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  1. #1
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3
    Country: United States

    New snake owner - lots of general questions!

    Hi all,

    I've been big into caring for animals since I was a kid, but unfortunately haven't had the chance to do so in a long time - college student, didn't have the time to look into options, etc. Home for the summer, we found a garter snake outside, and I was able to scoop it up in a carrier cage without trouble. From there, that day I did some research and bought some supplies for its current setup, which I think is at least adequate for now. From the get-go, I assumed that I may have to let him back into nature - I never want to be one of those people that picks up a wild animal and kills it out of negligence - but at least to my untrained eye, he seems to be adapting quite well to his environment. So, questions about all this (apologies for the abundance):

    1. What species of garter snake is this, assuming it is one as it seems to be?

    2. About how old is this snake? Approximately how long will he (of course, I don't know the snake's sex, so I'm making an assumption here) live, if cared for well? About how large do these guys grow?

    3. Currently, I have one heat lamp for a hot side of the cage, which is both heat and light. I plan on upgrading to a dual lamp, one with heat+light for daytime and one with just heat for nighttime. Is this a good plan?

    4. I've been leaving the lamp on all night, so he has access to the heat if necessary. Do folks usually turn the light/heat off at night completely?

    5. I've been feeding him earthworms roughly once every two to three days (nightcrawlers, bought from the store). I cut them up into thirds, and usually feed him only a third at a time, but I'm realizing this may be too little! Are there good indicators of how much to feed this snake, and when he might be hungry? Is activity indicative of hunger? He's generally quite active.

    6. Feeding hasn't been too big of a challenge, but sometimes he seems to be unable to find the worms if they're not moving quite enough after they've been dropped into the cage (wiggling them around with tongs/etc. seems to catch his attention, then when dropped occasionally he'll lose them). I know a lot of folks feed garters thawed mice - is there a "plan of action" for how to attract a snake to unmoving food, other than just wiggling it around yourself in front of them?

    7. He is very, very physically active, which is a treat to watch. Lately I've been noticing he sort of "stands" and will also climb on the thermometer in the cage to try to "escape" (which he can't do, due to the mesh top that is tightly affixed to the 10gal tank). I imagine that sort of behavior to be somewhat normal, but I also want to make sure there isn't some kind of distress he's in or something in particular he's searching for. Should I just add more climbing options, and perhaps more things to hide under/etc.?

    8. Any glaring things missing or needed with the tank setup? As mentioned, it's 10gal with one hot and one cool end. I do only have one thermometer currently, hoping to replace it with two stick-ons (one for each end). I'm also looking to add clumps of green moss from petsmart for humidity, but am unsure if this would actually be too much.

    Finally, pictures are in a nice little album right here!

    Thanks for wading through all of this to anyone who did - just looking to offer the best care for this little guy, who has been a real delight thus far. It's great to see a snake so active like this one is!

  2. #2
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    C.B,Iowa(radixville)
    Posts
    23,328
    Country: United States

    Re: New snake owner - lots of general questions!

    Welcome, wood shavings can be deadly if ingested. Best to go with a safer bedding.
    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

  3. #3
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3
    Country: United States

    Re: New snake owner - lots of general questions!

    Hey, thanks for letting me know! What are the most popular types of safer bedding?

  4. #4
    "Preparing For First shed"
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    55
    Country: United States

    Re: New snake owner - lots of general questions!

    Nice snake and setup! I'm a newbie so I don't have a lot of answers; just wanted to say hi. I do turn my light off at night, though, and have no heating source at night. That's fine if your home doesn't get too cold.

    I keep my very young garter on newspaper for now but plan to transition to bioactive substrate once its bigger and more tame.

    Good luck!

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