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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 05-27-2016, 12:27 PM   #1
clark cox
The obsession...

and how I got my focus back. Back in the day 1983-2009 everyone I knew had Tupperware and storage boxes stacked on top of enclosures some where in there house,me included. I was fortunate to have the money to build,buy,feed all of my snakes no matter how many I had. But still didn't have the time. Why because I was herping all the time. If I wasn't at work I was herping,and herping while I was working. Great job! Found a patternless WDB at work one day. Problem was I never really got to enjoy the snakes because I was always out herping,working or sleeping. The only time I really got to see them was when I was cleaning them or feeding.

The real reason for me writing this is not just the lack of enjoyment for me with my reptiles but the lack of quality of life for the snakes. Now I know what the stores,reptile shows,enclosure industry will tell you. Rack systems are fine and have plenty of light,heat tape is just as good as a heat light, and my ALL TIME FAVORITE is the enclosure only needs to be big enough for the snake to be able to stretch out. What this means is if the snake is 5' as a adult the enclosure can be 2' long x1' wide x what ever high. That's crap and that's sad for the snake. (I've done it and not proud of it.)

At that point it was a obsession not a fun hobby. So one day I decided that I was going to enjoy the snakes in there own habitats and enjoy more lad back hiking/herping in the field and simplify my life at home. So I kept one enclosure that I built in 2002,and got rid of all the rest. My point is NOT that everyone should have only one enclosure,but that the snake should have the proper living space.

What is the right living space?? My opinion is it should have all the same qualities as their wild habitat as possible. Light,heat,multiple hides,water if needed,and space. How much space?? My opinion. The length should be as long as the snake as a adult. The width should be 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the snake as a adult. The hight should be 1/2 the length of the snake as a adult.

So this would look like this a 5' bull snake would need a enclosure that is 5' long x 2'wide x 2'high. And this is minimal to me. My enclosure that I built in 2002 is 7' long x 2' wide x 22" high SEE PICS, and I have a pair of Mexican king snakes in it right now (Thayeri). I have also kept and bread out albino WDB in this enclosure six year project. Also a pair of Arizona mt. kings,and many others.

One thing I have noticed then the enclosure/habitat is set up right is the snakes do all the cool little things that you see them do in the wild. Which is fun to watch. Lot more fun when it is a hobby not a obsession.

I hope this helps out someone out there. You wont get any good advice from the reptile industry because it is driven by greed not real love for the animals,like most things in this country sad but true!

But on the bright side this hobby can be a blast and be done right. I love animals and always have/will. They should have the right to live happy where ever they live.
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Old 05-27-2016, 04:19 PM   #2
clark cox
few more pics

different snakes in the same enclosure over the years.
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:21 PM   #3

I totally agree with you, I keep only 5 snakes, and they are in natural habitat style enclosures (well, apart from the newspaper floors.... )

My snakes are mostly nocturnal, but while they spend most of the day curled up under hides, they are always in new places in the morning, and I regularly see them actively moving around, so I know they use the space they have, and I get a great deal more enjoyment out of them than I would if they were in racks.

I know many people utilise racks, and I'm not throwing stones, as I understand the reasons if you have many snakes, but they are not for me, I like mine to be able to move around change position.

My snakes like to climb as well, and while the tanks are not necessarily as long as the snakes, when they climb diagonal branches they do get to stretch out entirely.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:03 PM   #4
clark cox
Thanks Helen!

like the enclosure too.
Old 06-01-2016, 09:18 PM   #5
D Grade
Well said, Clark! Thats also a beautiful cage setup you made (with a beautiful Albino C. Atrox might I add).

And I totally agree with the comments about a racking system. Racking systems are great for a business, but not when it comes to enjoying and seeing the animals. You can make a glass enclosure comfortable for a snake by adding a background and blocking off the sides so that the animal feels more secure. I also believe that racking systems are a bad idea when it comes to hots, ESPECIALLY Pit Vipers. Last thing I want to do is open a bin with a locked and loaded Crote (or other Pit Viper) and not knowing their position in the bin. Just my opinion though.
Old 06-03-2016, 09:59 PM   #6
I have both large enclosures and racks. I do it based on the species. fossorial snakes that are content to lay under cover 90+% of their lives, I tend to go with racks for. Highly active, snakes that spend a great deal of time basking and foraging for prey, I put in large enclosures where they can roam and I get the benefit of watching them. I certainly never replicate "the wild" though, if that were the case I'd have hawks and rednecks with shovels in there with them lol
Old 06-04-2016, 03:54 PM   #7
clark cox
Very true...

some species do very well in a rack system but there are many common pet trade snakes that don't. The real issue I have is that they have the basic conditions that they would have in the wild. Being proper heat,light,fresh water,food,and space. The other issue is that they be kept clean. Adding things like rocks,wood,substrate,is optional. Would be nice if we could put rednecks in enclosures would benefit us all. LOL
Old 06-04-2016, 05:04 PM   #8
clark cox
some examples of...

what not to do.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:07 PM   #9
clark cox

what not to do.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:10 PM   #10
D Grade
Originally Posted by clark cox View Post
Would be nice if we could put rednecks in enclosures would benefit us all. LOL
My sentiments exactly!

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