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  1. #1
    Hi, I'm New Here! Martian's Avatar
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    My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    First post here. Hello Everyone!

    My five year old son was out searching for bugs with my mom at my parents house a couple weeks ago when he came across a very tiny little snake along the back of their house. Naturally he wanted to catch it!

    Doing as any loving grandmother would do my mother (who is very afraid of snakes) helped my son capture this tiny little guy:




    When my wife and I arrived to pick up my son we were met with "Ralph" and instantly asked the four words every parent loves to hear "can I keep him?"

    An hour of "Google Research" latter I agreed. We stopped at Pet Smart (the first of many visits...) and purchased suitable lodging for our new resident. We were also sent home with meal worms which of course Ralph has no interest in.

    Since November 7th when Ralph joined our family I've spent nearly all of my free time researching snakes (I've never been a snake lover and still have a "healthy fear" of them but I'm working on it).

    Terrarium 1.0 consisted of a medium sized plastic "carrier" style cage with aspen bedding, a shallow plastic water bowl, and some leaves and sticks.

    I quickly learned that snakes need a temperature gradient to aid in themo regulation so back to Pet Smart I went. I didn't want a heat lamp in a 5 year old's bedroom so I went with the smallest UTH I could find which stated specifically that it was "not for use underneath plastic terrariums" so I also bought a glass aquarium and lid as well as a couple hides (warm and cool side). I also stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up the super awesome Accurite temperature / humidity monitor.

    Terrarium 2.0 was born! It was a snake palace. It had an UTH, temperature and humidity monitoring, two hides everything a snake could ever need (or so I thought...)

    In my testing prior to attaching the UTH I quickly learned that even the tiny 4-watt version was easily capable of producing temperature hotter than the blazes of... so back to Pet Smart for a rheostat. I returned triumphant with a ReptiMed rheostat but once again triumph turned to failure. The ReptiMed even on the lowest setting still allowed the UTH to get into the mid 90's .

    The next day I bough a cheap desk lamp dimmer at Lowe's to replace the ReptiMed rheostat. I was so excited that I went home at lunch to perform initial testing. That is when I learned that Terrarium 2.0 should have included a locking lid!

    Yes, that's right - Ralph was gone. Nearly three hours of searching the entire house failed to find our little brown friend. That evening I had to inform my son that "daddy lost your snake". I felt like such a failure of a parent for losing my son's beloved pet.

    After three days with no sign of Ralph we gave up and returned everything to PetSmart (at this point they all knew me by name). It was a very sad day but fortunately not the end of this little story......

    The following day (Monday 11/16) my wife called me as I was preparing to leave work and states "your son has something he want's to tell you" then my ecstatic 5 year old son exclaimed "DADDY - I FOUND RALPH!!!"

    By some miracle our tiny little brown snake survived four days loose in our home and managed to make it from my son's room all the way to the far corner of the basement behind the sofa (while avoiding the Jack Russel Terrier) where my son found him.

    Terrarium 3.0 (with locking lid) was purchased (yes, from PetSmart) on my way home from work. It is a 5.5 gallon glass terrarium with a locking screen lid. The UTH is now dialed in to 80 degrees at the glass on the warm side under the half coconut hide and 70 degrees on the cool side with a cute little half log hide. The same water dish (peanut butter jar lid) is included in terrarium 3.0 which is big enough for Ralph to fit into if he so chooses. I've also added a nice variety of climbing sticks which Ralph loves. I've attached a rather calm grassland background on three of the four sides of Ralph's terrarium which seems to make him feel more "at home". Ralph's home was finally complete, however he still showed no interest in his meal worms.

    As luck would have it, it's done nothing but rain off and on all week and my wife found several small worms and slugs last night. This morning before work I offered Ralph a very small worm which he took! Seeing that tiny little snake eat for the first time since we found him really made my day.

    Despite a few "bumps" I think we now have a recipe for a very happy and healthy snake and my son absolutely loves his little Ralph!

    I hope you enjoy my story of how I became a snake owner (sorry it was so long). My only concern going forward is how I'm going to find tiny little worms for him once the ground freezes. I know red worms and a NO NO and the only earth worms that the pet shops sell are nighcrawlers which are often nearly as big as Ralph! Anyone have any suggestions of a winter food source for our little guy?

    Martian
    "Ralph" - Brown Snake (Storeria Dekayi)

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Welcome aboard.

  3. #3
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Nice to have you with us. If it's getting cold where your at and the worm season is about over than the slug season will be gone also. Slugs are a favorite of Dekayi. Walmart sells nightcrawler. They can be cut into very small chunks.
    My advice is to get a shovel and start digging for whatever worms are left. Look in the leaf litter, under rocks and wood for some slugs. The big slugs can be cut up and offered. It has to stay below freezing for more than a few days for these food sources to be done for the year.
    Best of luck. Keep us informed.
    Steve
    5 awesome kids!
    Emmy, Kale, Molly, Gabby, Hailee
    They are not just snakes. They're garter snakes.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/thamnophis14?feature=mhee

  4. #4
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" Odie's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Hi, from Oregon, Martian
    RALPH

  5. #5
    matris ut plures Mommy2many's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Welcome to the forum! I am so happy to hear that your son & Ralph were reunited. As Steve said, slugs are the favorite of the Dekayi. You can set up a slug colony for the winter if you can find a bunch now. PM me for instructions on how to. It is very easy to maintain.

    My dekayi will only eat slugs. They also tend to like things cooler than the garters seem to.

    Good luck with Ralph. They are very nice snakes to be friends with
    Le Ann

    "Research shows that if you're afraid of spiders, you are more likely to find one in your bedroom. I'm really afraid of Johnny Depp."

  6. #6
    Juvenile snake Holly's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Mine likes worms and slugs. I would be interested in how to set up a worm or slug colony if anyone can help! My local reptile place doesn't carry earthworms right now, they said they are out of season. My FBT has taken a liking to them as well and will eat them more readily than crickets so it would make a lot of sense trying to keep a sustainable amount of them for both critters!
    0.2.0 Crested Geckos-Cornelius and Nibbler
    1.0.0 FBT-Spartacus
    0.1.0 Russian Blue-BunBun
    0.0.1 Teeny Brown Snake-Noodle

  7. #7
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Awesome story!

    Thanks for the nice read!

  8. #8
    Hi, I'm New Here! Martian's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mommy2many View Post
    You can set up a slug colony for the winter if you can find a bunch now. PM me for instructions on how to. It is very easy to maintain.
    I'm sure I can find dozens of slugs now. I would certainly be interested in info on setting up a slug colony as I'm sure others would be as well.

    Could you start a new thread and put a link to it here so everyone could benefit from the info?

    I'd also be interested in any dekayi feeding tips anyone might have. The live worms and slugs don't stay in Ralph's little food dish so I tried holding them for him with tweezers but he is more interested in climbing the tweezers and my hand than eating. Perhaps I should pre-kill his meals so they don't run away from him? If I can't find a reliable source of small earthworms and slugs through the winter I'm going to have to chop up larger ones anyway.

    One last question. How often and how much should I feed our little guy? He's shown no interest in eating since his tiny little worm two days ago.

    Martian
    "Ralph" - Brown Snake (Storeria Dekayi)

  9. #9
    Juvenile snake Holly's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    I feed mine every 2 days, though he will beg for food every time he sees me. It took him a week after we found him until he would eat. I use large bottle caps, like the ones from Arizona iced tea and Gatorade. It holds the worm or slug long enough for Noodle to realize they are in there.
    0.2.0 Crested Geckos-Cornelius and Nibbler
    1.0.0 FBT-Spartacus
    0.1.0 Russian Blue-BunBun
    0.0.1 Teeny Brown Snake-Noodle

  10. #10
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: My little Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    I feed mine every 2 days, though he will beg for food every time he sees me. It took him a week after we found him until he would eat. I use large bottle caps, like the ones from Arizona iced tea and Gatorade. It holds the worm or slug long enough for Noodle to realize they are in there.

    I have many, many radixes that give me that "feed me" face but Dekayis have it down to a science. I think they have some mind controlling powers.
    When I see that little face looking at me I can't help but stop what I'm doing and feed the little starving scrub.
    Steve
    5 awesome kids!
    Emmy, Kale, Molly, Gabby, Hailee
    They are not just snakes. They're garter snakes.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/thamnophis14?feature=mhee

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