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Old 09-05-19, 07:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thinking about buying my first snake

I want to buy a California kingsnake soon but I want to make sure I understand the snake first before I get him or her. If you have any advice it would be welcome. Something you wish you knew before you got a snake, reliable sources, and things to avoid. I have done a fair amount of research and want to check with you guys that have personal experience as to what works best for you. Like the best brands to buy form and where to get my snake to ensure a healthy animal.
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Old 09-05-19, 11:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

California Kings are one of my favorite species. My first snake was a Cal King about 20 years ago. I unfortunately had to re-home my animals years ago. But when I got back in the hobby a few years back my first new addition was a Cal King.

I'm not too sure what you're asking specifically, so I'll just share a few important thoughts.

A) They are an easy species to keep, very forgiving of husbandry mistakes, don't require high humidity or temps and great eaters.

B) they are FANTASTIC escape artists. Make extra extra extra sure your enclosure is escape proof. They can fit through the tiniest of holes to escape and can find tiny places to disappear.

C) IMPORTANT- have your enclosure set up and running BEFORE bringing the snake home. Take this time to tweak heating equipment, thermostats, etc...

D) VERY IMPORTANT - ALL HEAT SOURCES SHOULD BE REGULATED BY A THERMOSTAT.

E) Kings are easy as far as heating. But there's no one-size-fits-all way of heating. Depending where you live, what temps your house is kept, what type of enclosure, etc...are all variables. But regardless of how you heat the enclosure the heat source should be regulated.

Unregulated heat sources can spike to dangerous, even fatal temps. You definitely don't want your snake burned of killed by an unregulated heat source.

As for where to get your snake to ensure its a healthy animal...avoid the chain pet stores. In fact, please don't ever buy any reptiles from chain stores.
You can look on morphmarket.com, kingsnake.com, or fauna classifieds.com.
These sights all have various sellers and breeders. You can check their reputation and ask around for feedback.
Reptile expos can be a great place to buy animals, but again, do your homework and research the breeders before attending the event.

As for brands to buy, that depends on the actual product, so I can't offer help without knowing specifics.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have. I'll be happy to help.
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Old 09-05-19, 07:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Thanks I was just looking for more personal experience. This is the first time I’ve had someone mention to have the enclosure set up before getting the snake. I’m going to a reptile expo how do I find the breeders that will be there or is buying online my best option? As for the supplies I mainly meant the enclosure is exoterra good for kingsnakes or no? and where to get accurate thermostats(ones that connect to the heat sources) /hygrometers? I’ve also read something about not just giving them tap water and having to treat it? Would De-chlorinateing the water(I have to do it for my arachnids) be okay or do I have to buy the treatment stuff? Thanks again for answering my questions. I want them to be as comfortable as possible in their new home! Also I live in a really desert like area where the humidity is in the 20s most of the time. Is there a good way to keep the humidity up while I’m at school? Would a humidity box be good for that?

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Old 09-05-19, 09:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Wanted to mention a couple things from personal experience.

Definitely secure the enclosure. I have a locking lid and my kingsnake still escaped by going through a small gap and pushing the lid up. Thankfully I got him back.

I live in Utah so I also deal with very low humidity. I started with aspen shavings and was having incomplete sheds and so I had to soak him. I switched to a bioactive setup with a false bottom. I've had much better sheds after that. I don't think you'd need to go bioactive or even have a false bottom (although I think it helps) - I think the biggest help was switching to a substrate that holds more moisture. I used a mix of Reptisoil, Reptibark, some coconut fiber, and there's also a little sphagnum moss in there. I spray it down every few days or so because I have plants to water.

Kingsnakes are great - best of luck!
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Old 09-06-19, 09:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Jump right in! Have fun!
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Old 09-06-19, 09:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Most expos have the vendor list posted online. You can check the website and cross reference sources.

ExoTerra will be fine for the enclosure.

Thermostats you can buy online. I've been using JumpStart for years with no problems at all.
HerpStat is a fantastic brand, cream of the crop, but pricey.

For thermometer/hygrometer I use Accurite brand. They can be found at Walmart or on Amazon for around $10-12 each. I have two in each of my enclosures.
As for treating the water... If you drink it it's safe for your snake. If you need to treat your drinking water you'll want to treat the snakes water as well.

To keep your humidity up, choosing a coco coir substrate will help immensely. You can also cover the majority of the screen lid to keep humidity in. Adding a humid hide during sheds would be a good idea.

Lastly, I'm not sure if it's just a matter of wording, but I want to make sure you're only getting one snake. Your sentence saying "I want them to be happy in their new home" is throwing me off.
Kings definitely can't be cohabitated. Kings are actually known to be cabalistic, so you definitely only want one in each enclosure. Otherwise you'll likely wake up one morning to one King with a very full belly
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Old 09-06-19, 10:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Most expos have the vendor list posted online. You can check the website and cross reference sources.

ExoTerra will be fine for the enclosure.

Thermostats you can buy online. I've been using JumpStart for years with no problems at all.
HerpStat is a fantastic brand, cream of the crop, but pricey.

For thermometer/hygrometer I use Accurite brand. They can be found at Walmart or on Amazon for around $10-12 each. I have two in each of my enclosures.
As for treating the water... If you drink it it's safe for your snake. If you need to treat your drinking water you'll want to treat the snakes water as well.

To keep your humidity up, choosing a coco coir substrate will help immensely. You can also cover the majority of the screen lid to keep humidity in. Adding a humid hide during sheds would be a good idea.

Lastly, I'm not sure if it's just a matter of wording, but I want to make sure you're only getting one snake. Your sentence saying "I want them to be happy in their new home" is throwing me off.
Kings definitely can't be cohabitated. Kings are actually known to be cabalistic, so you definitely only want one in each enclosure. Otherwise you'll likely wake up one morning to one King with a very full belly
Yes I will only be getting one snake. Sorry for confusing you, just not sure if Iím getting a boy or girl yet. The info you have given is amazing.
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Old 09-06-19, 10:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

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Originally Posted by Liviethespider View Post
Yes I will only be getting one snake. Sorry for confusing you, just not sure if Iím getting a boy or girl yet. The info you have given is amazing.
Ok, I figured I was just reading it wrong, hahaha. But just to make sure I figured it was worth mentioning.

You're very welcome! I'm happy to help!!
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Old 09-06-19, 11:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

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As for treating the water... If you drink it it's safe for your snake.

T
So, I've heard that the chlorine in the water isn't good for snakes - is this just an abundance of caution?
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Old 09-06-19, 11:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

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So, I've heard that the chlorine in the water isn't good for snakes - is this just an abundance of caution?
My understanding has always been that if it's safe for human consumption it's safe for the pets. My animals have all been drinking untreated tap water for 20 years with no ill effects.

I do know people in the community who treat their snakes water, but they also treat their own.
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Old 09-06-19, 02:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

I just fill up empty distilled water (for my humidifiers) jugs with tap water and let them stand a week or so to let the chlorine leech out of solution. Otherwise, they get the tap water, just w/o chlorine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
My understanding has always been that if it's safe for human consumption it's safe for the pets. My animals have all been drinking untreated tap water for 20 years with no ill effects.

I do know people in the community who treat their snakes water, but they also treat their own.
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Old 09-06-19, 03:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

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I just fill up empty distilled water (for my humidifiers) jugs with tap water and let them stand a week or so to let the chlorine leech out of solution. Otherwise, they get the tap water, just w/o chlorine.
I have heard of people doing that. My understanding is that it's because their local water is high in chlorine.

Is this the case for you? Or is it a personal preference?
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Old 09-06-19, 03:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

Put it this way, I wouldn't drink it, and I sometimes dilute it w/bottled water for my dogs when giving them water.

Some communities flush their water system from time to time with higher concentrations of chlorine, and right now mine is in the process of doing it I think--I will drink the tap water when the chlorine level is lower, but not recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
I have heard of people doing that. My understanding is that it's because their local water is high in chlorine.

Is this the case for you? Or is it a personal preference?
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Old 09-06-19, 04:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Thinking about buying my first snake

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Put it this way, I wouldn't drink it, and I sometimes dilute it w/bottled water for my dogs when giving them water.

Some communities flush their water system from time to time with higher concentrations of chlorine, and right now mine is in the process of doing it I think--I will drink the tap water when the chlorine level is lower, but not recently.
Gotcha! I agree with you 100% in that situation.
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