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Questions regarding a Children's python.

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Posted by: nakabaka at Thu Aug 11 22:29:51 2016  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by nakabaka ]  

Hello everyone, I'm the proud new owner of a Children's python named Sam. Already had a checkup with the vet (who was relating it to Balls, while saying he hasn't handled a Children's in particular), he was given a clean bill of health. Got a few questions as I can't seem to find much info on Children's in particular, everything seems to be about Balls and Carpets and the like. Before I go further, so you don't feel you need to start from the bottom with me, I would like to say my experience with reptiles is about the high end of intermediate; though I haven't owned a snake specifically, I have read many things on them over the years and friends have even owned various species. Though my experience has been with quite a few other species of reptile, I strongly feel that if you adopt an animal, you are to take the best care of it that you can. I AM aware that sometimes, even within the same group (for example, skinks as a group), that there could be variations for care as a particular species within that group could be a one-off from the rest. I will admit he was a spur of the moment purchase as I've wanted a reputedly good species of snake (seems to be the only type of reptile I haven't owned yet) that - most importantly - stays a MANAGEABLE size; and with him being a relatively small species of python - I understand an adult average of 3-3.5 feet vs the average of 8-12 feet I understand balls can get to - I figured I'd grab him while he was just plain available at the moment as it seems they aren't offered very often. I was not aware of the Children's pythons until I stumbled across him, though I vaguely heard of the Anthills and knew I'd never fork out for that kind of price tag for an animal again (did once for a blue tree monitor, whom I still own and is now almost 4.5 years old). I know it's irresponsible to not have the enclosure ready before bringing the animal home, but apparent lack of availability and species-specific information (I do trust my experience to an extent) were the reasons I didn't have his setup ready off the bat as I didn't expect to get my hands on one in the foreseeable future. Figured breeders would have issues offering much quantity with the species having small clutches and Australia having banned exports of their native wildlife. The rant now covered, first question. A friend has a Ball that is always up and moving around, but my Children's is always burrowed in his substrate; is this normal for the snake, or is he still acclimating to his new environment? I would normally co-relate him eating as well as he does with his comfort in his home, especially with stress supposedly being a factor for eating as it is with any reptile. Makes me no difference if this is the case, but I'd like to know if they're more of the jittery type, though he doesn't appear to be. In regard to signs of acclimation, he does not bite, hasn't even reared back at me, and does crawl all over me exploring when I do have him out of his cage; he is alert and his eyes go everywhere, are very clear and very direct when he is scoping something out. Second, aspen seems to be popular for keeping snakes but I've always used stuff like ABG mix, sand/soil mixes or reptile carpet, so I'm off the loop with this type of substrate. Nervous about that given the rather high humidity levels I've known ABG to hold in a tank (I've mostly used it for when I've needed humidity in excess of 60% and it's my go-to for that). Would Repti-Bark or another pure-bark medium suffice? I've stalked the forum for information on my particular species and didn't find much, but noticed some who own Balls on this forum saying it might not get high enough, though humidity seems to not be an issue. It's staying a good 40-50% in there just with his water dish (which seems to be the consensus from what I could find on Children's but I'm worried it might be the low end, given my experience with other stuff). I hate the appearance of this aspen (looks bland) and I know reptiles tend to feel more comfy in a more natural habitat, though I do like the ease of maintenance this gives and bark would be just as easy, in addition to his capability to burrow in it. But, given what I've read about snakes in particular getting blisters and scale rot when kept on moist substrates, I don't want to chance it before I KNOW it would be ok to use a different substrate. Third, do these guys like to climb? Again, hard to find specific info on these guys except from pet store sites (which I'm iffy about all-around) but it seems it's hit or miss on if they are climbers. For a setup I have an under-tank heat mat and light (a small halogen) on the warm end bringing the surface of the glass under the substrate to about 90-95 degrees F, measured on the actual glass immediately after moving the substrate off the heat mat to prevent cooling, and measured with an IR gun. Having hit the substrate surface with the IR gun, and mixing it up a bit to get some readings of the "meat" of the substrate, I'm getting temps of roughly low 90s. it's about 80-ish internal-ambient on the cool end (sometimes my probe thermo on that end reads 82), a hide on both ends being those half-tube bark pieces, a tube flourescent for his UVB, and a corner stone dish for water. He is about a foot long at the moment and is currently being housed in a 20g long tank with one of those sliding screen tops that snap into place. I picked him up on the 2nd and he's eaten twice so far; he ate once the day after arriving and then on the 8th, each time a single frozen-thawed fuzzy which was slightly bigger than his diameter on his middle. Any more species-specific info would be greatly appreciated if I'm missing anything.


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