A friend is having some issues with their heat & is leaving on a trip, so I agreed to take in two Kenyan Sand Boas and a Carpet Python temporarily. The only problem is, I have no experience with either species, I keep Colubrids. These guys haven’t gotten the most attention recently, so I started by cleaning the KSB enclosures, adding 6" of new substrate and getting everyone new water. I plan to clean the python’s enclosure tomorrow as she’s extra cranky. I’m also going to let them acclimate a bit more before feeding.
I guess I really only have two questions: What are the absolute need-to-know basics? Best temps/humidity? Heating for all is overhead CHEs (I believe) on a thermostat.
Thank you in advance!
Thank you very much for your tips, I might switch the KSBs to UTHs because at least one of them is currently up top basking (I’ve got the CHE on and thermostat set around 95ºF) though the other has burrowed and remains unseen. Might have to do a soak on the larger of the two, as she seems to have a few patches of stuck shed. I’ve got everyone on separate floors of the house for quarantine, sanitizing everything any time I go from one area to the other.
My friend reached out to me, specifically, because they know even though I don’t have experience with these species, I’ll do everything I can to get everyone happy and thriving. With luck and some pampering, everyone will leave content in the end.
I have no doubt they will. Actually I had a breeder tell me once that KSBs need a little more humidity than one might think but if one of them has stuck shed, after you soak it a bit then take a warm wet wash cloth and let the snake slither through your fingers in the wash cloth. You may have to do it more than once though.
Carpets are pretty bombproof. Give it a hotspot of around 30C/85F and make sure the water bowl stays full and clean and you should be fine. They are even okay taking a bit of a chill down in winter so do not stress if you are only getting up to 26C/80F
Good for you for being willing to do this! I cant give any advice for those species not I have to say how kind it is for you to do this. I know you’ll take great care of them.
Thank you for the info @t_h_wyman! I put a second lamp on her enclosure and I’ve partially covered the whole ExoTerra to keep the heat in a bit better. Unfortunately my basement is a bit cold since we’re in the Midwest, I’ve managed to get her up to 72ºF and I will be adding more insulation/heat to make sure she’s in safe temperatures. Before this she was in a house where the temperature wasn’t even registering on a thermostat, so it’s probably good I didn’t manage to heat her up all at once.
Thank you for the confidence boost, @caryl. My friend was struggling and very much feeling like a bad snake parent, so I’m glad they reached out, it took a lot to do and I’m willing to help any friend/animal in need if I can. Everyone is gonna be treated to a nice vacation, and I get to learn a little bit about some unfamiliar species, so it’s a win all around.
Heat tape on the back/sides can help. ANother alternative is to get a Styrofoam cooler, flip it on its side, cut off the side of the cooler that is now the “top”, and slide the cage in there. This insulates four of the six sides and helps retain heat pretty well
Went down to check after the second lamp & covering the other side, seems that alone was enough to bring it up into the 80s. I plan to go down and insulate all of the enclosures a bit later, and I might just pick up a space heater for the area they’re in so it’s not such a struggle to keep them warm enough.
It was a trick I learned when I used to brew kombucha. Helped keep the crock at a stable temp despite the extreme seasonal fluctuation over the course of the year
Picked up a second space heater of the type that I use to heat my own reptile room, so it should now be much easier/safer to keep everyone’s enclosures the proper temperature. They’ve finally stopped parking themselves under the CHEs 24/7, which I take as a positive sign. Going to make sure everyone is properly up to temp before feeding today.
Okay, another question for you, @t_h_wyman. Any tips on handling/taming down a very food motivated, strike first ask questions later, carpet python? She’s still small, but intimidates me in a way even my most bite-y corn does not (and he’s gotten me in the face).
If you have a hook, use that to remove them from the cage. Failing that, a paper towel tube is a great deflection tool since it does not smell like food and does not present a heat signature. Use it to gently contact the head and once they register that it is not food time they should be tractable enough
Awesome, I have a hook, will start with that!
Keeping & breeding carpets for years. As usual t_h_wyman advice and knowledge is spot on. Just DO NOT feed it you can’t get temps correct.
How old/big is said demon? The smaller the more defensive(scared) obviously but usually only very young hatchlings and often they’ll headbutt not bite. If it’s a heavy feed response more than scared I’ve used the towel roll w great success. If you can be patient I’ve found excellent results w just opening enclosure and letting them explore out on their own, stand near and as they come out offer your hand(arm) for them to continue on to. Lastly like most reptiles, the more timid you are the more they’ll react, handle w confidence and should be fine.
Temps have been brought up properly and I’ve made sure they’re stable enough to fully support digestion.
She is somewhere between 18-24 months, I believe, but might be underweight. I do not have a weight/length on her at the moment, I’ll let her process today’s feeding and then try to get measurements. I’ll grab a photo next time I go down to check.
Measurements not important, at that age it sounds like good old carpet feeding response. That age all they want to do is eat and grow. My teens always greet me w a quick out stretched hello when I open them, just don’t reach in for half a minute, let them process they’ll realize and be great. Do a towel roll tap and should be able to just go get her after that. If still wary let them come to you a few times. I’ve never had a carpet not tame down. Goodluck
Good to know it’s just how they are, that should make things easier. She decided to kind of slingshot out of the cage while I was checking on her, so here’s a visual. Hook is one of the small telescopic ones you can grab at any pet store. Her body is about as big around as my thumb. Edited to add: I should mention, previous handling on this little one is almost nil due to the attitude, so I’m basically starting her from scratch on handling.