Applegate Reptiles Reptile Breeding Facilities and cages
Part Two: The New Building

So here we are, nice new house, a small reptile building that is working OK except the over flow is in the house, and there were 15 acres of nice Mountain property. Time to build my dream reptile building! We have experienced weather that was 14 degrees and 110 degrees and the variation was a worry. I decided to build my dream building with the lower 4 feet of it being under ground. The logic was that this would mitigate the temperature extremes. The weird roof was so windows could be in each Northern facing facet so the room would be flooded with light, but the sun wouldn't do a "burn" across the cages. As the building was being built the neighbors got worried (we were new, no one knew us). Rumors of a strange church of snake worshippers was being spread! One of my worker friends added to this by putting a cross up on one end! Anyway, the building got built, the neighbors got to know us, and all is fine, except the light thing didn't work worth a .... so I false ceilinged the building. The left half was going to be for snakes, the right for mice, but the contractor poured the floor wrong and water ran into the right side, not out, as I wanted to wash the floor out regularly, so another mouse room was needed, but more on that later.

New cages: what have we learned in the last 20-30 years I could use to make improved design cages? Well, for one thing egg impaction in captive snakes is a problem. But why? Probably because they get fat and don't get enough exercise. Another thing is time management. In my old drawer system, I might have a pair in one unit, and 2 sets of 2 females in the next two cages. When each week you have to separate for feeding, then figure out which females need to be with the male at that time, it was a lot of work keeping up. Another problem was that all the old drawers were custom - if you wanted to clean one, you had to isolate the occupants, pull the drawer, wash, clean, etc., dry it and replace it into the exact location it had come from. Take a good look at the "improved cages". All the drawers are standard kitty litter trays, interchangeable and easy to wash. There are 4 glass doors and 6 drawers to each unit. The snakes can get to all locations, both levels, through PVC pipes. I have the upper level warmer than the lower (like a rock pile) and the snakes can move from front to back at each level to thermoregulate. And I can keep 10 snakes together, and with the use of PVC caps, isolate for one hour each week for feeding, then remove the caps and let them roam the entire enclosure. The male(s) can go to any receptive female without my help. Reduces the time needed to manage, and reduced the number of males needed, and only one water bowl to clean for 10 snakes. The lower drawers are for mass production/drawer system style, but after being built I decided I wanted to cut back, not increase, so now they are used for egg laying and reserve clean trays. After all we are retired, we don't need to make this a job!

The room has all heat controlled by Helix controls. These Helix can have a little unit attached that will record high and low temps, give a day and night temperature variance, and even have alarms! The lights are on a timer, and the entire room electrical on a thermostat in case of a room over heat all power is killed. The floor is imported Italian tile, the wood fronts Red Oak. Each unit is approx 4 feet wide, and 2 feet deep so each of the snakes has plenty of room. The substrate is washed and dried T_Rex Calci-sand. Settled on Red granite mixed with equal amount of white so I can still see sperm plugs, etc, but if I miss a little of the soiling it doesn't show.

On to the next page,   The Rodent Breeding Facilities or back to the Main Page

The new building
   End cage on middle section
An open cage
   Helix controls
Helix control module
   The left aisle
Room thermostat and light timer
  
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