We have about 30 ball pythons, 4 adult boas, and 6 adult blood pythons, we keep them all in ARS racks. My question for the breeders out there is what is your go to for substrate? Our humidity in the snake room is typically 45-55 depending on the season here in south IA. I have tried newspaper and cypress but I am not getting the humidity levels that I would like. The main thing I am wondering about is do I just close off some ventilation and use paper towels or do I try to keep the ventilation high and add quite a bit of water to something like coconut husk. The only reason I am trying to lean toward something like paper towels or newspaper is because I like to be able to give them a full clean when they pee vs just spot cleaning when I see something. Again not an expert on any of this and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank You
I personally use orchid bark.
We’ve only got the 1 royal now, soon to be 2. But we used to have 12 in a rack and after trialing a few different type, orchid bark we found was the best and all of them did brilliantly on it!
But if you’re wanting to clean every time fully then maybe stick with paper towels.
Everyone I know of uses some brand of cocohusk (Prococo, etc.). A single block is generally $20 or so and expands to fill a fairly large area. Some other folks use non-floating cypress mulch from hardware stores. Some of the big breeders historically used kiln dried pine (which doesn’t have the volatile compounds some folks worry about). I have about the same number of ball pythons as you and I use Prococo exclusively. Doing a full deep clean on about 30 ARS 5540 tubs and 18 ARS 7030 tubs takes about 3 blocks. Spot cleaning for a few weeks obviously keeps costs down. I do a full substrate replacement every month or so.
An easy way to expand coco is to submerge the block in water until it stops bubbling, then pull the block out, let it drain while you hold it (only takes a few seconds), then place the block in a large container to expand. The key is not to oversaturate it, otherwise it can mold, although nowhere near as bad as other substrates.
Coconut husk for sure. It helps maintain humidity, is great at absorbing messes, and provides enrichment
Reptichip 100% Love their stuff but definitely brands Coco husk!
They all have drawbacks. I use either coco or aspen. Usually switch back and forth. Aspen is much more cost effective, but less durable. Have to spot clean more often, and it molds fairly quickly over spilled water dishes. That’s not to say coco doesn’t mold. The first time you use it, you’re probably going to add too much water and you’ll see lol. We’ve all done it.
You have a manageable number of animals so buying coco at retail won’t be a killer. If you grow your collection much you’re going to want to seek another outlet. I only use coco half the year and I still go through about 40 blocks. I’m close with the owners of my local reptile store so I get it at cost in order to help them hit pallet quantity. Another idea is to form a local co-op of buyers and approach a distributor. Or become a distributor yourself.
As far as humidity goes, I run a standard room humidifier with an auto setting. My python room is big but it’s pretty tight and it has no problem keeping it 55%. If it’s bad sheds in particular, try giving them fresh water daily. They drink more frequently from fresh water and internal hydration is very important for good sheds. Snakes can shed well in less than ideal humidity if they’re well hydrated. Soaking works not just because of the water contact but also because they always drink their fill while soaking.
I added water and it was just like a soupy mess of course until it expanded and then it was just very saturated
No but the next time I needed to add a small amount of water!
Exactly! The first time I used it, it was so saturated it all molded the first week lol.
Wow, you really added a lot of water!
I personally have had Kai spill his water dish and it not mold.