Animals now available for sale

Throughout the lock down we have had an embargo on the sale of animals from our store as non-essential items. No one should have been leaving home for any reason that was not essential. Food for your pet is essential, as are a number of other items, bedding, hygiene products, medicines, toys (essential for the well being of your pet) etc. A new pet was not essential, so unless it was to replace a deceased partner of a social species, or you were in the store buying your normal supplies anyway we had stopped selling animals. We knew this embargo was coming in advance so we stopped restocking with animals before the lock down happened so for the most part we didn’t have any in stock anyway.

pet shop gloucester

The government has now moved to a new phase. The emphasis is moving away from “stay at home” although you should still do this if at all possible, and focusing more on responsible social distancing whilst trying to gradually return society back to normal, over time and with very strict monitoring of the results of any changes. We feel that in line with this change we are now in a position to start offering our livestock for sale again.

gloucester pet shop

This is not a case of everything returning to normal. We already have a social distancing policy in place at our Gloucester pet shop. Only one customer group in the shop at any time, queuing kept to a minimum outside the shop with customers keeping at least 2m apart. Staff maintaining 2m from customers at all times. Click and collect ordering available by telephone and on line in our web store and FREE local delivery for telephone orders. We will be keeping all these procedures in place and this will have an impact on the returning sale of animals.

reptile shop

In normal times we actively encourage prospective owners to interact with their new pet (hold where appropriate), prior to purchase. Under the corona virus restrictions we cannot return to this at present as it would break the social distancing rules. You may ask to look at an animal in its enclosure and where possible staff will try to place the animal in a carrier for you to look at, both of these can be done whilst maintaining 2m between staff and customers but I’m afraid that is the limit of interaction before purchase. You will not be able to hold or inspect the animal further. Our staff will do all the normal pre-sale inspections and of course our livestock policy (the most generous we have found) remains in place to offer you protection.

gerbil

This is the only way we feel we can return to selling animals whilst maintaining protection for our staff and customers. Please note that this service is available to customers only. We still have a policy of no browsing the animals. We have wide variety of livestock and it attracts a lot of casual visitors. During normal times this is not an issue (unless the “free zoo” visitors get in the way of genuine customers or, as happens from time to time, are disruptive – in which case they are asked to leave). However during the pandemic they represent an unnecessary risk to staff and customers and would also be preventing genuine customers from entering the premises. So for now the “Free Zoo” remains closed. We have had a couple of instances where members of the public have become abusive and/or aggressive with staff when asked to leave if they are not making a purchase and just want to “look at the animals”. Fortunately the number of these instances have been very few but they should not have happened at all. We have a zero tolerance policy toward abuse of staff and will remove from the shop anyone who decides that the middle of the worst crisis to hit the country since the war is a good time to start trying to throw their weight around. As I say it’s rare and we appreciate the rest of our community who understand the need for these restrictive practices at this time.

reptiles

We update our livestock list on this website daily (or when it changes) and our web store also has all our livestock displayed with prices. All animal sales remain in store only. We do not sell animals to anyone we have not met and chatted to, about the care and welfare of the animal, first.

african grey parrot

Finally, customers often have to have a think before making the decision whether to buy that particular animal. Quite right too, you should never rush into purchasing a particular pet. We would ask however that whilst making the decision you leave the store if it is going to take a few minutes as we cannot allow anyone else in at the same time as you so there could be a queue outside.

Difficult times call for difficult measures and we know none of this is exactly an ideal “customer experience” so we thank you all in advance for your understanding as we try to remain in business whilst protecting ourselves and our families as well as you and yours.

The Angell Pets Team

Gloucester Pet Shop Increases Stock – Some Old Favourites, Some New Lines

We are always looking to increase the range of stock we hold in store in our Gloucester pet shop. We have just reorganised the shop floor again to enable us to get a new order of stock in this week. We have restocked with some old favourites that are popular with our customers but that we cannot get through our regular weekly deliveries from our normal wholesalers and we have also added some new lines. One of the new lines is actually both. It is a new brand to replace the brand we used to stock but can no longer get. Turns out to be the same product with a different label.

Komodo Nano Vivariums

gloucester pet shop

These are our favourite enclosures at our Gloucester pet shop for housing tarantulas and other inverts. like mantids. They are glass, so easy to clean, well ventilated and stakable (for the larger collections. The larger sizes can also be used for small amphibians or reptiles (some of the smaller gecko species). We have stocked these before and they are always popular but due to minimum order levels are not always available.

Komodo Terraced Water Bowls

Gloucester pet shop

These heavy resin bowls will grace any vivarium. Will not be overturned by even the most active of lizards or snakes. We always sell out of these quite quickly. I have just found out the real reason they were on the order though. Billie wanted one to match the hides she has in her hognose viv. Cheek.

Hugs Dog Beds In Grape And Teal

gloucester pet shop

We have a new range of Hugs dog beds in stock at our Gloucester pet shop in two attractive colours. These come in rectangular and oval formats and compliment our other ranges of beds already held at the store. Theyt are also very reasonably priced considering their stylish design.

Geo Range Of Cat Scratchers

pet shop gloucester

This is a new product and we only have one model from the range in so we can make ourselves familiar with the product. They looked good in the brochure but we like to know what we are selling. From first look the model we have in stock looks like a winner and again is very reasonable priced as it is an activity toy as well as a scratcher.

Happy Pet Bird Toys

gloucester pet shops

A return of a range of old favourites to our Gloucester pet shop. With a couple of exceptions, we have stocked all these toys before and they sell out quickly everytime. Good value and will keep the fussiest of birds occupied for hours. We also have a couple of new items to expand the range further.

Happy Pet Crafty Creatures Range

gloucester pet shop

Back by poular demand, this range of soft dog toys in the shape of some of the animals we sell!. Spiders, geckos and chameleons. We also have Chuckie the chimp back in our Gloucester pet shop for the first time at Hucclecote.We stopped stocking him at Southgate Street because the drunks would continually set him off and it drove Bille mad. Not a problem we have now we are out of town thank goodness, so Chucky’s back.

Komodo Turtle Food Range

pet shop gloucester

We stocked a very popular turtle food product range for a number of years. However the supplier became less and less reliable, to the point where we were finding placing an order a bit of a lottery as to what, if anything, we would recieve. We have been looking for a suitable replacement and have been disappointed with the alternative products. We saw this new range in the brochure and thought it looked good. Turns out it is the old product supplied under a their own brand name via one of our other suppliers. Result. We have limited numbers of each item this time round because we were not certain how good it would be. Now we know it is our old product, so popular with our existing customers we will order more next time.

Jelly Pots

gloucester pet shop

We always have a range of different flavour jelly pots in store but now we have even more. All the favourites with some exotic additions like melon. Always popular with birds, reptiles and invertebrates.

We will obviously keep trawling the trade press for new and innovitive products to stock in our Gloucester pet shop so keep up to date by visiting the store, checking out this blog or our Facebook page, visiting our webstore or signing up to receive regualr updates. Of course you could do all of the above.

Gopher/Bull Snake Care Sheet

There are around nine sub species of the snake species Pituophis catenifer. These go by the common names of Gopher Snake and Bull Snake, depending mainly on regional variation. Rather confusingly the common name Bull Snake is also used to describe certain sub species of the closely related Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus). Care for pine snakes is similar to gopher snakes so this care sheet will cover most aspects of both species, although as I own a Bull Snake (pituophis catenifer sayi) myself it is to this species I am refering when I use the term. Gopher snakes originate from the far western United States and the pine snakes across the south and east, up to New Jersey. Gopher snakes resemble rattle snakes in colour and pattern and will mimic them when threatened. The largest sub species the Bull Snake (Pituphis catenifer sayi) gets its name from the bull like snort it emits when angry. Mine used to do this when I first got it but it soon calmed down with handling and has become one of the most docile, predictable snakes I have ever owned.

Bull Snake Pituophis catenifer sayi
Adult Male Bull Snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)

Housing

Gopher snakes, bull snakes and pine snakes are the largest snakes found in north america (not including the invasive pythons in Florida).The adult size varies from 1m up to 2.3m. You are going to need a large enclosure, I would suggest a minimum of 4′ x 2′. You will not know, until it grows just how big it is going to get so I wouldn’t bother getting a smaller viv. than this. They are also very active, inquiistive snakes, so they do need the space of a larger enclosure and regular changes of layout to keep them stimulated. They really appreciate a bit of excercise out in the house and on a warm day, as long as you keep a very close eye on them you can take them out into the garden for a little explore (depending on the layout, if there is a hole to hide in they will find it). There should always be a large water bowl in the enclosure with fresh water. From experience my bull snake will only drink the water when it is fresh and every time I replace the bowl he will spend a few minutes drinking. I never see him drink at any other time so keep it fresh. It is not necessary to dechlorinate the water in the UK. I often see it stated that the water should be dechlorinated first but this information comes originally from the USA where, historically the chlorine level at the tap is significantly higher (an order of magnitude higher) than the UK. Here it is usually lower than 0.5mg/l and often only a fraction above 0. Our water treatment processes make high levels unecessary. I used to manage a water treatment works and we would have enquiries from US servicemen on whether the water was safe to drink as they couldn’t smell the chlorine!

At least one hide is required, preferably two or more. These can be placed at opposite ends of the vivarium to allow the snake to rest in the correct temperature. Snakes can only thermo regulate by using the ambient temperature around them (unlike us – we can produce our own heat) so need to move around to control their temperature. Whilst shedding, which they will do from every few weeks when young and growing rapidly and every few months when adult, place some damp moss under the snakes preferred hide. This will create a microclimate with raised humidity, making shedding the skin easier. You do not want a raised humidty constantly in the vivarium. Gopher snakes come from arid environments, so dry air (not so for some pine snakes, Florida and Louisianna are pretty humid at times!).

Substrate

Suitable substrates would include, beech chip, aspen bedding and lignocel (e.g. PR snake life) for a utilitarian set up. I have used them all and they are all fine and have the advantage that the poop is easy to spot and to clean. The darker orchid bark or “bark chips” is fine too, although it is much harder to spot the poop. For the more humid subspecies of pine snake this may be a better choice as it can help maintain the humidity. More “natural” looking substrates are also fine. Gopher snakes live in arid areas with dry, often sandy soil. The gopher snake in the shop is on PR toroise life as a suitable approximation to the natural environment and it works well. Don’t be dictated to by the “keyboard warriors” who will try to tell you what you “must” use. This is at best just their opinion, although they will try to present it as fact and at worst just something they have heard somewhere without the slightest idea as to why it should be.

Heating

For smaller snakes a heat mat would be OK but especially if the mat is floor mounted, a larger snake may cause “thermal blocking” (completely covering the mat with its body) so I prefer a ceramic heat emitter with a suitable heater cage to prevent the snake burning itself. A suitably rated pulse proportional or dimming thermostat gives the best level of control over the output of the heater but a simple on/off stat (correct wattage rating) will do the job but with a few peaks and troughs in temperature. A temperature range of 30-32 celcius at the hot end to 24 celcius at the cold end gives a good target range. Allowing the temperature to drop lower overnight gives a more realistic representation of the natural environment and having a lower overall temprature duiring months with shorter days can stimulate them to come into breeding condition. However for basic care the normal temperature range will suffice. Having a thermostat is essential. Reptiles can tolerate lower temperatures for some time, simply becoming less active but over temperature can kill them very quickly. The thermostat prevents this happening. Have a seperate temperature guage as well. Thermostats have been known to fail so knowing what the temperature actually is can be vital.

Lighting

UVB lighting is not necessary to keep your gopher snake healthy and active. However a day night cycle does help this diurnal snake replicate normal behaviour patterns. Also, you want to be able to see your snake so some form of lighting is beneficial. I like to use LED lighting. This has two advantages, the LEDs produce hardly any extra heat so do not interfere with the control of your heating system or cause burns if touched by the snake and they last many tens of thousands of hours longer that an incadescent lamp or even an energy efficiant fluorescent tube/lamp. You can use the other types of lighting but if using incadescent or halogen, the lamp must be protected by a cage to prevent burning. Energy efficient lamps don’t genreally produce enough heat to burn, which is after all why they are energy efficient.

Feeding

As the name “gopher snake” suggests, these snakes eat mainly small rodents in the wild. In captivity you will have no trouble feeding defrosted mice and rats. Size the food items appropriately to the snake, generally not more thatn 1 1/2 times the snakes head diameter, although that is a guide and they will take slightly larger. It is illegal to feed live vertebrate animals to other animals in the UK, unless the animal in question is at risk if not fed live food. There is no way this could be claimed for any gopher snake. All the specimens I have ever come across are good feeders on defrosted mice/rats. Feeding live rodents is a bad idea in any case as they bite back and could well end up injuring your prized snake. There will always be someone who insists they have to use live. I have a few words to describe these people. Pop in and see me in the shop if you want to know what they are, I can’t publish them here. Defrost the food naturally, not in a microwave. This can heat up the inside of the food and activate necrotic bacteria and give your snake food poisoning. Once defrosted, pop the rat in a poly bag and stick it under your arm to raise to blood temperature and the snake will feed. In the 16 years (at time of writing) I have had my bull snake it has only had two bouts of not feeding, one lasting five months and one three months. Both times were as an adult and there was nothing wrong with the snake. If your snake misses a feed I would leave it for a couple of weeks before attempting again or you may just waste a few rats.

San Diego Gopher Snake
San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens) Feeding On A Small Defrosted Mouse

Lifespan

In the wild, gopher snakes have a lifespan of around 15 years. Captive snakes suffer far less risk and stress throughout their lives (or should do if you are looking after them properly). No predation, environmental controls giving all year round good weather and food on a plate. This leads to much longer lifespans. The oldest I have heard of was reported to be 33 years old. 20-25 years is common. Mine is currently sixteen and is just as active as when he was two.

So gopher snakes (and bull snakes), make excellent first snakes as an alternative to the commoner corn snake or as a next snake for something a little larger and more active. They are much less commonly avaiable however so you may have to shop around to get one.

Angell Pets Current Livestock List

Time to post a new current livestock list for Angell Pets Hucclecote store. All are on our website but it’s good to put everything in one post from time to time. I have added a couple of “coming soon” items this time as the arrival of these animals is fairly imminent (next week or the week after). We are a little light on spiders this week  but we will be getting some more very soon. I haven’t added these to the list as I haven’t decided which we are getting yet.

Invertebrates

  • Fruit Beetles
  • Deaths Head Cockroach
  • Madagascan Hissing Cockroach
  • Headlight Cockroach
  • Indian Stick Insect
  • Giant Spiny Stick Insect
  • Giant Prickly Stick Insect
  • Dwarf White Woodlice
  • Tropical Grey Woodlice
  • Giant Orange Woodlice
  • Argentinian Star Tarantula
  • Cameroon Red Baboon Spider
  • Flame Rump Tree Spider
  • Guyana Goliath Birdeater
  • Hati Hati Purple Tarantula
  • King Baboon Spider
  • Malaysian Earth Tiger
  • Mexican Red Rump Tarantula
  • Togo Starburst
  • African Land Snail
  • Giant Malaysian Shield Mantis *COMING SOON*

Amphibians

  • Alpine Newt
  • Whites Tree Frog
  • Albino Horned Frog *COMING SOON*

Reptiles

  • Rankins Dragon
  • Chinese Water Dragon *COMING SOON*
  • Leopard Gecko “Montanus”
  • Madagascan Giant Day Gecko
  • Kotschys Gecko
  • “Kastanie” Corn Snake
  • Milksnake
  • Kenyan Sand Boa
  • Common Boa
  • Carpet Python
  • “Chocolate” Royal Python *COMING SOON*
  • Marginated Tortoise

Birds

  • Timineh African Greyt Parrot
  • White Faced Cockatiel
  • Grey Cockatiel
  • Budgerigar
  • Java Sparrow
  • Zebra Finch
  • Yellow Canary
  • Orange Canary

Mammals

  • Fancy Mouse
  • Dumbo Rat
  • Syrian Hamster
  • Gerbil
  • Guinea Pig *COMING SOON*
  • Lion Lop Rabbit

Fish

  • Coldwater *COMING SOON*
  • Temperate *COMING SOON*
  • Tropical *COMING SOON*

Please note our list changes daily. For example if I had writeen this before opening this morning it would also have contained guinea pigs in stock and a Yemen chameleon, so please get in touch to see what we have in our Angell Pets Hucclecote store on any given day. Alternatively visit our website.

 

The Angell Pets Team

Current livestock list growing

Following on from our move to Hucclecote we are now growing our list of livestock in store and available to order. Every now and then I post the current list. I don’t do it too often as it changes almost daily but a quick post of what we currently have is often welcomed by our customers.

We do not have birds or fish at present. We can’t stock birds until we have finished painting because of the fumes and the area where the fish are going has only just been re-plastered ready for the tanks to go in. Obviously the tanks have to be matured before we can put fish in them.

Please note this list is only what we have in store and does not include the much larger range available to order.

So here is the current list as it stands today, it will be changing tomorrow.

Mammals

gerbil

Reptiles and Amphibians

Cave gecko

Spiders

tarantula

Other invertebrates

mantis

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

Current Livestock

Our livestock list changes daily but every now and then I like to post a current list just to keep everyone up to speed with the types of animals we stock or can get. It is a bit of a double edged sword. If I post everything we can get, we are flooded with requests for animals that are not currently available. If on the other hand I post just what we have in at present, people get the impression that this is all we can get. So we have all our current stock on our web store (although it cannot be ordered from there, you need to come in for livestock) and I post a current list from time to time on here so people can see that it is changing regularly.

Here is the list as of today. Please note that it could well be very different tomorrow.

FIsh

tropical fish

Amphibians

phantasmal dart frog

Reptiles

common boa

Invertebrates

tarantula

Birds

african grey parrot

Small mammals

gerbil

ferret

If you are after something you cannot see, do give us call. We have an extensive list of breeders we can call on.

 

The Angell Pets Team

New Year – New Stock

The New Year is well underway and we have a lot of new livestock in store and even more available to order. Every now and then I post what we have in our shop so now would be a good time for an update.

Birds

red canary

African grey (Timneh)

Cockatiels (coloured)

Budgies (rainbow)

Canary (green)

Canary (red)

Java sparrows (silver)

Zebra finches

Chinese painted quail female (white)

 

Mammals

rabbit

Rabbits (mini lop)

Guinea pigs

Rats (dumbo and top eared)

Mice

Gerbils

Syrian hamsters

Reptiles

cave gecko

Cornsnake (amelanistic)

Cornsnake (ghost)

Milksnakes

Common boas

Kenyan sand boa

Carpet python

Royal python (pastel)

Bearded dragon

Leopard gecko

Flame crested gecko

Chinese cave gecko

Kotschys gecko

Madagascan giant day gecko

Yemen chameleon

Marginated tortoise

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Yellow Belly Turtle

Musk Turtle

 

Amphibian

phantasmal dart frog

Phantasmal Arrow Frog

Whites Tree Frog

 

Spiders

brazilian black

Brazilian black (juvenile)

Brazilian red rump (sub adult)

Costa Rican big bstd (sub adult)

Curly hair (spiderling)

Giant white knee (juvenile)

Haitian brown (spiderling – large)

Hati Hati purple (spiderlings – large)

Mexican red rump (spiderling)

Mexican red leg (spiderling, sub adult)

Mexican pink (sub adult)

Mexican rose grey (spiderling)

Socotra Island blue baboon (juvenile)

Thai zebra (adult female)

Togo starburst (spiderling – large)

Trinidad chevron (spiderling – large)

 

Insects

mantis

Deaths head cockroach

Fruit beetle

Giant spiny stick insect

Indian stick insect

Cameroon Mantis

Griffin Mantis

Other Invertebrates

Yellow rabbit snail

Red onion snail

Fish – Coldwater

Assorted Goldfish

Zebra Danio

Leopard Danio

Pearl Danio

Glowlight Danio

Butterfly Plec

Fish – Tropical

Bronze Corydora

Endler Guppy

Splendid Rasbora

Galaxy Rasbora

Albino Halfbeak

Lampeye

Cherry Barb

Glowlight tetra

Blonde Guppy Female

Clown Loach

Black Lyre Tail Molly

Orange Lyre Tail Molly

Mixed Lyre Tail Molly

We will be getting more fish stock soon.

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

 

 

 

Free food for a month with ALL complete set ups

From now until the end of December we have a fantastic offer on. Buy ANY complete set up, for any animal and receive one months food FREE.

pet shop gloucester cornsnake

We have a range of set ups for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates to suit all budgets.Complete set ups include the housing, relevant equipment for that animal, substrate, decor where relevant, the animal itself and now, in addition, one months food FREE.

rankins-dragon
We have set ups for budgies, cockatiels, finches and canaries, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and mice, gerbils and hamsters, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, day geckos, crested geckos, chameleons, cornsnakes, milksnakes, boas, pythons, frogs, tarantulas, mantids, stick insects and many more.

hog island boa
All our set ups are put together by the most experienced and qualified team in Gloucester so you get all the correct and  best equipment for your new animal. You can contact us here or on Facebook or on 01452 501882 to find out more.

Exo Terra

 

The Angell Pets Team

Reptile Boarding

Our Reptile Boarding facility here at Angell Pets has grown rapidly in popularity since being launched a couple of years ago.

reptile boarding

Most of our customers, lucky enough to go on holiday each year, are returning to book their animals in each time and new people are hearing about our reptile boarding service and using us for the first time. Peak times are now booked up months in advance. For example Easter and August this year were both virtually fully booked two months in advance.

small animal boarding

We have some space this summer left in July and September with a few odd days only in August for reptile boarding. We do have a little space left for birds and small animals but not much.

reptile boarding

Hermann’s tortoise

If you wish to take advantage of our excellent reptile boarding rates and have your animals looked after by top qualified staff please do book now to avoid disappointment.

Contact us on 01452 501882 to reserve space.

The Angell Pets Team

Hog Island Boa Care Sheet

Hog Island boas are an island variety of common boa. The two main differences are size and colouration. Hog Island boas are naturally hypomelanistic (low in black pigment). This allows the other colours to stand out more, giving a lovely muted pattern of light browns and pinks to orange and even blue. Adult female common boas may reach 12 feet but it is very rare for a Hog Island boa to get above 6 feet and males generally reach 4 feet. Common boas would make great first snakes if it were not for their adult size. The smaller size of the Hog Island boa makes it a great alternative to the often fussy royal python as a choice of first snake. This Hog Island boa care sheet sets out the basics for you.

hog island boa

Housing

Obviously the other “advantage” the Hog Island boa has over the larger commons is that being smaller, they require less space, allowing for a smaller enclosure. The old rule of thumb, length of vivarium plus depth of vivarium equals length of snake shows a three foot vivarium large enough for all but the largest specimens and a four foot enough for even a large female. So for someone wanting a boa but without the space (or the funds) to house a large common, the Hog Island boa makes an obvious choice.

As to keeping a smaller Hog Island boa in a small box until it is bigger and more confident. Can you? Well, yes you can. Do you have to? Well, no you don’t. If you want to house a young Hog Island boa in the vivarium that will last into adulthood and beyond, that is fine. Just ensure there are plenty of places for it to hide away in different areas of the viv.

Heating

The Hog Island boa comes from the tropical Cayos Cachinos Islands off the coast of Honduras. So they need heat and a reasonable level of humidity (although not wet). Around 29C at the hot end and a humidity level of around 60% is fine. I prefer heating with a ceramic heat emitter and this must have a cage around it to prevent contact with the snake and consequent burns. Due to the smaller size of the Hog Island boa you could use a heat mat (mounted on the end wall of the viv. to prevent thermal blocking). Which ever you use, a thermostat to control the temperature is essential. Over heating will damage a snake much more quickly than under heating. Of the two methods of heating mentioned, heat mats and on/off thermostats are cheaper, whilst ceramics and pulse proportional thermostats give a finer level of control.

hog island boa

Lighting

The Hog Island boa generally does not require specialist lighting but why have a snake in a vivarium and then not be able to see it? I find the best modern solution to be LED lighting. Most are neat, quite stylish, don’t generate heat so don’t need to be guarded, can come in a variety of colours (some will automatically change from day to night lighting if you want to be flash), are low voltage inside the viv, are energy efficient, last the lifetime of the snake so don’t require regular replacement of blown lamps…As you can see I am quite sold on them. However properly guarded incandescent lamps can be used (but take the heat generated into consideration) and fluorescent tubes work well but will need to be replaced occasionally.

hog island boa

Substrate

I prefer bark chips (orchid bark) for a Hog Island boa. The dark colour sets off the snake well and this substrate works well as a holder of moisture, helping to maintain some humidity. Other substrates can be used, aspen, lignocel, beech chip, cage carpet etc. Humidity can be maintained by positioning of the water bowl – at the hot end increases humidity as the water evaporates. Water should be changed daily anyway so it will not be there long enough for it all to disappear. In the end the choice of substrate is yours, most cost around the same so that shouldn’t be a factor. Whatever you want for your Hog Island boa.

Decor

As with most snakes, a hide of some description is a must so the Hog Island boa has somewhere to go when it feels the need to be secure. More than one is better, so the snake can choose the temperature of the hide it wants to use. A hide is also a good place to put some damp moss for localised increase of humidity when shedding. Some form of branch is good (environmental or habitat enrichment to get all professional) to allow climbing behaviour. Aside from these it’s your viv. so it’s your choice. Silk plants are an attractive addition to a vivarium (real plants work too but you may spend more time looking after them than the Hog Island boa) and of course a skull always looks good with a snake coming out the eye socket. No? Just me then.

Feeding

Apart from an Amazon Tree Boa I had once (there is always one), every boa I have had has been a good feeder. The Hog Island boa is no exception. I have heard that they can go off their food if they feel insecure but if you have the correct set up in your vivarium this is not going to happen. Mice for smaller specimens is fine but I would get onto rats as soon as possible as larger ones are going to need larger food and there is a possibility it could get habituated to mice. Not the Hog Island boa examples I have had though. They eat anything (well not really anything but you get the point). As with any snake, don’t feed too large a mouse or rat though. There are a lot of risks associated with this, from refusing food to regurgitating later to damage to the insides of the snake from sharp rat claws etc. It’s just not worth risking it for no perceivable benefit to the snake. I feed once a week on smaller food up to once every two weeks for larger. The snake will let you know. Oh and I always use tongs for feeding. A nice smell of rat coupled with a nice warm hand can result in a snake striking at the wrong thing. A Hog Island boa is no exception to this potential confusion.

Handling

The Hog Island boa is quite a docile snake and certainly doesn’t seem to mind being handled (I can’t speak snake so I wouldn’t like to say they enjoy it). As with all snakes, the more secure they feel the less likely to try to escape, strike etc. The more points of contact on its body, the more secure the snake will feel. Always approach a snake from behind, never from in front of its head. The Hog Island boa has a lot of very highly tuned sensors (nostrils, eyes, tongue and Jacobson’s organ and heat pits) Continue reading “Hog Island Boa Care Sheet” »