Snakes might seem like low-maintenance that require little care. However, they need a lot of care for them to be happy and healthy. If you recently got a pet snake, you must be wondering how to best care for it. The first steps involve setting up a place where the snake will be staying. Then learn how to hold and feed it.
Grass Snake Care
When that is set, you must make sure that the snake is healthy by cleaning the cage, paying attention to when it sheds its skin and other things. Here are the tips on how to care for a pet grass snake.
What are the housing requirements for grass snake care?
You need an enclosure where your snake stays. Not just an enclosure, but a concealed home. A grass snake needs a smaller home. A big home makes your snake anxious.
A grass snake needs a wooden vivarium. The reason for that is that wood is a great insulator of heat. A wooden vivarium makes it easier to control the temperatures required inside the enclosure. Glass terrariums are too efficient at losing heat. A wooden vivarium offers great ventilation and will flow in and out perfectly. If you do get a glass enclosure you will need to ensure you have the correct heaters and thermostats. Read this article on our choice of the best enclosures.
There are different amazing terrariums in a pet store which is designed specifically for snakes. Pick the right one for your snake and consider getting substrate materials. Get gravel and mulch as they replicate a snakes’ natural habitat. It’s ideal to have a replica of the natural habitat.
A grass snake requires a vivarium at least 860mm in length. The reason for that is that grass snakes can grow up to 4-6 feet in length. They need enough space for them to live happily. Also, for the creation of a temperature gradient, the vivarium must have enough length. One end of the enclosure must be warm and have enough length for the temperature to be cool at the other end.
What decoration do I need in the vivarium?
Grass needs a dry substrate for the humidity to remain low in the vivarium. Loose substrate makes it easy for accidental swallowing. Beech woodchips eliminate this problem. It’s great for grass snakes and very easy to clean.
Grass snakes are not arboreal snakes, and they like climbing on top of objects to learn about the surrounding. You need to decorate the vivarium with some wood for them to do that.
Decorate the snake vivarium with artificial plants to get a more natural habitat. A hiding spot at the end of an enclosure allows the snake to thermoregulate and move freely without feeling insecure.
What are the ideal heating conditions for a grass snake?
A snake needs under-tank heating. You need to do this with caution. You cannot just get a heating pad and place it under the tank.
Get a small heating pad that offers heat to the required floor, under the concealed home. The goal is to offer a heat gradient. If the right temperature is 85F, some area on the floor should be warmer than that. Another section should be about 83F.
Outside of the concealed home should have temperatures of 71F to 75F and unheated. The snake moves around and it helps in regulating their body temperature. Some area of the flow should be as cool as 71F-75F and doesn’t require heating.
During the day, a warm basking area would be perfect for the snake. Achieve this by using a spot bulb placed at one end of a vivarium. A 40w basking light would help in maintaining 80F basking temperature.
However, don’t depend on a basking light for all the heating needs. It won’t be enough.
During the night
During the night, grass snakes need total darkness and drop in temperature. Switch off the basking light. Create a perfect temperature of 75F using a heat mat. They radiate heat without producing any light. Get a high-quality thermostat to control the heat mat. A thermostat will automatically turn the mat on when the temperature drops at night.
Monitor the temperatures using a thermometer. Remember also not to rely on the thermometers on the wall.
These thermometers only show the temperature of the air inside. You need to know the air and floor temperatures and humidity after every few hours. Do this for a week or more before putting a grass snake in the new home.
This thermometer will use a laser to read the temperature of that specific area that the laser is pointing to.
Also, get a thermostat to add to the tank. This will ensure that the temperature does not go over the required levels. Once the temperature goes up too much the thermostat will turn the heater off. See this product – thermostat. You will need to plug the heating pad into the thermostat.
Then you will need to add the temperature gauge into the tank. You will then need to set the temperature and the rest will be easy. Make sure to add the gauge nearest to the snake hide.
How to handle a grass snake
Most pest snakes get used to being handled. However, never try hand-taming a grass snake until she has eaten more than four meals in the new home. Wait until she has finished digesting the food before touching her.
Place your hands under the belly as it helps in supporting the weight. Ensure that you only handle the middle part of the body. Sometimes it’s necessary to hold her tail and head. Therefore, if your vet recommends you to do that, go ahead but support her body with one hand.
What do grass snakes eat?
All snakes love meat. They eat the meat whole with everything still inside. Most pet snakes eat rodents of different ages. Supply stores sell frozen packages for your pet snake. Also, some people breed mice for sale.
Snake food should be kept separately from other food for health reasons. A grass snake sometimes eats a huge amount of food but sometimes it will eat less. It’s good to have enough at hand just in case.
Some snakes don’t like to eat dead prey items. If you find that the snake does not want to eat it then wriggle the mouse a little for it to appear like it is moving.
If that doesn’t work, you must feed your pet live prey. It can be hard to do that for the faint-hearted. You must wait for the snake to hunt and kill the larger prey. It’s dangerous to leave a full-grown rodent alone with a grass snake. A panicked rodent can injure her with its teeth and claws.
Remember to get clean water for your snake. Clean and refill the water bowl at least two times a week. Use a large water bowl that is enough for the snake to get in. However, it should not raise the humidity too much.
Grass snakes should be feed on a defrosted pinky mouse when they are young. As the snake grows, its good size grows as well until it can feed on larger mice and jumbos. An adult grass snake should eat once every two weeks. They can become overweight when fed on a weekly basis.
How do I care for breeding grass snakes?
If you keep both a female and male grass snakes, they may breed. You won’t need to do anything to encourage them to. As long as the conditions are good and they are healthy, that will happen naturally. You should think about if you need this to happen or not. What will you do with their babies when you incubate the eggs?
The female should have access to a place to lay her eggs. The nesting box should be large enough for her to turn around freely. Consider using moss to keep it humid and moist.
Keep the incubator temperatures at 84F. Incubate the eggs in sealed boxes on a substrate with enough moisture. You can use the hatchrite substrate to trap humidity around the eggs. It takes about 60 days for the eggs to hatch. As soon as the first babies emerge, they will encourage the rest to hatch
Grooming of a grass snake
Grooming is crucial when the grass snakes shed the skin. If the humidity and temperature are kept at ideal levels, she won’t need any assistance. Shedding happens once or twice a month. The whole process is slow and might take a whole week to complete. If the snake doesn’t shed for a longer time than you expected or problems occur during shedding, then perhaps she needs help.
Shedding problems can occur and are caused by dry air. This problem can be solved by raising the humidity of the tank. Get a box that is filled partially with soft substrate materials such as dampened paper towels or moss. Also, consider a gentle rubbing under the chin. It might help. Add some items in the box to help in rubbing. Add some branches and rocks.
If you have added the towels, rubbing places and increased the humidity, but there are still shedding issues, take her to a veterinarian.
Are grass snakes dangerous?
Grass snakes are less likely to pose any threat since they are not venomous. They will also hardly bite as they are very docile pets. The only serious risk after a bite is the infection. You can wash the wound with water and soap. Keep an eye on it and seek medical advice if an infection occurs.
But if someone develops difficulty in breathing, they need to be in an emergency room.