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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 a novice pet snake collector or are considering purchasing a snake for a pet, you should consider a gopher snake. It is always on the list of best snakes for a beginner. The reasons for this are that they are very docile, easy to handle, do not need special housing and are easy feeders. They probably have the best temperament of all beginner pet snakes. A hand-raised gopher snake will be very tame and very predictable when out of its enclosure. 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 as you can still interact with them by handling them.
You will find that your pet snake is not dangerous to you or others. Although there are times when they will get scared and may hit or bite. This is not a big deal as 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 anything that makes them uncomfortable. The fear of being bitten is much worse than the bite itself. If they think your hand is food, they may bite it and not let go. This is easy to handle with some grain alcohol (without rubbing) in their mouth while holding it down so the alcohol doesn’t come up their nose or flood their mouth.
If you plan to show your pet snake to other people, this pet snake is probably the best for that, as they are very docile. Go slowly introducing it to strangers. It won’t take long to get used to being handled by 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, as most of them aren’t. They will readily eat frozen / thawed mice making feeding very easy. Another advantage is that they only need to be fed every 10 days or so. Do not handle the food with your bare hands as the smell may make your pet think your hand is food.
A snake enclosure doesn’t have to be anything special. The main requirement is that they be at least two-thirds the length of the snake so that they can be stretched. Heat one side of the housing to 75 to 85 degrees, leaving the other side cold. Provide more of any material other than cedar shavings for the substrate. The indoor/outdoor rug performs well and is easy to keep clean. You must have a place for your pet to hide. This can be as simple as a box with a hole. Make sure the top of the enclosure is securely fastened so your pet can’t escape. An escaped snake can be very irritating to some family members.
As with most animals, there are some downsides or downsides to having a gopher snake as a pet. They defecate now and then, so you’ll have to clean the enclosure, which isn’t that big of a deal. Probably the biggest drawback is when provoked, scared or stressed, they often release musk along with their poo which really stinks and the smell is hard to get rid of. The taboo for some people is that snakes usually eat mice or rats. While some snakes require live, your pet snake will be happy with thawed frozen ones.
They may try to hit or bite you if you haven’t handled 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 keep it friendly and even tempered.
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons of having a gopher snake as a pet. To get the best results with your pet snake, you should get one that was born in captivity. Only attempt to capture and keep one as a pet if you are an experienced snake collector. Due to their even temperament, lack of feeding problems, lack of special enclosures, and ease of handling, the gopher snake will make a wonderful pet for both the novice and experienced collector.
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