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The Gopher Snake As a Pet – The Pros & Cons
Find out whether or not a gopher snake will make a good pet
If you are new to collecting pet snakes or are considering getting a pet snake, consider the gopher snake. They are always on the list of best snakes for beginners. The reasons for this are that they are very docile, easy to handle, do not require special accommodation and are easy to feed. They probably have the best temperament of all beginner pet snakes. A hand-raised gopher snake will be very tame and very predictable when outside of its enclosures. They will also seem to enjoy interacting with you. They usually have no health problems and rarely get sick. Although you can’t teach them tricks or walk them, they make great pets because you can still interact with them by handling them.
You will find that your pet gopher snake is not dangerous to you or others. Although there are times when they will get scared and maybe hit or bite. This is not a big deal because they are not poisonous and their teeth are relatively small. They will let you know when they plan to strike so you can stop doing what makes them uncomfortable. The fear of being bitten is much worse than being bitten. If they think your hand is food, they can bite it and not let go. This is easily remedied with some grain (not rubbing) alcohol in their mouth while holding their mouth down so the alcohol doesn’t go up their nose or flood their mouth.
If you plan to show your pet snake to other people, this snake is probably the best for that because it is very docile. Introduce him to strangers slowly. It won’t take long to get used to handling others and you can give people their first chance to handle a live snake.
Your pet gopher snake probably won’t be a problem feeder because most of them aren’t. They will readily eat frozen/thawed mice, making feeding very easy. Another plus is that they need to be fed every 10 days. Do not handle food with your bare hands because the smell may make your pet think your hand is food.
Gopher snake housing doesn’t have to be anything special. The main requirement is that it should be at least two-thirds the length of the snake so that they can stretch. Heat one side of the case to 75 to 85 degrees and leave the other side cool. For the base, provide any material except cedar wood. The indoor/outdoor carpet works well and is easy to keep clean. You must have a place to hide your pet. It can be as simple as a box with a hole in it. Make sure the top of the enclosure is securely fastened so that your pet does not escape. An escaped snake can be very irritating to some family members.
As with most animals, having a gopher snake as a pet has some drawbacks or disadvantages. They defecate here and there, so you will have to clean the house, which is not such a big problem. Probably the biggest drawback is that when provoked, frightened or stressed, they often release musk along with very smelly poop that is difficult to get rid of. Some people find it bothersome that snakes usually eat mice or rats. While some snakes are needed alive, your pet gopher snake will be happy with thawed frozen snakes.
They may try to hit or bite you if you haven’t held them for a while. This is easily overcome by handling them frequently. After all, isn’t that what a pet is for? The more you interact with your pet, the more you will enjoy it and it will make it friendly and even relaxed.
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to having a gopher snake as a pet. For the best results with your pet snake, you should get one that was born in captivity. Try to catch and keep one as a pet only if you are an experienced snake collector. Because of its even temperament, lack of feeding problems, need for separate enclosures, and ease of handling, the gopher snake will make an excellent pet for both novice and experienced collectors.
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