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CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

PAGE 2: CAGING

 

Boelen’s Pythons are very active snakes and do not do well in confined enclosures. If one has to choose, a longer cage is better than a higher one but providing both is desired, for M. boeleni love to climb as well. Larger enclosures also help reduce the chances of nose rub. Several hide areas near a heat source and away should be provided. Extremely bright lights should be avoided. To start the morning light cycle, I provide a full spectrum heat lamp that comes on for eight hours a day; radiant heat panels are used as an additional heat source there after. Temperatures should range from 60F to 84F, providing one basking site that allows the snake to choose if they want to reach temperatures higher than the recommended range. These sites are usually chosen after meals or at the beginning of the day. This temperature range is for newly acquired animals and provides a noninvasive thermal gradient where the animal experiences the thermal drop but does not suffer any ill effects do to stress and/or a weakened immune system.

I recommend using only newspaper as the substrate for newly acclimating Boelen’s Pythons. This will ensure a cleaner environment, ease of obtaining a fecal sample, and if random striking should happen, chances of getting substrate lodged in the mouth have been eliminated. Snake mites are also another common problem with imported animals and newspaper will help make eradication easier. To help keep humidity at a constant use several layers of newspaper to help absorption of water when spraying or pouring water into the enclosure. Morelia boeleni for the most part do not enjoy being sprayed or laying in direct contact with water. My past experiences have shown that if the cage floor is saturated the animals will seek refuge on top of a hide box or perch if provided. Exposing the snakes abdomen to excessive moisture can lead to necrotic dermatitis (scale rot) and should be avoided.

Occasionally wild-caught snakes will strike at the glass. If striking occurs cover the glass with several layers of newspaper or something comparable. Try to avoid putting animals like this near high traffic areas in the collection as recommended in the quarantine section.

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Several examples of cages used by various Boelen’s owners. Cage size is very important, provide a cage large enough for the snake to move about freely.

Jimmy Sola placing one of his adults back into a very nice eight foot cage. Photo by Sola

     

© 2007 Marc A. Spataro