Learn all about feeding and caring for your pet gopher snake
The Home of the Gopher Snakes
Gopher snakes do not need an elaborate place to live. Probably the main consideration is to make sure that the enclosure can be well secured. If you don’t secure it, the snake may push you far enough to get out. All you need is an opening for your head to fit through and they’re gone. This snake is a good escape artist, so make sure you don’t have to search the house for it, as not all family members like snakes as much as you do.
If you often take your snake out to handle it or let it exercise, you can keep it in an enclosure as small as 10 gallons. If you keep him confined most of the time, you will need at least a 20-gallon tank or enclosure to keep him happy. There have been reports of a gopher snake reaching up to 8 feet in length, so make sure you have a large enough enclosure for the future. The length of the enclosure should be at least two-thirds the length of the snake to give them room to stretch out.
Gopher snakes do not need special substrates. As long as you can provide warmth and comfort to the snake, then it’s fine. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to your substrate needs. Chips like aspen are a good substrate, but don’t use cedar, as it could cause breathing problems. Potting soil is good as it is easy to clean up after them. Sand or gravel is not recommended because it is not a good absorbent. Using these will only promote the growth of bacteria. Shredded paper is fine as long as it’s free of ink. A product called Repti-turf is very good, as well as indoor/outdoor rugs and Astro-Turf.
Proper Temperature for a Gopher Snake
Like most snakes, your pet snake needs to have adequate heating in its enclosure. A good way to do this is with a heating pad under the middle of the enclosure. This way they will have a warm area and a cooler area. The warm area should be kept between seventy-five and eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. This is a must as it is needed to digest your food. At night, the temperature can drop, so the temperature must be regulated.
Feeding the Gopher Snake
Gopher snakes are very easy to feed as they will eat frozen and thawed mice or rats and only need to be fed every 10 days. The good thing about this is that you can keep a good supply of food in your freezer. Although in the wild, these snakes feed on live creatures, do not feed them in captivity. At times, they could turn on the snake and could bite and cause injury.
Water is a must for gopher snakes
Your pet gopher snake requires clean, fresh water at all times. The container should be big enough for him to put his body in, as they like to take a bath from time to time. Snakes often defecate in their water, in which case it should be cleaned and disinfected immediately.
Handling your pet snake
When handling your pet snake, you must be gentle but at the same time uncompromising. A baby gopher snake can be picked up with one hand, but an adult snake must be picked up with both hands. They won’t wrap around your arm like a python, but instead try to take off. To control it, simply turn it gently in the direction you want it to go.
At some point when having a pet gopher snake, you are likely to get bitten. There are 2 types of snake bites associated with your pet. The strike is one where they are not happy with you. They can’t stand it. While this hurts, the bite is not poisonous and just needs to be disinfected. The other type is the feeding bite and is a bit more serious. The reason is that it is trying to eat whatever part of you it has its teeth on. The more you try to escape, the more it clings. A little grain alcohol (no rubbing) in his mouth will make him loose almost immediately. Listerine will also work. Make sure you don’t stick it up his nose. Biting is rare, so don’t let this stop you from having a pet ground snake.
pet gopher snake
While corn snakes and ball pythons are probably more popular as pets, you should consider a gopher snake. They probably have the best overall temperament of this type of snake. They are very similar to the corn snake in their housing and feeding needs. They are easy to feed as they eat frozen mice and only need to be fed every 10 days or so. They don’t mind being touched and will only bite when provoked or hungry. Even strangers will be able to handle a trained pet snake. Before determining which type of snake to keep as a pet, read up on the gopher snake and you might decide that this is the pet snake for you.