Why does my snake have milky eyes?
As your snake grows, it needs to shed (slough) its skin. As it approaches this event, the old skin moves away from the body. Snakes have no eyelids and instead a spectacle scale covers the eye. This needs to come away with the rest of the skin when the animal sheds. This is why just before it sheds, the skin looks dull and the eye becomes milky. This will clear again just before the skin comes off and after the slough, a clear spectacle is revealed once again. This is a normal process. However, if your animal sheds and the eye is still milky, this could mean that the old scale is stuck over the eye. This needs to be removed. Because this is a delicate area, it is best to ask an experienced herp keeper to help you or take the animal to a reptile vet. Also, if the cloudy eye does not coincide with a period of shedding, this could indicate damage caused from injury or disease and you should seek medical attention.
Why is my snake lying in its water bowl?
There are a few reasons your snake might be laying in its water bowl. Firstly, check your vivarium temperatures. It may be too hot in there and the animal is seeking to cool itself in its water. If this is not the case, check your animal for mites. Mites are tiny, pin-head sized parasites that live under and around your snakes scales. They irritate the animal so much that it will attempt to drown them to get some relief. Take your animal out into good light and check in the corners of its mouth, around its eyes and in the slit of skin under its bottom jaw. These are favourite hiding places for mites. You will need to look very carefully, though, as if they are not fully engorged (full of blood), they can be near impossible to see. Another place to check is the water bowl as you may find drowned parasites at the bottom of this.
If you are convinced that it is neither of the above reasons, it may be that the snake is coming up to a slough. Soaking helps the animal to ease the skin off.
Failing these reasons, it may just enjoy a good bath!!
What is the best snake for a beginner?
To decide on your first snake, you must consider these factors:
Following from these questions, here are just a few animals that are recommended for the novice.
The childrenâ€™s python is a good small sized animal to begin with. It only reaches around a metre in length so is easy to house. It is not an expensive animal to purchase and there are three sub-species with different colourations (though all are fairly uniform in colour in a brown, olive or orange â€“ often with darker blotching). The draw back is that as hatchlings, they may be finicky feeders and not as hardy as other species. Also, adults can sometime be snappy.
Many of the carpet pythons can make excellent first animals but if you are looking for something that is usually placid as an adult, the Murray Darling is a good choice. It grows to around 8 feet or so and is generally a silvery-gray with darker lines and blotches. Some may have some traces of red but this is not common. They are usually good feeders as youngsters and are very hardy and easy to look after animals. They are also relatively inexpensive to purchase. The draw back may be their size if you do not want anything too large and they may not be colourful enough for your criteria.
Reaching similar size to the Murray Darling, these are also hardy animals and mostly good natured. They are more colourful than the Murray being a brown to reddish colour with paler blotches encircled with black edging that gets darker as you move down the body. Again, if you are not after a large animal, these will not do. Also, they are moving into a higher price range.
The blackheaded python are also good natured animals. They have a glossy black sleek head with paler body banded with black to brown lateral stripes. An attractive animal, they are impressive but they do grow large. Ten foot is not uncommon for a mature adult. The other draw back is price. These are expensive animals!
Consider the factors and then do some research!!
Live food vs. Frozen defrosted. Which is better for me to feed to my snake?
There are pros and cons for both feed types. The animals that you purchase from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers have been fed on frozen defrosted and this will become evident in a moment.
We choose to feed with frozen food if not for the most important reason â€“ that the animals you purchase are free from parasites, disease or injury. Also, though there are some pros to feeding with live, we feel they are far outweighed by the cons.
How do I set up an incubator?
Please follow link to â€˜How to set up an incubatorâ€™
What do I place my eggs in when I put them in the incubator?
The most common medium for incubating eggs is vermiculite. Mix this equal parts weight with water and place the eggs partly sunken into this. The container they are incubated in should be sealed to keep up the correct humidity and the lid taken off intermittently only to exchange air and to check the eggs are healthy. There are other methods used. â€˜The Bearded Dragon Manualâ€™, â€˜Care of Australian Reptiles in Captivityâ€™, â€˜The Complete Chondroâ€™ and â€˜The More Complete Chondroâ€™ are all books you can purchase from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers that have sections relating to incubation techniques.
Please follow the link and learn â€˜How to build your own incubatorâ€™.
How do I set up for a turtle?
Please follow link to â€˜Turtle care sheetâ€™
How do I set up a vivarium?
Please follow link to â€˜heating and lighting and vivarium set up care sheetâ€™.
How do I treat mites?
If you have established your animal has mites, you will need to thoroughly treat your animal and its environment. Please note: MITES ARE HIGHLY TRANMISSIBLE TO OTHER REPTILES. Be EXTREMELY careful handling between animals and quarantine any affected animal. Mites can be the herp keepersâ€™ biggest nightmare! They can attach to your clothes, travel across cages and over flooring to infest other animals. Many mite treatments previously on the market were highly effective (such as bird mite and lice sprays, pyrethrin flea sprays, etc.). HOWEVER â€“ many of these cause mild to severe neurological problems to your animal and should NOT be used.
Many reptiles have died as a result of using sprays and insecticides that have been too strong for the animal to cope with. One of the safest methods we have found is using a product we sell called â€˜Top of Descentâ€™. This is a spray. We suggest the simplest method is to remove the water and food from the reptilesâ€™ enclosure and mist the area with the animal still inside. DO NOT over apply and avoid spraying the animal directly. You will need to thoroughly treat not only your animal but the cage and its furniture. One of the most common ways reptiles are exposed to these parasites is when keepers bring in a branch or log from outside that has not been treated and the mites are hiding in this. Treatment may need to be re-applied. For further reading on mites and other parasites, you can also purchase a book called, â€˜Understanding Reptile Parasitesâ€™ that is also available from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers.
How do I treat my animal for worms and is it necessary?
Most animals get worms and reptiles are no exception. It is best to treat your animal every 12 months if on frozen food and every 6 months if feeding live. For more information regarding intestinal worms of reptiles, you can purchase a book called, â€˜Understanding Reptile Parasitesâ€™ that is also available from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers.
How do I know what size food to feed my snake?
The general rule of thumb for feed size is double the width of the snakes head.
How often do I feed my snake?
Feeding regimes will change throughout the life of your reptile. When it is a hatchling, it will require more frequent feeds as it is growing. We recommend that you feed a hatchling every week to 10 days. This allows the animal to utilize the food to grow. At around a year or so, we recommend that feeding is slowed down and spaced out to around two weeks. This allows the animal to continue to grow but not as quickly. If an animal is fed too frequently then it has the danger of outgrowing its head! We have seen many examples of where keepers have overfed their animals so you end up with a large, fat bodies snake with a stunted head. And like any animal, being obese is unhealthy, putting stress on the heart and other internal organs. Feeding fortnightly is a good maintenance regime. However, if you are intending to breed a female animal, it is good to increase feeding so that there is extra nutrience to form healthy eggs and keep the female sustained through the long period of fasting often accompanied by pregnancy (usually referred to as when the snake is gravid). However, the male should not be overfed as he may lose interest in breeding. Also, if you intend to cool you snakes (leave them in a state of torpor or hibernation), you would consider increasing feeds beforehand to sustain them through this period of not eating.
My snake is having trouble shedding. What do I do?
If your snake is having difficulty shedding, it is best to put it into a container containing wet paper toweling or for a larger snake, a wet piece of cloth or towel. This allows the skin to moisten and the towel or cloth gives the animal something to rub against to remove the skin. It is not advised to soak your animal in water unattended as there is the possibility it could drown. You may need to help your snake out of its skin but only attempt to do this if it is removing easily. If the skin is too dry and you try to peel it away, you may damage the animal. It can be like sunburn for them and painful if pulled away when too dry. Make sure that all skin has come away from nostrils, eyes and the tip of the tail. Failing to remove these can lead to health issues later. And remember, there are always reasons that your snake is having trouble shedding. The most common is the humidity in the vivarium is not high enough. To remedy this, a simple solution is to place a larger bowl of water into the cage when you notice your animal has milky eyes.
Not shedding properly can also be a sign of a parasitic infestation or disease. For further reading, you can purchase a book called, â€˜Understanding Reptile Parasitesâ€™ and another book called â€˜Whatâ€™s Wrong with my Snake?â€™ that are both available from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers.
Why do I need to use a heater cover?
All heat sources need to be made safe for your animal. Snakes especially will coil around a warm spot to absorb heat. If that warm spot happens to be a ceramic heat emitter or even incandescent light, it will result in burns. Snakes can be slow reacting to heat so even though we may assume that the animal will know best, this is not the case. We sell mesh heater covers for a variety of lighting and heating bulbs and also mesh batten covers for fluorescent lighting.
Why do I need to use a thermostat?
We recommend the use of a thermostat for all heating sources. Many of the heating bulbs, cords, heat mats and heat rocks produce unregulated heat. In an ordinary situation, the heater may seem to work effectively without regulation but what about under varied situations? If the temperature is extremely hot during summer and the heat source is left on, there is the danger of cooking your animal! It is safer and more re-assuring to use a thermostat for all types of heat sources. There are a large number of better and more specific thermostats now on the market today. Ultimate Reptile Suppliers stock a range of Microclimate thermostats that are ready wired and can be used for all heat sources. They have even been designed to run incandescent globes by dimming rather than turning constantly on and off so prolonging the life of these heat sources. For more information on these products, please follow the link to the microclimate range.
NB: The exception to using a thermostat with a heat source is the Oz Brite globe. This needs to be regulated in a different way due to the internal ballast that would blow with the use of a thermostat.
How do I purchase an animal from you?
Please follow the link to â€˜How to purchase from usâ€™
How much is freight?
Please follow the link to â€˜How to purchase from usâ€™
My baby Beardy has stopped eating and is lethargic. What can it be?
Baby bearded dragons can be delicate and sensitive at this early age. There can be a number of reasons for this behaviour. Check that the temperature is not too hot or too cold. If this is not the problem, are the animalsâ€™ eyes sunken? If so, this could indicate dehydration. This is very common in young animals. We advise that young beardeds are sprayed daily with a mist of fresh water. It is best to take them out of the enclosure and spray them in a clean bucket. They will likely then lick droplets from their body or the side of the bucket.
What are they feeding on? Some people feed mealworms to their young beardeds. These are extremely difficult to digest due to the hard chitonous outer layer of the mealworm. It can cause them constipation. They may have also over-eaten.
Have you the appropriate lighting requirements? Please read the care sheet regarding â€˜heating and lightingâ€™.
For further reading on the care of these popular dragons, you can purchase a book called, â€˜The Bearded Dragon Manualâ€™ that is available from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers.