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  • How do you measure a snake?

    In inches, they don't have any feet!

    Puns aside, I'm a new member here. I made a bit of a silly thread already before reading through the forum a bit better (where I found the answer) but lesson learned. I have had my boa (admittedly my first real snake but not reptile) for three months now and she will be a year old on December 19th! She is a BCI "red tail" around 4 feet long. Her previous owners had her on live (for no other reason than they liked watching it....) so she is a touch scarred but while those heal to the best degree they can, I can assure both you and her that she will never be bitten by a rat again. She has been on F/T with me the entire time and will never come off them. When she isn't in her bin, she's on my shoulders helping me do housework (while we can together) or in my lap getting her head rubbed while we watch TV. Out of curiosity, how often do these beautiful snakes enjoy head rubs? She leans into them for me. I also catch her tilting her head and her eyes following my movements very similarly to a bearded dragon. When we are out of this apartment next year she will likely be getting a nice, big acrylic enclosure but bins will do her until then. I also just purchased a corn snake (who's morph I cannot recall at the moment) with a neat skull marking on his head to join our family. Our only other pet is a special needs crested gecko at the moment, though we will be getting a puppy to train as my service dog come spring.

    All in all, I look forward to joining this forum, meeting its members and learning as I go.
    Ox
    Last edited by natieb; 12-08-2015, 09:42 AM. Reason: Moved out of New Member section for visibility

  • #2
    Re: How do you measure a snake?

    Many snakes are instinctively hesitant to have their head touched or rubbed, so the fact that yours seems to enjoy it suggests she is relaxed with you. (hooray!) Most snakes that I've known seem to prefer a
    chin-rub, front to back, rather than the top of the head, which may instinctively alert their instincts that a predator is swooping down on them, but like us, they all have their own personality for you to discover.

    As for measuring a snake, be content with getting a rough idea and NEVER use any force to stretch them out to measure. (-believe it or not, some Fish & Game personnel were guilty of this in the past, when looking
    for violations of local laws, and it caused the death of some snakes due to internal injuries) Some snakes will stretch along a wall but I've been known to use a flexible dressmaker's measuring tape to gently follow a
    snake's curves. "close enough"!

    Thank you again for knowing better than to feed 'live'! Corn snakes make great pets too, I love all snakes! (Beardies are very personable too, but a lot more 'daily' work than snakes.) Glad you've joined us here.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How do you measure a snake?

      Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
      As for measuring a snake, be content with getting a rough idea and NEVER use any force to stretch them out to measure. (-believe it or not, some Fish & Game personnel were guilty of this in the past, when looking
      for violations of local laws, and it caused the death of some snakes due to internal injuries) Some snakes will stretch along a wall but I've been known to use a flexible dressmaker's measuring tape to gently follow a
      snake's curves. "close enough"!
      Serp Widgets (Serpwidgets - Snake Measurer) has an easy, convenient, highly-accurate measurement tool that I definitely recommend!

      And OxMaiden, welcome to the forum! We hope you post lots of photos of your snakes!

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      • #4
        Re: How do you measure a snake?

        I put them against a wall and give a gentle touch to their tail. It sometimes gets them to stretch out, and BAM! You have a stretched out Stick-O-Snake ready for your tape measure. Only problem is I've run out of wall, and now have to use the outside wall of the house. Geez!

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        • #5
          Re: How do you measure a snake?

          I used a soft tape measure today to get an accurate measure on her rather than my 4ft estimate and she came out at 43". She is something else and I love having her around, it's sad to think that some day it won't be safe to take her out while we're alone. Regardless, I love her and am looking into boamasters as we speak, though she won't be treated until next year when we get into a house.

          Here is Jack, the new corn. He will be shipping next week!
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Re: How do you measure a snake?

            Jack is pretty cute! And you know, corns often change colors quite a bit as they grow from hatchlings & you never have to worry about them getting "too big", lol.

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            • #7
              Re: How do you measure a snake?

              I am content with measuring sheds.

              I'm not a fan of corn snakes because of how big of escape artists they are. Last year I saw one climbing the stucco exterior walls. Last week cleaning out the garage, I found a maybe yearling corn snake skeleton in a pot in a box on top of a rack far from being easily accessible by humans. Maybe 4 months ago I saw one climbing the inside corner and almost escaping it's tank in a pet store.

              Keep a tight lid on those little corn snakes. When I was looking for a pet, I was between corn snakes and ball pythons. Between all the escapes I've read about ruling out the corns and the health issues with balls, I decided neither would be good with me because I'm so paranoid. Boas won it because I think they are pretty, more interesting, they don't have the same feeding and shedding issues as balls and are too big to be as crazy of escape artists are corns.

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              • #8
                Re: How do you measure a snake?

                Measuring shed skins will give you an exaggerated length, the skin stretches about 10% or more when snakes disrobe.

                Corn snakes (& most kinds of rat snakes) are good escape artists, especially when they are small, so your cage does need to be secure with no tiny holes they might squeeze into or thru. They are AMAZING climbers,
                I've seen corn snakes defy gravity by climbing up even smooth glass just by rippling their body...I love to watch them, & they're very active & curious. IMO, the "worst snakes" for escaping are hatchling milk & king
                snakes, especially until they do some growing. Climbing stucco on a house is a piece of cake! But all snakes need secure cage lids that lock down (ie. cannot be lifted/ pushed up by the snake).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How do you measure a snake?

                  I don't mind him changing colors but I do hope he keeps his skull marking! That was what led me to buy him as I was originally on the fence. I have a secure little bin with a 30lb weight for the lid that will do him for quite some time. Hopefully we have no escapes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How do you measure a snake?

                    Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                    I don't mind him changing colors but I do hope he keeps his skull marking! That was what led me to buy him as I was originally on the fence. I have a secure little bin with a 30lb weight for the lid that will do him for quite some time. Hopefully we have no escapes!
                    Are you talking about using a 30 lb wt. on the lid of a plastic bin? Gotta say that's a recipe for disaster, IMO. Plastic lids bend & can also break, especially when the plastic gets older...& I've heard of slips with such
                    heavy wts. on cage tops...please be very careful! Plastic bins have a lot of 'give', places where a skinny snake might get out, & they have nothing better to do all day & all night than to find any weakness in their cages.
                    (I'm not a fan of plastic bins, admittedly. I use glass aquariums with lids that I build. They also sell fairly rigid lids to fit aquariums if you don't want to make your own.)

                    The other thing to keep in mind with a plastic bin for a cage is that snakes DO smell where gaps are, they are attracted to the fresh air going thru them, and they've been known to try to go thru a tight space, get
                    halfway thru & get stuck, unable to back up because of the direction of their scales catches, and they die a very bad death that way. Please reconsider...what works for a larger boa or python is not necessarily OK
                    for a tiny colubrid snake. And btw, the same sort of fate befalls some snakes in the wild, they get caught up in the bird netting or other types of fencing that ppl use in their gardens...I've been a snake-rescuer for
                    many years.

                    (and yes, he should keep his head markings)

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do you measure a snake?

                      It's a weight made for a bar (round and rather large) so it doesn't bow the lid like you'd think. It's also a fairly large bin (don't recall the size off the top of my head) and I've only had it the three months Ive had Dolly. He will ultimately be joining her in a PVC enclosure - though not as larger, obviously haha. I may get him a 10 gallon sooner than later but for now that's what I was planning on using. The ends lock and with the weight for the longer edges, I can't even lift the lid pulling on its edge, I really hope a hatchling corn cant!

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do you measure a snake?

                        Hatchling corn snakes do better in a smaller cage, like a 10 gal. aquarium, until they outgrow it. Another reason I don't favor plastic bins to house snakes is that they are NOT designed for things to LIVE in! They off-gas
                        chemicals (especially when heated!) that may be harmful to tiny reptiles, especially when you close them in tightly & make them breathe it 24/7. The professional cages sold are made of harder plastics and at least one
                        manufacturer at least uses HDPE (food safe) plastic. Plastic bins are for storing shoes & sweaters & stuff, not a tiny snake. You would do better with a large "critter cottage" from Petco, the clear polycarbonate plastic
                        bottom with a snap-on lid. And I trust you know that corn snakes need much lower temperatures than a boa, right??? (too much heat will kill him)

                        It's not that a corn snake can lift the lid, it's that they will try to force their body thru the tiniest crack, & like I said, get stuck & die there.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do you measure a snake?

                          Another thing about using a heavy weight to keep a plastic snake cage secure is that your 2 year old just might pull or push on it causing the weight to shift and a potential disaster for all...the snake, your child, the cage.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How do you measure a snake?

                            She's kept away from the room they're in - my husband is paranoid Dolly will eat her, lol.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How do you measure a snake?

                              Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                              She's kept away from the room they're in - my husband is paranoid Dolly will eat her, lol.
                              Just one more word then: locks! By now you know what a moment's inattention can mean, lol...and children tend to grow stronger, more curious & more determined.

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