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 Looking for help/general advice

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sbostaph
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PostSubject: Looking for help/general advice   Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:48 am

Hey all,

I'm a very very new snake owner. I was given some snakes to 'snake sit' for a few months to a year - I have no idea yet how long I'll have these guys, but I want to take decent care of them in the meantime.

This is my first time owning anything but cats!! When I got them, I had no idea how awful their living conditions were, and only through some research and talking to other snake owners did I start to get an idea of how badly I got shafted!

To give you an idea: I got the three snakes (two BP's and a red tailed boa) all living in one 40 gallon glass tank with two heat lamps, one water dish, and one hide. The constrictor was shedding in patches.

The BPs are both female, and seem to be normal sized - the older is about 16 years old and is about 5 feet long, and the younger is about 5 and is about 3 feet long.

The constrictor, however, was a different story - he's 4 years old and just under 3 feet long. I asked the owner about it when I found out how big he SHOULD be, and she told me "oh they only get that big if you feed them like crazy."

She'd been feeding them every 2 weeks, a rat for the big BP and two mice for the smaller snakes.

So the changes I've been able to make so far:

-Purchase another tank, lamp, and hide for the constrictor and put him in his own tank
-Get heat pads to put on the sides of the tanks for additional heating (ambient temp in the tanks was about 75 degrees except directly under the heat lamps)
-Start feeding them every 7-10 days instead of every 14-16 days; moved the two smaller snakes up to rat pups instead of having to give them two mice each

My question now is - are there any rescues or organizations around that might be able to provide some mentorship and maybe donate or sell some used things so I can keep improving their living conditions? I've already dropped easily $200 on these guys, and I'm living paycheck to paycheck as is. However, I know I still need to get a third tank for the little BP, and some more thermometers and humidity gauges. I'd also like to learn more about general snake care, humidity, shed cycles, etc etc. I feel like there's so much I don't know, and there is so much contradictory info on the internets! i'd love to just go spend an afternoon with someone who can give me the basic rundown and maybe more advice on my specific setup.

Any help would be much appreciated; I feel like I'm totally floundering here!!
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bcr229
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PostSubject: Re: Looking for help/general advice   Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:12 pm

If you're on Facebook there are several reptile forums where you can hopefully find a local enthusiast to show you the ropes.

There is also Virginia Reptile Rescue - http://www.vareptilerescue.org/ who might know of someone local to you who could lend a helping hand.

The ball pythons will likely each be ok in a 40-breeder tank if you can make tops for them so that heat and humidity don't escape. Check Craigslist, you can find used ones that aren't too expensive. The boa will also be ok in a 40-breeder for now, but after a year I'd plan on upgrading him to a bigger enclosure.

Don't feel like you have to go crazy on cage decor either - as long as they have the correct heat and humidity, and a secure place to hide, they'll be fine with a minimalist setup.

The place not to skimp on quality is on heat pads/under-tank heaters (UTH's) and a thermostat. At least if you get 3 of the same type of heat pad you'll only need one thermostat.

Finally, I hope your friend is paying you to care for these snakes, as the cost of feeders can add up over time.
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sbostaph
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PostSubject: Re: Looking for help/general advice   Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:39 am

Thanks so much for the info - I emailed the rescue this morning! It looks like they have some tanks for sale for lower prices, so they might have some additional equipment as well.

I am indeed on Facebook - do you know of any VA-specific groups?

I'm still trying to figure out the whole UTH/Thermostat setup - I think I'd need to see one in action to really get how it works. But that's definitely what i'm shooting for in the long run!
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