#Reptile care: 6 habitat items you must have for your snake


Are you considering a reptile for a pet?  Check out our previous blog Reptiles make great pets!  Dr. Anna Coffin has many years of experience with reptile care especially caring and tending to snakes.  This week Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss all the basic needs for you and your snake.

Providing a proper environment is the most important aspect of reptile care.  In fact, it can make the difference between life and death with your snake. [Tweet “Providing a proper environment is the most important aspect of reptile care. “]


This post is a sponsored post. Dr. Anna is being compensated to help spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but Dr. Anna only shares information she feels is relevant to her readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.

6 habitat items you must have:

  1. Cage:  Size of the cage, an easy to clean, impermeable surface, and a secure lock are the most important factors when making decisions on reptile care for your snake.  Dr. Anna Coffin says that glass aquariums are inexpensive and meet all these requirements.  The hardest decision is getting a cage that is the right size for your snake.  Since most reptiles grow according to the size of their cage, it is important to have a cage that is big enough for your new snake to grow.  Knowing how big your snake will be as an adult can help you plan cage sizes.  If you get a cage too big, your snake may have a hard time staying warm.
  2. Substrate:  There are many substrate options to choose.  Whatever you decide it needs to be easy to clean and something safe for your snake.  Smaller substrate particles can be accidentally swallowed and cause intestinal blockage.  Because of this Dr. Anna Coffin likes to use reptile carpets. 
  3. Heat Source:  Reptiles are cold-blooded animals which means that their body temperature will fluctuate with that of their environment.  Dr. Anna Coffin says that temperature control is one of the most important aspects of reptile care.  They can get snaketoo hot, and thermal burns are frequent causes of veterinarian visits, especially with snakes.  Most reptiles need a heat source from the top and the bottom of the cage and a place where they can escape from the heat.
  4. Lighting:  Metabolic bone disease is a common reason that reptiles will visit their veterinarian.  Reptiles need Vitamin D to prevent broken bones and other metabolic bone disorders.  Providing them with an appropriate light source will help decrease this problem.  Metabolic bone disease is a rare condition for snakes because they eat live prey and get enough Vitamin D from their prey.
  5. Food:  Snakes don’t eat often. They’ll typically consume a meal only once a week or once every two weeks, but some snakes can go longer between meals.  Rodents, especially mice or rats are the most common and readily available food for your new snake.  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends feeding stunned live or fresh killed animals because it is more natural feeding for your snake, and your snake won’t be injured by the live animalFrozen animals can put your pet at risk for bacterial infection if they are not stored or defrosted properly.  What do pet snakes eat? contains more great information from petMD ® Reptile Center.
  6. Reliable reptile information:  As a new snake owner it’s important to have a reliable source for information.  Your local exotic veterinarian is a great source for information especially if your snake is sick.  Reptiles typically don’t show signs of illness until late in the disease process so if your snake is not acting normal call your veterinarian immediately.  For general snake and reptile care information, there is a great new source provided by PetMD Reptile Center.  All the information on this site has been reviewed and approved by a veterinarian.

snake, reptile care

Visit a PetSmart ® located near you or visit PetSmart online to purchase all of your reptile care needs.  Once you have these six habitat items, you are ready to enjoy snake. 

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

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