I share pictures from the snake circle on IG a lot but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it here. A few years ago after a low elevation snowstorm broke or brought down nearly every tree on my property. I took all the Manzanita and wove it together in the shade of big elm where nothing grows. It’s essentially a 25’ diameter snake playground. Complete with lots of opportunities to climb, crawl, and hide. I used to landscape it but this year I just the elm’s leaf litter in the planted areas since we’re in a drought
It’s been an enlightening experience to observe the various species I keep interacting with the environment. I have many gigabytes of photos and video of snakes using the environment in ways the hobby claims they never would. I couldn’t begin to explain all that I’ve learned but I would suggest anyone with property do something similar. I keep 16-17 species of snakes, they all find something to do.
My personal preference is to provide all of my snakes with enrichment, some UV exposure, and exercise. I have very a busy life and a fairly large collection so I feel obligated to have a part time employee who comes a few times a week and helps keep husbandry up and make sure everyone gets their enrichment.
I’m always worried about exposing my indoor herps to too much real sunlight. Am I just being paranoid? I know w the house PLANTS I have to gradually ease them into the sun or they might burn. We are well north - say 43/44 parallel. Am I just chicken?
I’m lucky to have a lot of space. I put this together in about two weeks. It only took two more years to clean up the rest of the trees on the property
Where it is, the elm shades it for almost the entire day. They get pockets of direct sunlight filtering through the trees but mostly it’s Indirect. The one constant in any environment you find snakes in, is the Sun. Regardless of environment most terrestrial snakes are going to be exposed to indirectly if not directly through basking. I wouldn’t overdo it with albinos in direct sunlight just because of their eyes, but I can’t see a few hours a week of UV exposure as anything but a good thing.
I’ve only been doing it for a few years but I’ve never seen any negative impact from it. Not a long time in the scheme of things but I generally have right around a hundred snakes so I have a decent sample size.
They both use the environment pretty thoroughly, the difference is the big guy doesn’t like being picked back up. He’s quite sure that he has been set free each time and that usually ends in me losing an argument with a 10’ retic. I can’t not let him out though so we make the best of it lol. Retics are great but they’re the one snake I own that can absolutely say “not today” and make it stick.
It reminds me of the activity stations Lori Torrini on Youtube builds for her snakes to explore on, but on a much larger scale. (no pun intended!) It makes me excited to plan things for my much smaller snake to enjoy- maybe a little screenmesh box that could be carried out into fresh air and partial sunlight, for me to watch him explore, with branches, and hides so I can tell if he’s not feeling it that day and wants to be hidden. (then we’d go back inside)
I have planned to get some fun things I can change up regularly for exploring out of his enclosure, like a big tangle of manzanita or grapevine wood I can just set on a tabletop and let him check out while I enjoy watching.
At first I pronounced this in my head as gigabytes (gigabytees) and thought it was a scientific name of some sort I have rewired my brain.
That enrichment playhouse looks amazing! I thought about doing this a while ago, but I live in a big neighborhood and I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate the sight of giant snakes “crawling” around within a mile radius of their house