View Full Version : First Time Snake: South Florida Kingsnake

09-08-2007, 04:53 AM
I'm getting my first snake on Monday and it is a South Florida Kingsnake. I've read every book I could find on kingsnakes and numerous websites, but most of the books talk extensively on California kings and not on the Florida ones. What I have read about Florida kings seems to suggest they be kept a bit warmer than the Cali and that they have at least one damp hiding spot. The people at the pet store recommended a tupperware container with some moss that had been dampened.

The snake is about the diameter of a nickel, maybe a bit bigger and looks to be 2 plus feet though I don't have the measurements yet. They think it is about year, but they don't have an exact age. I'm nervous about getting this snake, I've wanted one since I was 4, but this is my first.

It's pretty cold here all of the time. We're on the coast so the temperature range is usually between 45-65 during the winter and about a peak high of 80 in the summer. Even my house is usually in the low 70s even in the 60s and this snake needs to be warmer. My friend gave me her undertank heater pad along with the tank. She kept it on all of the time but also used an over the tank lamp. She gave me two different lamps. I've read things that recommended having a heating lamp and others that were against it. Others said that if you wanted to have viewing at night to us a UV bulb. As you can see I have a lot of questions despite reading all that I can. I'm pretty sure I know the basics I'm just curious about the details and I want to make sure that I have everything right. One of my friends had her pet snake die on her rather suddenly and I don't want that to happen to mine.

I'm partially concerned because the cage I have doesn't lock properly. Everything I keeps reading says that the you have to have a cage that locks securely and I was wondering if anyone know how to build a lock for a cage. I read something about putting an aquarium liner with the lid so that it seals better and there isn't any gaping. I don't know. If anyone has any recommendations about Florida kingsnakes specifically I'd love to hear them.

I know that is a lot, but I'd really love to hear all the recommendations and help people have. Thanks!

09-08-2007, 09:13 AM
I'm partially concerned because the cage I have doesn't lock properly. Everything I keeps reading says that the you have to have a cage that locks securely and I was wondering if anyone know how to build a lock for a cage. I read something about putting an aquarium liner with the lid so that it seals better and there isn't any gaping. I don't know.

What kind of setup (tank and screen wise) do you have? If there is even a tiny opening or gap, he will find it and be gone in a heartbeat. Can you post a picture of the setup that shows the gaps and we can help you determine how to secure them?

09-08-2007, 01:45 PM
Just like indy said, 1 gap and WHOOMP, the snakes somewhere in your house, probably sleeping under your bed with the abandoned socks from 5 years ago.There are locks you can buy for aquarium tops, and some tops come with them. I hope you have some sort of temperature controller with all those heating impliments. The moist hide is a good idea, but what about the rest of your cage? What size is it and what bedding are you using?

09-08-2007, 04:25 PM
Like everyone else has stated...King Snakes are the best escapee's. They will utilize every chance they get to get out, and they are almost impossible to find once out. I had a Black Mexican King get out once...He was tricky to find, ended up having to wait till he crawled in the bed with me one morning...not the best feeling in the world might I add. :)

Good luck on the FL king. I would love to see pictures once you get him settled in!

09-08-2007, 06:33 PM
I don't have pictures right now, but the tank I have is roughly 31x12x12 and my friend said it was a 35 gallon. It's a glass aquarium. I was planning on using those stick on thermometers that you can put on the side of the tank, one on each side. I have three water dishes of various sizes. I was planning on having the damp hide on the cool side along with one of the dishes upside down so he could hide under it. On the hot side I was planning on having the water dish and another type of hide box, but I was sure what to use. I read a thing that recommend the cork bark half logs, but others that were against them.

The problem with the tank is that the previous locking mechanism was destroyed. I'm trying to figure out how to make another one. I didn't know that when I first got the tank or apparently how much of a problem him trying to escape is going to be. I'm headed to the pet store to see if I can buy a lid with a lock. Any other recommendations?

09-08-2007, 07:24 PM
If you can get a standard lid and a pair of those cage clips (petco, petsmart, etc.. sell them for a few bucks/pair), that will hold him.

I have a red tailed boa, still a baby but already much bigger than your snake is, and one clip on each side is still more than secure enough. I am thinking about slapping another pair on there just for grins and giggles (because she's getting hefty and rather strong), but she's been more than secure since I got her last November.

If your tank previously had a sliding lid - the kind that slids in on a track on each side - a standard screen may not be secure enough. The reason why is because the front of the tank rim is lower than the other 3 sides due to the screen having to slide in, so she might be able to slip out. You'll just have to play around with it and try it.

Honestly though, you may just need to think about getting a new tank, a normal screen, and a pair of cage clips. Even if it's not in the budget, not much point in spending the $$ on a snake that will escape from an unsecure cage. And trust me, if there's a gap, the snake will get out. May not be day one, may not be day two, but eventually the snake will discover it and go on a tour of your house. :)

09-08-2007, 08:08 PM
My cage doesn't have a sliding lid, but one of those lids that you place on top. The gap if the lid is pushed all the way to one side is about 3/8 of an inch. It is a wire mesh lid. I'm going to check the pet store for those cage clips you mentioned.

09-08-2007, 09:35 PM
By temperature control i didnt mean thermometers, i meant a thermostat, whcih will switch off the heat sources if it gets too hot, otherwise youll have a crispy kentucky fried snake.

09-08-2007, 10:22 PM
I don't have a thermostat yet, I didn't think about it. All of my friends with the tank heating pads like mine just left them on all of the time. I'll take a look though.

09-09-2007, 07:38 AM
Its very dangerous to "just leave them on". I had one that malfunctioned so it drew power even when the thermostat was telling it to be off and got over 110. And depending on the wattage of the bulb and what kind of bulb it is and what kind of light fixture your using, lights can do that too.

09-09-2007, 03:45 PM
I'm headed to the pet store in about an hour to go pick up that thermostat, though I've run the UTH since yesterday and it is now about skin temperature and has been since about the first 5 hours it was on. I'm more worried about the lights, but I have to pick up the light bulbs today, so I'm not sure what the wattage and such will be.