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I don't think much UV is getting to the

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Posted by: 53kw at Fri Dec 21 15:51:19 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by 53kw ]  
   

snakes. Most plastic is UV opaque. I have kept coachwhips and racers many times and had good results using a full-spectrum daylight bulb with a color rendering index of 98 (Lumichrome brand) in combination with a UV bulb--these days I like the Reptisun 10.0 UVB bulbs. I set hatchlings up in all-glass aquaria with screen covers, cypress mulch bedding and a cupped piece of bark for a hide spot. At one end of the cage an incandescent bulb in a reflector creates a hot spot of about 105 degrees F. Racers have the highest voluntary thermal preference of any North American snake, deliberately seeking out basking places in the upper 90s and low 100s F.

I did keep one tiny racer in a Sterilte plastic tub and I do think those containers have potential. I think the snakes benefit from having translucent rather than transparent walls, which contributes to a feeling of security for the inmates. When I used a plastic tub for my racer I cut a large opening in the lid and covered it with steel window screen which was hot-glued into place. This allowed full-spectrum light to shine into the cage. A warm basking spot was provided with subsurface heat.

It's good that your babies have swallowed voluntarily. I just finished conditioning some Black Racer hatchlings for an associate, and while some accepted mice soon after hatching, most insisted on frogs, baby snakes or lizards, and some refused all food voluntarily, necessitating forced feeding of such slender items as mouse tails, for months. Not surprisingly, these individuals did not grow much until at last they started accepting food voluntarily. Before feeding voluntarily, most of the non-feeders learned to strike at food while being held. If they got a good grip, they could be placed gently back in their cage or into a temporary container, and usually swallowed voluntarily. Interestingly, once they "discovered" eating, they seemed not to get enough, and after vexing me for months, turned into my best captives, taking defrosted mice every few days until they gained enough weight to slow down a bit. My thought on conditioning baby racers and coachwhips is to keep food in them by hook or crook until they at last eat on their own. Out of 11 baby racers, only two died of total refusal to feed--the rest are beasts that eat everything in sight.


   

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