As a result of their manageability and low level of upkeep requirements, little snakes make excellent pets. Milk snakes, for instance, have brilliant colours to mimic the appearance of larger, more dangerous snakes in order to protect themselves in the wild; but, these same colours make them visually appealing when kept as a pet because of their vivid appearance.
Because snakes use their tongues to detect their surroundings, it is totally natural for their tongues to go in and out of their mouths as they move about. This behaviour should not be cause for concern. Because snakes have weak eyesight and poor hearing, flicking their tongues is an essential exercise for them.
If you must handle the snake, make sure to support it along the length of its body rather than by its neck or tail in order to prevent breaking bones and other severe injuries. The practise of feeding snakes after handling them can condition many species, particularly the smaller pet types, to become accustomed to being handled over time. As a general practise, handling snakes should be done very infrequently because it might cause damage to the snake’s skin.
Snake food varies by type from earthworms for many of the smaller types, to small rodents and lizards for the larger types. The prey can be live or recently killed and can be kept frozen, though fresh prey is advisable. Snakes usually only need to be fed once per week, but this should be checked when acquiring a new snake as there are variations.
Snakes are usually best kept in tanks often known as terrariums, with tree bark on the floor and a secure lid, often with lighting though heat is best administered through a heater panel under the floor of the terrarium so that the snake can lie in a warm or cooler area when required. When feeding the snake, it is a good idea to put it on paper so that none of the surrounding material is digested as well, which could cause problems.
Snakes slough, or shed their skin, less frequently as they grow older. Humid surroundings are especially advisable during these periods to help the skin shed.
As a general rule, though there are exceptions, keep snakes separate. They live solitary lives in the wild except for mating; left together for any length of time one may well be eaten by the other!
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