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She won't leave Zim Alone!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been pulling my hair out with this cat. Tyran won't leave Zim, my Snow Corn snake, alone. He lives in a 20g tank with a heavy duty screen top. She is constantly there! Either she is sitting on top the couch right over his tank, or she's sitting on top of the tank. This could be stressing my snake out, and I'm worried about damage to the screen.

I've tried everything. Water, clapping my hands really loud, saying "No". She just looks at me and continues to play with the heat lamp cords and such. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes because she's knocked over the heat lamp. (It gets really cold at night, so the heat lamp is very important.)

I can't move the cage into another room because I live in the basement. My grandmother does not allow me to keep any of my animals upstairs. I'm also worried because within the next 2-3 months, I'll be getting some leopard geckos in an identical tank.

What can I do?
post #2 of 14
Can you improvise a solid top over the screen with legs on it so air is still provided?

That would only allow your Tyran at most to get her paw or leg in between and could be less stressful for your snake.

As far as the heat lamp can you anchor it down with something heavy?

Good luck with finding a solution.
post #3 of 14
when i had my rodents i kept them on a bookshelf in their 10 gallon tanks. that kept the cats from stressing them out, or getting at them.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of tying the lamps down with twist ties. Drill some holes on the outer edge and just fasten them to the screen top.

As we speak, Tyran is sitting on the back of the couch, watching my snake intently. My grandmother said that she knocked over the heat lamp again today.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soka View Post
I can't move the cage into another room because I live in the basement. My grandmother does not allow me to keep any of my animals upstairs. I'm also worried because within the next 2-3 months, I'll be getting some leopard geckos in an identical tank.

What can I do?
First off, you cannot put more than one leopard gecko in a 20 gallon aquarium. They are solitary lizards that can be very territorial. They will bully or outright fight with each other.

You need locks on all the screen lids and you need the lamp secured to something. Also do you have a smoke detector in the room? A knocked over heat lamp is a serious fire risk.

Can you cover three of the aquarium sides with paper or a decorative background that they sell at pet stores? This will make it harder for the cat to sit next to the cages and bat at it. Move the cage onto something that is tall, sturdy, and does not have space around the sides for the cat to jump on. A shelf or a tall dresser works well. If you can't move the snake to a better spot try setting soda cans with pennys in them and the tops taped closed around the edge of whatever the cage is sitting on. Maybe knocking those off a few times will teach the cat to stay down.

I have geckos and have had to teach my kitties that they're off limits. Sho was stubborn as a kitten but eventually learned, moving the lowest cage that attracted his attention to a higher shelf on a bookshelf helped. Tomas learned rather quickly, after a few well aimed squirts of water at his butt.


If you ever need any care info on leos feel free to pm me
post #6 of 14
More important is don't get more pets until you can take care of the ones you already have. Not to be mean but you are asking a lot of an animal that cant understand what the problem is, then bringing in more of a similar situation is asking for a serious disaster.....
post #7 of 14
Cats are hardwired by eons of evolution to view snakes as mortal enemies, to be dispatched into Reptile Heaven as quickly as possible. Your kitty is only doing what comes naturally! The only solution is to fully catproof your whole arrangement -- especially the heatlamp, before it burns down your house!

And twist-ties aren't strong enough... you need solid, permanent solutions. Maybe a local pet store can help you figure out how to set things up -- or you could take up strange_wings on her kind offer! Good luck!
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been told by several leopard gecko owners (and breeders) that keeping two females in a 20g won't be a problem. I plan on eventually moving them to a larger tank anyway. This one I just happened to get from a friend who didn't need it anymore.

Also, I am 'taking care of' the pets I already have. I'm just having training issues. Bringing leos into the picture doesn't mean I'm adding on a burden. I have the time and money for more animals, and just because my cat is mischevious, doesn't mean I can't get lizards. That is why I am posting here. To get some advice on how to correct this problem.

Ok, so twist ties are out. What about metal twist ties? I've seen them used on snake enclosures to keep the lid down, so its worth a shot with the heating lamp. I plan on getting a snake rack that can hold four snakes. It will be fitted with heat tape on the bottom of each tub so heat lamps will no longer be needed for the snake. These lamps are a temporary thing until I get the rack possibly next month.

I like the decorative background idea. It will help with her batting at the sides of the tank and make Zim feel more secure.

Thanks for all the advice. I'll try some of these things out and post back in a few days.
post #9 of 14
Could you build an enclosure for the reptiles that the kitty can't get to? Maybe a unit against a wall, raised from the floor, with a door/panel on the front? That way the kitty wouldn't be taunted to play and the reptiles won't get freaked out by the kitty........
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soka View Post
I have been told by several leopard gecko owners (and breeders) that keeping two females in a 20g won't be a problem.
And I'm telling you with 7+ years experience with leos, do more research. Just because you've "been told" doesn't mean you will not have problems. More often then not they do fight, bully each other, or one can even kill another one. They do not have emotions allowing friendship/buddies/companionship, this isn't part of the reptile mind and certainly not in a gecko. You must have 3 hides for each gecko in a cage, that would mean 6 hides in a 20gal.
Please look at the leopard gecko section http://www.reptilerooms.com/PNphpBB2+main.html
Of all the forums this is one of the bests for leos with many people that are not just concerned with keeping them but the quality of care their animals recieve.
And as a side note, sand = death to a leopard gecko, do not use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Could you build an enclosure for the reptiles that the kitty can't get to?
Rack setups can be cat proof if they're made properly.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Of all the forums this is one of the bests for leos with many people that are not just concerned with keeping them but the quality of care their animals recieve.
I think this is a vital part of owning any and all animals, everyone should worry more about quality of care and keeping the pet/s happy over keeping them..........
post #12 of 14
Please don't take offense to some of the recommendations you're getting... we're all passionate about our animals, feline and otherwise, and sometimes we don't take time to write as diplomatically as we could, that's all.

What about the very heavy plastic ties used for bundling electrical cords, the same kind the police use as handcuffs? Those things seem to be indestructible...
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
The heavy plastic ones would work. As long as Tyran doesn't chew them, which I don't think she will. I'll be getting the rack sometime near April or May, so a temporary fix will be fine. On Thursday I'm going to the store to get the background for the three sides and I'm also going to tape the cords to the side of the tank so she can't play with them. I need to find the plastic ties for the lamp and find my squirt bottle to keep her off the top.

I will do more research on leos. That is why I am allowing a few months to get everything I need and know what I'm doing even before I bring them home. I have looked around and some sites say you can keep two in a 20-30g. I'm not saying you are wrong, and I am looking to provide the best care for the leos. I just know what I've heard and read so far. I will look into getting a bigger tank, or just getting one leo.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soka View Post
I need to find the plastic ties for the lamp and find my squirt bottle to keep her off the top.
Check a hardware store, they should have zip ties in many different lengths and colors even. I've seen some that were at least 4 to 5 foot long, I wonder what a person would use those for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soka View Post
I will do more research on leos. That is why I am allowing a few months to get everything I need and know what I'm doing even before I bring them home. I have looked around and some sites say you can keep two in a 20-30g.
They're mostly friendly lizards, to people, but can be a bit grouchy. I bet none of those sites tell you that if you don't let a leo go or do what it wants that they'll sometimes grouch at you it's a weird grumble bark. They'll make this noise at each other (through glass even), hiss, and if frightened they can scream. Screaming is more common in tiny babies and juvies that aren't tame yet.
From the behavior I have witnessed myself, for two you will need at least a 40gal long/breeder type tank with sight breaks (and minimum of 6 hides), for easy dividing if need be, or another set up for first signs of aggression. I know I'm being pushy about the one per tank, but if you look at that link I gave you to the reptile forum and go back through the posts there you'll find a lot of people that have aggression problems with more than one leo kept together. There are such things as "hot females" incubated at high temps for quick hatching or for males, these can have a male personality and can really cause problems for a community set up or at breeding time (especially if the gecko turns out infertile ). Also, unless you get both of them at already several months old you do not have a guarantee that you're even getting a female.


I hope that covering your snake's cage helps. If you think your cat will still bother the snake at the front glass when you're not home you could also find something to temporary cover it.
With repeatedly telling your cat no, a squirt bottle, and redirecting the cat (turn it around if you see the cat staring from across the room or move it from a nearby perch), you should be able to break the worst of the habit.
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