Corn has been absent for duty since I put the structure into her cage. I actually left a small pinky for her to eat the same night I fed the King, and when I got up the next morning it was gone...and so was she...again.

I guess they're feeling well since I was able to find some excrement near the cold hide of the King, and it looks like the Corn left her present in the sphagnum moss bowl that I use to to increase humidity.

Feeding time is on the 7th or 8th, fed them on the 3rd, so hopefully they'll be out looking for food the next two nights. Hopefully...
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Old 03-06-17, 08:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Yes, I have to check for poop very soon. I'm not sure what to expect! I don't want to tear apart the place but I also don't want to leave it sitting around for too long. If he's even pooped yet. Ah, trial and error!
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Old 03-06-17, 08:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

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Yes, I have to check for poop very soon. I'm not sure what to expect! I don't want to tear apart the place but I also don't want to leave it sitting around for too long. If he's even pooped yet. Ah, trial and error!
Believe me, if he pooped, you won't miss it! As soon as you open the enclosure you will feel that wonderful smell! Hehe
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Old 03-06-17, 09:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

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Husbandry sounds good. Now the hard part especially for beginners; try not to worry and let him be a snake!
Hahaha best advice ever, I'm an obsessive worrier when it comes to my animals
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Old 03-06-17, 09:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

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Believe me, if he pooped, you won't miss it! As soon as you open the enclosure you will feel that wonderful smell! Hehe
Good to know! LOL
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Old 03-07-17, 08:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

I started handling my 4 month old corn snake as soon as we got him. I didn't know at the time that it was best to let them get used to his new area first. I put my hand near the back of his head and waited for his tongue to come out so he could smell me. I gently stroked his back while telling him in a gentle tone who I was and what I was going to do. Not that he could understand, but I've always been told by more knowledgeable people to show animals how calm you are and they will be the same. Then, I'd carefully pick him up with both hands, still talking to him. I let him kinda go where he wanted on my arms and smell me lots. Now, when I go in his room and open the cage to get him, he kind of recognizes my voice and smell, I guess and he's calm. So, that's what I do. I may be totally in the wrong. Alex is our first snake, but I firmly believe if I get him used to me, he won't react badly.
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Old 03-07-17, 08:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Oh, and my corn snake's poo...looks like tiny human poo. He always goes in his warm bath, as we're trying to rid him of mites. But I have never known the joy of smelling it!
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Old 03-08-17, 06:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Thanks Kathryn! You took what seems like a very logical approach. We're coming up on two weeks in his new home, so I'm thinking I'll attempt some handling soon. That's kind of hilarious about the poop! I hope your mite problem clears up, I doubt that's any fun!
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Old 03-08-17, 07:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Questions from a beginner

Few more questions for you guys.

I don't think my snake has pooped the meal I gave him last Wednesday. Is it safe to feed a snake their next meal before expelling the previous one? Because he's due for his next mouse today.

Also, is there a general timeframe in which I should be fully cleaning his enclosure? Once a week? This is another one of those things I see differing info on.
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