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All You Need To Know About Your Python's Cage
When you decided to own a pet python, every detail about your pet is invaluable in making sure your pet is healthy and comfortable. Python owners, like owners of other pets, are usually keen to provide everything their pet needs.
To keep both the owner and the pet happy, in this article, I focus on the habitat of pythons and what needs to be done when they are reared as pets in an artificial environment. Many pythons suffer silently if they don't get a warm, cozy place to live in that approximates their natural habitat in a few important ways.
So how can you rear python in a friendly setting? What type of habitat should you provide? How do you get your pet to enjoy your company?
Your Python's Cage Size:
Python husbandry begins with getting a proper cage: One that is the right size, has proper lighting and ventilation, facilitates humidity and temperature control and is absolutely secure.
Choosing the right size is critical. Too small, and the animal will feel cramped. Too big, and the animal can feel stressed.
How to tell?
There are basically two types of pythons ... those that live on land, and those that live on the branches of trees.
If your python is predominantly terrestrial, the rule of thumb for its cage size is that the perimeter (distance measured all the way around the cage) should be at least TWICE the length of the snake, and the ratio of the length to width should be 3 to 2.
For example, a 5 foot (1.5 meter) python would require at least a 10 foot perimeter cage ... applying the 3: 2 ratio, that would mean a minimum cage size of 3' x 2'.
A 10 foot python would require a 20 foot perimeter ... 6' x 4' cage would be the minimum.
Complexity of the Cage:
Most Pythons do very well in a simple cage. Cage">All require a water bowl and some sort of hiding place. And the water bowl must be disinfected regularly, since the python may have unwittingly used it as a bathroom.
Material the Cage is Made From:
Cages are made of different materials like acrylic, plywood, melamine and compressed shelving board. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Acrylic .. strong, transparent, and light weight. Pliable and easy to clean. The only disadvantage is its higher cost :-(
Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) also make excellent cage materials, ... but can also be very expensive.
Plywood can also be expensive, but you can select a 2nd grade material to reduce your costs.
Melamine is generally the material of choice for python owners. They are good looking, & less expensive, ...but HEAVY! (So it's kind of hard to move ... a trade-off most people are willing to live with given the lower fees).
Pythons need a substrate. Newspaper is the easiest and most cost effective solution. (There are other options).
What about the door?
You can have a transparent thick glass sliding door or opaque glassed solid door. Your choice :-)
Keep two cages:
Ideally you would have 2 cages so that when one is cleaned, the python could be in the other one. Also ensure that your cage has a good interior coating.
Ventilation is very important:
Arrange to have near perfect ventilation for your pet cage. Good ventilation gives fresh air and lighting inside the cage, and is a strong component in keeping your python healthy and happy.
Rubber coated wire mesh is generally the most commonly chosen material. It's important to get the rubber coated variety ... the non-coated mesh will hurt your python's nose when it tries to test the boundaries of the cage :-(
Wooden and plastic pegboards also provide good ventilating materials.
One of the primary causes of python respiratory problems is improper cage temperature. So not only will you need heating arrangements in your cage, but you'll also need to be able to easily monitor it from outside.
The right choice of a temperature system will help your python to stay healthy. There are several commercially available options, from low cost to high cost.
Heat panels are ideal for larger snakes. They cost more, but last longer. (Make sure to monitor the temperature closely when you use them ... they are very effective).
Heat tapes are good also, but you have to be very careful to insulate the wiring, or you can electrocute your snake :-(
Heat emitters (light bulbs that emit no light!) are good for pythons that are only active during the day ...but are used less frequently.
Heat lamps are great for arboreal pythons. When you provide them at the top of the cage it helps them relax while coiled around a branch.
Heat rocks are not really recommended because of reports of thermal burns to pythons, and sometimes electrical shocks.
There is still a debate about lighting the python cages. It is argued that pythons do not require any artificial lighting as most of them shy away from it.
If you're going to use lighting, though, I recommend low watt fluorescent lights for the cage. But please remember to shield ANY lighting you use ... serious injury to your pet can result otherwise.
Since your pet Python will be spending almost all the time in its cage, it's a very important to know more about 'Python Housing" as this will help you get started.
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