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Tarantulas and Snakes....

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So I was on CL last night and I saw an add that was some Tarantulas for sale... now im not planning on just going out and buying the first Tarantula I se but im pretty interested... it would never get touched but I love watching them (even though im terrified of Spiders... im not as afraid of a Tarantula as I am a house Spider or something). I was thinking of maybe getting one in the near future... does anyone have any tips, suggestions, or info for me... and are Tarantulas usually expensive to care for??

Now if not Tarantulas... than what about a Small Snake? I know there a lil more expensive in care... but im really interested. I love Pythons but my mom doesnt so its gotta be a bit smaller, maybe a Corn Snake or even something that'll grow 2-3ft would be fine... Idk... again, any advice, tips ect??

Maybe its just a phase.. but im really interested weather I actually get one or not.
post #2 of 21
Eewwwww to the spiders.

But, as for snakes, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Snakes are fabulous creatures, especially tame ones that you can hold and they curl around you. We love ours... we have a corn snake, a gopher snake, a rattlesnake, and a king snake, and this weekend I'm getting a Redtailed boa, and my cousin is sending me a Kenyan sand boa for my birthday.

If you're looking for a small, fun snake that you can hold a lot and won't be too expensive for you, I'd go with a corn snake or a gopher snake. Corns should be relatively inexpensive, I would NOT buy one for more than 85 dollars, but they should be a lot cheaper than that. They will grow to be at the most about 5 feet, and usually less. All you need is a good-size tank, comfortable bedding that won't hurt their skin, and a water bowl. Unlike boas, they don't need a place to hide, really. They don't need a heat lamp or anything like that. VERY simple to take care of. I love my corn snake!

As far as gophers go, they require the same care as corns. Don't need anything but a tank, bedding and a water bowl, and sometimes they'll hide under or behind their bowl, and they like to be held. Our gopher is way old, and he's the SWEETEST snake ever.

I could give you a few tips when you're ready, and a few sites to get a snake from or supplies from, for that matter. And, if you want to know more about any other snakes, let me know. My dad has had all kinds, including poisonus, big and small, wild and tame.

Just one quick one before you start looking:

DO NOT get a baby snake. It's easier to get a young one that's a proven feeder, or one that has some years. My baby snake would not eat, and we've had to pump food into his belly. You definitely want a proven feeder, okay?

Hope that helps, and feel free to contact me if you need anything, want info, or I can just answer on here!
post #3 of 21
I've got a baby Ball Python. I love her! A male BP will only get to 3-4 feet long and that takes a few years! Snakes are simple to care for once you know how. I knew nothing about snakes until I got her and joined a ball python forum that is helping me out so much!
post #4 of 21
I used to be a Corn Snake breeder hobbyist. I had a ton of them, I LOVED them, handling them, naming them, all had their own personalities...

Inexpensive to care for, live for 15+ years... There are great places to buy them (do NOT get them at a pet store) There could be local 'breeders', Expo's. Where are you located, being in the hobby in the past, chances are I could find you someone & a website IF you decided on a Corn Snake.

OR you could choose to buy online, they CAN be shipped, but for a $30 pet snake, paying $50 for shipping, may be beyond what you want to do, or maybe not.

Anyway. my

They are easy to care for. They are fun. My kids could handle them with supervision at 2+ years & enjoyed it.

About a Year ago. Hard times caused me to close my website & sell off my 'buisness' & breeder snakes. I now only have the 1 pet Corn Snake that began my 'hobby'.

I really miss having a bunch of them.

Here are some links to some of the corn snakes I had so that you can see the variety & beautiful colors you could choose from




Ya... so this one is a Mexican Black King Snake... but I loved him too






There are other varieties that I had... clearly I can't post that many links also there are litteraly hundreds of other combinations.

This is the one that I still have as a Pet: Phinius
post #5 of 21
Oooo corn snakes are very pretty!

Here's my bright normal Ball Python. Normals aren't too expensive.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hmm I think you guys have me convinced to maybe getting a Corn Snake... I knew they were pretty but my goodness Lore.. THOSE ARE GORGEOUS COLORS!!!! (I love the red ones and the one with the Checkered Belly))
Yes, I forgot to mention.. a Snake I can hold would be awsome! I love snakes and ive always wanted one! I guess a Corn Snake would be best for me... as long as it cant strangle me (my moms words), doesnt get to big and it doesnt need to much care than its fine.
Umm a couple questions on the Corn Snake..
do they eat Pinkies or Crickets?? and how often do they eat??

And how do they stay warm... I know a Boa/Python needs a heating lamp... how does a Corn stay warm otherwise?

Is critter care bedding ok or even Pine bedding?? (I have a bunch of Pine bedding that was given to me but I wont use it for the rats).

Im gonna read up on Corns than talk to my mom about it. I go to the Pet Store tomorrow so im gonna look at prices of there Corns BUT im NOT gonna buy... id rather go to a Breeder/Hobbyist anyway.

BTW you have a Beautiful Python, EnzoLeya!!
post #7 of 21
Now I'm not sure about corn snakes, but Ball Pythons stress really easy. They need a small inclosure and safety. I made the mistake of listening to the pet store and WAISTING a lot of money on things I didn't need. This set up is perfect for a baby Ball Python, with a heat pad under the tub. It's very inexpensive and is the best thing for your snake.

Also, I've switched to newspaper since these pictures. Newspaper is the best IMO, because it's free and you can clean it in just a few seconds. Pine bedding and other things like that can get stuck in a snake's mouth.....not good!
post #8 of 21
I always used cut to fit astro turf, it's cheap and washable and doesn't have ink that runs

oh and:
post #9 of 21
Corns will eat pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers, etc., as they get older, of course they need bigger mice. And the great thing about snakes is they only eat every week, or sometimes every other week as they get older! They're SOOO easy. I have known some to feed crickets to the babies, but I asked my dad if I should try that when my corn didn't eat, and he said they are rodent eaters.

And corns don't need a heating source. I keep mine in my room, in his tank by the window. Sometimes he sees the sun, but even if he didn't he'd be fine.

And the others are right... do NOT buy at a pet store. Like most animals from one, they are known to have problems. Breeders are so much better, because they can also tell what you will need, what they're used to, in order to make their transition smoother.

I wish you luck! Corns are BEAUTIFUL snakes And so sweet, too.
post #10 of 21
Hmmm... There are several Corn Snake Breeders that are Registered with the 'ACR' - American Corn Snake Registry in the East part of PA but not in the North West bit.

They will have a HUGE Reptile Expo in Hamburg if you can wait until October You would have HUNDREDS to choose from & get the most stunning one with the personality you like best, they vary in price from table to table.
Expo's are SO much fun. They have a gigantic one in Chicago, I love to go each year.

I also want to put in here that ALL of my snakes came from breeders or Expo's, however my 1st pet Corn Snake that started my obsession, was a wee' lil guy that came home with me from PetCo & has grown into the 5 year old guy he is today

& Yes, they eat Mice... Pinkies, Then Fuzzies, Then Hoppers, Then Mice, Phinius as an Adult (who will not grow any larger eats Jumbo Mice)
They eat FROZEN/THAWED Mice... Thus the Mice are Frozen, You Thaw Them and Provide them to them for feeding. Live ones can cause injury. (yes ones in the wild eat live ones )

Clearly its something you'll have to be able to handle if you want to own one.
I put the Mouse in a baggie, in a bucket of warm water, it thaws for 10-30 mins (depending of Mouse size) I pull it out with wooden tongs & place it in Phinius's feeding container (he is fed in a seperate feeding container than is enclosure, as his enclosure has ASPEN *Pine can cause Upper Respertory Illness in Snakes* which could stick to the mouse and be injested while eating and cause his digestive tract to become impacted over time and just be a world of bad that one wants to avoid.

****SQUEEMISH???? Dont OPEN THESE LINKS*** Snake Eating Mice.

The larger he gets... the larger the mice.

When I had my Buisness this was the Care Sheet Information that I had on my Website:

Corn Snake Care

The Corn Snake or Red Rat Snake (Elaphe guttata) is a species of Rat Snake, popular in the pet trade because they are known for being smaller and less aggressive than other Rat Snake species. Their average adult length is about 4 feet long and they may live to be 30 years old in captivity. Corn snakes are ideal pets and are one of the most widely available snakes in the pet trade. They are a good choice for a beginner snake keeper due to the fact that Corn Snakes have a comparatively docile temperament, are robust, and are more tolerant of basic husbandry mistakes than most other snakes. Also, Corn Snakes are widely captive bred, so healthy specimens are readily available.

No matter how easily corn snakes can be kept, intensive research must be carried out before obtaining one, as their care needs are relatively complex. A vet that treats reptiles must also be sought beforehand, as few vets practice "exotic" medicine, and in an emergency you will not have time to look around for a vet.

The advice provided here is basic and not adequate reading on its own. Research should cover multiple sources, including books. Highly recommended is "The Corn Snake Manual" by Kathy & Bill Love. Always inquire in to the legality of corn snake ownership in your local jurisdiction. Certain jurisdictions outlaw the trade and/or ownership of native non-venomous species.

Setting up a Vivarium

A basic vivarium (or "terrarium") for a corn snake should consist of at least: a 2-5 gallon or equivalent vivarium for a hatchling, a 10 gallon vivarium can comfortably house a Corn snake from hatchling to roughly 15-18 months of age a 20 gallon long or larger vivarium for an adult (30" x 12½" x 13") with secure screen cover, a suitable substrate (no pine or cedar, plain paper towels are suitable for hatchlings also shredded Aspen commonly is used) a heater, a water dish and a hide at both the warm and cool end. There are many varieties of housing for Corn Snakes out there, from Rack Systems to elaborate front opening enclosures, do your research and find what type of housing fits your situation best. The vivarium should be fully set up before obtaining a snake, as this will allow you to observe and adjust the temperatures so that the snake isn't too cold or too hot for any period of time.

A hide should be placed at each end of the temperature gradient, as this will allow the snake to thermo regulate without the fear of being forced out into the open. Hides can be as simple as cardboard boxes and should be replaced when soiled (along with the bedding immediately surrounding it.) A more natural look can be obtained by purchasing half-log hides and hides that resemble rock formations.

Placement of a Vivarium

The correct placement of a vivarium can reduce stress. Incorrect placement may leave you with a nervous animal that does not live a full life. The vivarium should be:

Away from audio equipment such as stereos. Snakes "hear" through vibrations and the vibrations from a constant bass can upset them. If this cannot be achieved, then padding underneath the vivarium can help reduce the vibrations.

Away from rooms next to busy roads. Once again, the vibrations can cause stress to the snake.

Up off the floor to prevent drafts chilling your snake, and to prevent some inevitable vibrations.


Captive corn snakes should only be fed commercial mice, as wild caught prey can carry diseases or parasites. Sizes range from "pinkie" to adult, and most pet stores carry all sizes in both live and frozen varieties, the latter of which being the preferred choice as live mice can cause injuries. One can also obtain frozen mice or rats in bulk from an online distributor; this is most often the most cost effective approach. Frozen mice should be thawed completely before being offered. Mice should be slightly larger than the thickest part of the snake. Most feeding schedules vary from owner to owner. Hatchlings are often fed every 4-5 days and Adults are fed weekly or bi-weekly depending on the size of the snake. Here at CSI Corns, our snakes are on the following feeding schedule: Hatchlings are fed 1 pinkie every 5 days, once they advance to fuzzies they are fed every 6 days, next size up we offer rat pinkies every 7 days, next size up rat fuzzies every 10 days, finally when the snake is of size to eat rat weanlings, they are fed every 14 days. As stated, every owner chooses what schedule seems to work best for them and their snakes.


A heat gradient must be provided so that the snake can thermo regulate. The warm end must have an ambient temperature of 80-85F. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold will result in an ill snake that cannot digest its meals properly.

Heat can be provided via a light bulb (it is wise to provide a guard for this so that the snake cannot touch it), an under tank heat mat or a ceramic heater. Heating devices should be controlled by rheostats or thermostats and monitored by a thermometer. Hot rocks should never be used. They cause a dangerous source of localized heat. Many snakes have been severely burned by these devices. In general belly heat seems to be preferred, therefore under tank heaters are the most widely used source of heating for owners vivariums. Here at CSI Corns we use under tank heaters monitored by digital thermometers regulated by rheostats.

Two thermometers should be used to measure temperature - simply guessing the temperature isn't adequate. Two thermometers - one at each end of the vivarium - will allow you to observe the heat gradient.


Fecal matter and molting should be removed immediately. At least once a month a substantial cleaning should be performed, in which the bedding is replaced. The tank and everything in it should also be washed with a weak bleach solution during this time, as this will ensure that the environment stays relatively sterile and also helps prevent the growth of parasites.


Although docile, corn snakes - like all animals - can be stressed by excessive handling. Not handling your specimen at all is also not advised as you may find yourself with a snake that reverts to being "wild" and cannot be handled at all. Handling your snake also lets you check for any abnormalities which may require the attention of a vet. Handling benefits your snake in that it exercises and can explore something other than its enclosure. Although snakes are not as intelligent as a dog or cat, environmental stimulation should be provided.

Corn snakes can be active when held and must be supervised constantly when out of their vivariums.

It is highly recommended that you do not handle your snake for at least two to three days after it has eaten, to allow it time to digest its food. Handling too soon after a feed will result in regurgitation, which can be serious.
The advice provided here is basic and not adequate reading on its own.

Research should cover multiple sources, including books. Highly recommended for starting out is "Corn Snakes: The Comprehensive Owners Guide" by Kathy & Bill Love. Always inquire in to the legality of corn snake ownership in your local jurisdiction. Certain jurisdictions outlaw the trade and/or ownership of native non-venomous species.


Sorry this is so long Next to my kitties, Corn Snakes are my other love.
post #11 of 21
A friend of mine has a baby ball python and it's a great pet. Very docile and calm, can be held and carried around. Unfortunately he will only eat live mice though. Personally I don't think I could feed mice to a snake because I've had pet mice before so I stick to the very small snakes that eat crickets and fish... I've had a green/ribbon snake before and am planning to get a garter snake in the future.
post #12 of 21
I used to play with garter snakes as a kid behind my house. I'm surprised I never got into those. The Albino ones are really pretty however.

But indeed those are very good beginner snakes as well.
post #13 of 21
Speaking of snakes, I'm getting a Columbian Redtailed Boa this weekend! I'm soooo excited! lol But believe me Vixen, you don't want one of these for your first.
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by EmeraldSongbird View Post
Speaking of snakes, I'm getting a Columbian Redtailed Boa this weekend! I'm soooo excited! lol But believe me Vixen, you don't want one of these for your first.
Boas are Beautiful Snakes there are so many different varieties and kinds of Boas, I can certianly appreciate them, Columbians handle pretty well, they get quite large & they are VERY agressive feeders I have quite a few friends with those who have been struck right in the face @ feeding time. LOL! I have always stuck with Colubrids, which are, Corn Snakes, King Snakes, of course Garter Snakes... etc.

How exciting for you... certianly share a photo when your Columbian Settles into his new enviornment.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well.. I went to the pet store today and looked at there Corns... OMG there sooooo tiny!! hehe I saw this real pretty one that was only like 9 inches long and I guess was being fed Crickets... yea.
They were selling them from between $59.99-$105.99.... I asked the dude if he could prove to me that they were eating fine... and he said he wasnt sure, I wasnt planning on buying one.. I just wanted to se what would happen if I asked.
How long do frozen mice last in the Freezer??
post #16 of 21
Corn Snakes do not eat crickets. They start on pinkies (newborn mice)... 90% of the snakes at (not to slanderize the store... but you know where I got my pet snake) are withering away and are in terrible condition and I feel sorry for them all. It's quite unfortunate. When and if I do visit that store they are so thin, small, their skin should not be wrinkled, I've seen dead ones in there... it makes me ill.

Luckily when I picked out my guy, he was a pretty robust one, when I say 'robust I mean he was a 12" long hatchling',

I certianly did not pay THAT much... Yeow!

Certianly, if you can, if you are close to that Expo happening in October, wait till then.
post #17 of 21
Man these snakes are gorgeous! Just one question for the experienced snake people here ... I've heard that reptiles stress easily and stress could be fatal to them cos they cannot get rid of the built up lactic acid. I'm pretty sure that as each snake has its own unique personality, they each would also have their own tolerance... So question is how do you tell if a snake is getting stressed and its time to leave it alone?
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BabyWukong View Post
Man these snakes are gorgeous! Just one question for the experienced snake people here ... I've heard that reptiles stress easily and stress could be fatal to them cos they cannot get rid of the built up lactic acid. I'm pretty sure that as each snake has its own unique personality, they each would also have their own tolerance... So question is how do you tell if a snake is getting stressed and its time to leave it alone?
Thats a good question BabyWukong... How can you tell?
post #19 of 21
One sure fire method is when they musk you, and trust me, you will always want to avoid that.
Not all snakes will stress easily, depends on species, age, how tame, individuality, and whether or not it was wild caught or captive bred.
post #20 of 21
Corn Snakes are the best choice for a first time snake. They are gentle and dont get large enough to be a threat to children. Even if they bite you may have a little blood but nothing more. They also come in many colors!

I suggest feeding frozen mice since i've heard of stories of mice injuring snakes with there teeth, and sometimes snakes not killing there prey fast enough and the mice suffer a slow death. These happen rarely, but frozen prey eliminates this alltogether.

Here is just a few of the many colors they come in. http://members.aol.com/guttata319/Hawkherp/color.html

Tarantula's are easy to care for too, they dont have to eat too often and are lower maintinance than any snake. And some females can live well over 10 years!
post #21 of 21
yes, as I stated earlier frozen/ thawed mice.

I've owned Corn Snakes, Mexican Black Kingsnakes, Kingsnakes, Milksnakes, Garter Snakes, African House Snakes... & as for Reptiles Leopard Geckos & we have a Bearded Dragon

I only dont have a Boa or Python of any sort because my husband wont let me I've broken him tho & now that finances are good, I can get a Ball Python in October when the Expo is in town.

ANYWAY. Cornsnakes, I've heard of RARE instances of them musking. My Mexican Black, My Albino Kingsnake & Milk snake NEVER musked me... Apparently I am 1 LUCKY person & picked some laid back hatchlings, those types of snakes as hatchlings when young TEND to musk when initally picked up, once, sometimes twice... they tend to settle down more when older... but some may not... mine were fine... so I had no idea what anyone was talking about Apparently its quite stinky.

African House snakes are beautiful... they have longer teeth than the other mentioned snakes, thus even as little hatchlings, little strikes sting abit instead of being no big deal.

As far as stress. When you first get them home, you just place them in their vivarium & leave them alone for 3 days or so before you attempt any feeding or handling. Do not Handle your Snake 3 days after feeding to allow time for it to digest. Other than that you do not have to worry about stressing it out.

Dont use pine, aspen is a good substrate (bedding), give fresh water, food, thats all they want. Don't co-habitate them, they do not do that in the wild, they do not need friends, that is not how they work, snakes are solitary animals. Keep their home clean & nice hiding spots, warm on one side, (82-85 degrees, other side of the vivarium 70-75) & you'll have a happy snake.
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