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CalKing cage step 1 - Feb 06

Description: Welcome to the latest version of my California Kingsnake's cage. This version had its beginnings as I was making final preparations to go see my family at Christmas. I'd had my snakes for a couple of months and had never left them alone for more than half a day or so. I'm a chronic worrier, and I tried to think of ways to help them survive if something unexpected happened. I had read that kingsnakes like to burrow, so I dumped an extra inch or two of cypress mulch on the cool side of my kingsnake's enclosure.

A few weeks after I returned, I noticed that he was burrowing quite a bit in the extra bedding. Sometimes, he'd go into the bedding and disappear for a few days. I mentioned this behavior in the kingsnake forums, and several people commented that kingsnakes like to spend much of their time buried in the bedding. One gentleman with many years of experience even suggested that I fill my enclosure half to two thirds full of bedding so that my snake would have more opportunities to burrow. Another gentleman suggested using Eco Earth from ZooMed as a bedding material that a kingsnake would enjoy. Another suggestion was to use PVC pipe pieces to give my kingsnake more structure in his earthen home.

I wasn't quite sure how that much bedding would work with my under-tank heating, and I wasn't yet willing to abandon under-tank heating for bulb heating. However, I figured that I could add quite a bit of bedding to the cool side of my tank without disturbing the heating scheme at all. I certainly wanted to try the Eco Earth substrate which is a finely ground coconut material that expands in water. The steps and results of my new experiments will be shown in a series of pictures.

The first picture shows the first steps in the new setup. I put newspaper against the bottom of the aquarium. Over the past month or so, my previous setup had become fairly hot a few times. The newspaper would slow the heat and keep things cooler even without the thermostat. The newspaper would also keep my snake from contacting the hot glass on the floor of the aquarium. I then put a combination of Repti-bark and coconut bark in a thin layer over the newspaper. I still like Repti-bark for most purposes and wanted to try the coconut bark because I was confused about some advice that I'd received.

I put three PVC fittings on the side of the cage that I intended to fill with bedding. The first one was a 45 degree elbow that I wanted under where I planned to put a water bowl. For some reason, I thought that this piece would give a little extra support under where the bowl would be, but I now think this idea was silly. The second one is a Tee joint that I put in one corner to give me a little bit of a view into the bedding. I don't see much through this one, but I get some idea of humidity conditions at the bottom of the bedding. The third one is a branched Tee that supports a log hide and provides my snake with another entrance into the bottom of the bedding.

continued ...

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CalKing cage step 1 - Feb 06 Post a Comment | Report Photo   
User: wftright (see all of wftright's photos)
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Date: 02/19/06
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Registered: 03/2007
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