Acclimation

ACCLIMATION OF YOUR NEW SNAKE

Once you bring your new snake home, you should set up a properly designed enclosure to accommodate your new snake.  If you own other snakes, your new snake should be housed in a separate and isolated room for at least 30 days and preferably 60-90 days.  Thus the acclimation period will also serve as a quarantine period.

Initially, leave the snake alone in the cage for two or three days then offer a small meal that won't leave a lump in the snake.  Do not handle or disturb the snake for a couple of days after the meal. Three or four days later, offer a second meal.  Do not handle the snake until the snake has fed at least three times.  The acclimation period will allow you to make some assessments about the health of the snake.  A snake that regurgitates its meals may have a gastroenteric disease.  If you handle a snake, you have to consider the fact that the stress of handling may be causing it to regurgitate.  This can make it difficult for you to assess the cause of regurgitation.  Another thing you will be looking for during the acclimation period Is the condition of the feces.  If the feces are watery, runny, or stained with blood, your snake may have a gastroenteric disease which will have to be diagnosed through a veterinary examination.  As a general rule, it is recommended that a fecal check for internal parasites be performed during the acclimation period.

Finally during this time, you will be able to clearly assess whether the snake harbors mites.  As any snake keeper knows, mites once introduced into a collection can be persistent and difficult to completely eradicate but, if contained in an isolated quarantine area, are easily controlled and eradicated.

In summary, the acclimation/quarantine period will allow you to assess the following:

1. Overall health and behavior.
2. That a snake is feeding.
3. That a snake is not regurgitating.
4. The apparent status of the feces and probability of gastroenteric disease.
5. The presence of mites.

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