Okay, so you just bought a snake and we've got to figure out what to put in the terrarium. Number one, the most important thing is what kind of snake do we have? And the reason why that's important is this king snake requires basically the same thing as a python would, but the terrarium needs to be more humid for the python, needs to be a little bit warmer than it does for our corn, our kings, our milk snakes.
So what accessories do we put in? Basically for every snake, we need to make sure that the terrarium is the proper size. An easy way to figure that out is if you know the length of the snake, if you add the length of the terrarium, to the width of the terrarium it needs to be a little longer than the length of the snake. And of course remember, some of these snakes are going to get large, so you'll be increasing the size of the terrarium as you go along, and along with it the accessories.
The accessories need to be, number one easily cleaned. That's so important with our snakes. So what I normally suggest is for the substrate for the bottom, it's a good idea in your younger snakes to use paper towels and wax paper, because they are actually soiling things much more frequently and you can just peel that off and clean it.
As they get a little bit larger they're making a little bit more of a mess, but less frequently and it's very important to be able to clean it. What I would suggest is AstroTurf. You can also use cypress mulch and some wood bark mulches and things. Be very conscious, if you're using a natural bark or mulch that when you feed your snake that they aren't getting the mulch with the bait, because they can't absorb it and they can cause obstructions.
So your substrate you need to be able to think of is it going to get in the way when I'm feeding? Sometimes it's better to feed them outside of that terrarium and is it going to be easily cleaned? Sometimes the mulches can be scooped. The AstroTurf you buy two. You have one that's in the terrarium. One that's been cleaned and hanging. So when it's time to clean you take the AstroTurf out, you clean it with a bleach solution a half a cup for a gallon is a very good solution. You clean it, soak it, rinse it, and hang it, and then you have the other one that's clean, you can simply put it back in.
Snakes are very shy, so we need to make sure they have hiding spots. That's very easy. A plant pot turned upside down. They can go through the top or you can make a hole in the side. It needs to be just big enough, so our little friendly guys can just be nice and snug in there. You want to make sure that you have a water supply in there. It's important for snakes and all you really need is a little tub with water in there. It needs to be deep enough that they just can cover themselves, and it's very important because it helps stimulate them to go to the bathroom.
It helps with their digestion. It will help moisten when it's time for them to shed and it keeps the humidity in the terrarium, sometimes that's all you'll need to help with the humidity. One of the most important things in our terrarium is we have to make sure that the lid has a latch. These little guys are little Houdini's and they're very strong. They can push the lid off of your terrarium, so a very important accessory is a latch on the lid.
The other thing that's very important is making sure they have proper lighting. To create that heat gradient where one side of it needs to be in the high 80's. For pythons and things maybe the 90's, you can use lighting, ceramic heaters. They need to be separate and away from the snake, because snakes will actually burn themselves.
So you need to create a heat gradient, so one side is in the high 80's, one side is in the high 70's, low 80's. You can use heat tape underneath which is recommended. It's very easy to control. Make sure that you have thermometers down at the ground level, because your snake is at ground level so you can monitor those heat gradients. And those are some very important accessories to help you keep your snake happy and healthy.