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How To Care For Your Python
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Pythons as pets. Are there any interesting behavioural traits? How should you house them in tanks? What type of tank substrate would you require? What tank temperatures would be required? What exactly are the dietary requirements? How do you handle them? What are your pythons hygiene requirements?What are the main disease and parasites which can harm them?

Over recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of pythons. Such as the ball python or green tree python. With broad heads and narrow necks and heat sensitive pits in their nose they are visually distinctive. When you handle them, you should hold them along the neck and just below the head. As they can be snappy and deliver some bite you must handle them gently.

Because pythons can be vividly coloured you can choose between black coloured pythons with gold mottled bands and cream bodies. Some pythons may be cream coloured with gold bands. Many are shades of green. Most pythons coil themselves around tree branches awaiting passing prey which they strike at as they hang down from tree branches.

Some of these can grow to lengths of 15-20 feet if excellent care and nutrition is provided. If you purchase your pet python while it is only eight weeks old you can ensure that you have one tame and docile pet if you train your pet python.

You can even let them slither across the cut grass in your back garden. Only if you have an enclosed back garden though. Always keep them under close supervision. Never keep pet rodents or kittens or puppies in the same home as they will eat them.

In the evening is when your pet python becomes active for it is nocturnal by nature. During the daytime it sleeps away the hours. Only when exposed to constant sunlight can it raise its body temperature as it does in the tropical habitats where it is endemic. So your pet python requires shelter and shade.

To house your pet python you require at least one 40 gallon glass aquarium tank with temperatures set between 80-100 degrees fahrenheit. As snakes have to keep their skins moist at all times, the tank humidity should be set to 60 degrees humidity.

While your substrate should fill the bottom of your glass aquarium tank to depths of 8 inches of sand topped with peat and moss substrate you have provided somewhere for your pet python to sleep, rest, molt, hibernate and for the female to lay her eggs. Because pet pythons have to shed their skins regularly before growning new skins they undergo the process called molting.

During this period they disappear into the substrate for one month. While pythons hibernate during the winter months between November through to February they lie buried in the substrate. Now you know why setting up your tank substrate is so important. It is where your pet will sleep and rest.

Almost every tank should have abundant leaf litter and foliage and tree branches. Our pet python loves to climb so therefore introduce climbing frames. Always ensure there is an enclosed lid on the tank.

Every python requires live prey. Such as mice, rats, shrews. One of these per day should satisfy all the requirements for your growing adolescent python. When they reach maturity you can provide them with one adult rabbit every three weeks. If you are squemish about placing live food in your 40 gallon glass aquarium tank then you can alternatively purchase frozen rats or mice.

So therefore you should feed your pet python during the evening and learn to handle it during this time. Once your pet python has become accustomed to you feeding it four times weekly it will recognise you by your scent before it begins to bond with you and the rest of the family.

When your pet python has reached one year old it has reached maturity. Upon reaching this stage in its lifecycle it is ready to mate. By keeping your pair of adult male and female pythons in this tank mating occurs. Once the female python has conceived she creates nests made from leaf litter to lay an average of 5 eggs. Next, she coils around the nest. Using the heat from her body the eggs hatch by 2 months.

Early in your adult female python's lifecycle she can reproduce because she is mature at 12 months so you must keep another separate tank. Instead of mating every year afterwards, your female python is ready for breeding nearly every 3 years.

Almost every period preceding molting, hibernation, pregnancy requires that your pet python requires daily feeding. Before the hibernation period, adult pythons require live food every other day. While this is important to remember you should realise that during pregnancy female pythons expend all their energy reserves and lose an estimated 50% of the total body weight.

Cleaning your pet snake cage at least every month is essential. To eliminate algae and fungi besides microbacteria is essential. When cleaning your pet python you have options. Either bathe it in a few inches of warm water to massage its skin or use shower spraying.

Having to undergo molting there is always the risk that not every piece of skin will shed on your pet python. Should you notice this, then remove this decayed skin. Until you do this, there is the risk of bacterial infection. This can prove to be fatal to your pet python if it goes untreated.

Since at some time all pets contract diseases and ailments, your pet python will become unwell so you have to visit your local specialist veterinarian. Some of the signs are nasal discharge, opacity in the eyes, exposed patches of skin due to skin flaking off. Allthough it may appear to be influenza, your pet python could be infected by parasites. Mites are often the most common cause of pet python disease.

Because your pet python has on average life expectancy of 25 years you must take good care of your undemanding and easily maintained pet. If specialised care and nutrition is maintained. ball pythons and green pythons can live for up to thirty years.

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