How to treat snake mites

How to treat snake mites – one method out of  many

How to treat snake mites

There are many ideas on how to treat snake mites. Most have their own merits and most have there own drawbacks. I have used a few of these and have had success removing the mites but have also had less desirable results as well. The only method I have used where the downside is much less than the up is the one I am going to outline here.

If you have a lot of snakes (a breeder or just lucky enough to have a large collection) you may find the main drawback of this method of how to treat snake mites a little to much for you. Basically it takes a bit more time than other methods. However it’s the safest I have found.

To illustrate the method of how to treat snake mites I am going to use a real example of an extreme infestation. The snake in question was very weak and in considerable distress and had been for some time. There were other factors involved concerned with poor care but I am going to concentrate on how to treat snake mites so I will leave those to one side for now.

I will mention other methods of how to treat snake mites I have tried or where I have heard of others that have tried them. I will outline what I have found to be the downsides of these other methods of how to treat snake mites and of the method I use. Whichever method you decide to use is your choice and no doubt will be based on your own particular set of circumstances. I am not saying my method is the best for everyone but it is the best for me and you may want to try it too.

  • Firstly if your snake is badly infested (if it is – why have you let it get that bad?) you need to give it a bath in warm water to get the bulk of the little buggers off. Actually this is not first. First you need to make sure you don’t have long sleeves on or a woolly jumper. You don’t want them getting caught up in your clothing and spreading to someone else’s collection (especially mine – alright!). Once you are correctly attired give the snake a bath. Most snakes (all the ones I have come across) are OK with being bathed. I use something like a RUB or large cat litter tray and do it outside of the shop.  Let the snake have a good old soak and then run your hands down its body from head to tail over the water to get off the ones disturbed by the dunking and let the little sods drown. In my example of how to treat snake mites I had to change the water twice! My hands were black with dead mites.
  • Once you have done this, dry the snake in some paper towel. Dispose of this immediately, live mites will come off on it. Your snake is now ready for treatment.
  • If you have a spare RUB or similar, secure plastic tub I would use this. If not, it isn’t essential. I use Zoo Med Mite Off to treat the actual snake. I have heard people say that it’s not effective. However this is because it has not been used correctly. You will be very lucky to get away with only one treatment. Usually it takes two or three. The most I’ve had to use was four on a particularly stubborn case on a common boa I rescued.
  • Spray the snake from head to tail, be quite liberal. The benefit of Mite Off over other treatments is that I have not heard of a single substantiated case of it harming the snake, even with neonates. Because of this you can use it around those stubborn areas near the eyes and corners of the mouth. Run the snake through your, now wet, hands a few times. If you can see any mites pick them off and pop them or drown them in some water. I prefer to pop them, it’s quite satisfying, it’s my favourite part of this method of how to treat snake mites.
  • Once the  treatment is complete, put the snake in the RUB lined with some paper towel with just a water bowl and put to one side. Clean up the area you have been working in and throw away any soiled towels. If I were you I’d throw them in the dustbin outside, not in the kitchen bin – just to be on the safe side.
  • Now turn to the vivarium. Take out everything that isn’t fixed down. I would strongly suggest, if you can afford to, that you throw away any wooden items. Alternatively you can freeze them overnight or cook in the oven for an hour (if they will fit). This will stink out the house for a while though – you have been warned. This will also kill off any mites hiding in the crevices. Empty out the substrate and throw it away. Bleach any water bowls. The next stage is critical to this method of how to treat snake mites.
  • I have found the best thing to treat the vivarium itself is isopropyl alcohol. It can be ordered from your pharmacy. Pour some on some paper towel and wipe it over every surface in the viv. If you have fittings that you cannot remove make sure you get some into any edges and under any mountings. The effect of the alcohol is to dry out any mites and importantly, their eggs. Be thorough.
  • The benefit of using  isopropyl alcohol in this method of how to treat snake mites over other treatments is, apart from its effectiveness, it leaves no residue, evaporates very quickly and has no toxic fumes. The disadvantage is that it does require a bit more effort compared to alternatives.
  • I have also used Callington mite spray and this is effective. However I lost two young garter snakes shortly after putting them back in the viv. I left the viv. to ventilate for several hours before putting them back but two of the three snakes clearly had their nervous systems poisoned. They started fitting and died fairly quickly. I asked around and initially couldn’t find any other instances of this. However since then a well known breeder has told me that he has lost some snakes after using Callington. He was using it directly on the snakes, which he has been doing for years without incident, and has now stopped using it. The snakes he lost were also quite young so I think it prudent to only use this product with older snakes and only as a viv. treatment. Customers do use it but it’s not my favourite method of how to treat snake mites.
  • This same breeder has routinely used Ardap for his vivs. on an annual basis. However this year, following his routine treatment, which takes him all day, he lost six snakes. He certainly knows how to use the product and is aware of its potency. Again the snakes were , I believe, all young. I have never used Ardap, not because I disagree with its use, that’s up to you. Its because in my shop I have a large stock of spiders and other invertebrates. Using Ardap would wipe out this stock in a stroke. It would also take out the birds, fish and possibly the small mammals as well. Potent stuff. Probably not the best method of how to treat snake mites for the average hobbyist.
  • Once you have treated the viv. just leave it. If you are using a RUB place it, with the snake inside, in the viv. If not, use paper towel on the bottom of the viv and replace the snake and its water bowl. Either way, check the snake in 24 hours. Replace the paper towel and pop any mites you find with your thumb nail. Check again the next day. On day three, if necessary and it probably will be, retreat the snake. You should also treat the RUB with isopropyl alcohol. If not using a RUB you will need to retreat the whole viv. again. Hence why, in this method of how to treat snake mites I suggest its best to use a RUB if you can.
  • I have recently been using Bob Martin My Little Friend small animal cage disinfectant instead of isopropyl alcohol. I noticed that this product contains alcohol so I gave it a go. It appears to work just as well at a fraction of the price, is readily available (to me – I stock it in my shop) and has had no ill effects on the snakes. However I have only used this a couple of times so far. I have now incorporated it into my method of how to treat snake mites though.
  • Go through the checking process again and retreat if necessary. Keep going until there are no signs of mites. The most treatments I have had to do was four and the fourth was possibly not necessary. this method of how to treat snake mites does require you to follow through all the actions though, miss a step and you are wasting your time.
  • One other method I have used is Frontline (fipronil) flea treatment on the snake and alcohol on the viv. This worked very well but you must take out the water bowl for at least 24 hours and I wouldn’t feed the snake for a few days. Don’t use this method on neonates. I have read it is too strong for them, although because I knew this I didn’t use it in these circumstances so, I am pleased to say, I haven’t any direct experience of that.I no longer use this method of how to treat snake mites though as it is more expensive and just not necessary. Fibronil is now more widely available now though, so the price has come down. The Frontline brand is still expensive.

I have left off discussing predatory mites for two reasons. Firstly I have no direct experience of this method of how to treat snake mites (you buy another, predatory species of mite that eats the snake mites). Secondly I do not use the right sort of substrate in my snake vivs. You need a more soil type substrate for the predatory mites to thrive. Apparently you just chuck ’em in, they go to work chomping on your snake’s mites and then die off when there’s no food left. Neat huh.

When I next get a snake with mites in the shop (we sometimes rescue snake) I will make a video showing how to treat snake mites based on this method. You will be able to see it on our YouTube channel. Subscribe now and receive notification when it’s posted.

So there you go. Zoo Med mite off on the snake and isopropyl alcohol on the viv. is how to treat snake mites safely. Well, its how I do it and it’s always worked with no side effects and that’s what you want, isn’t it.?


Good luck

The Angell Pets Team



Pet shop Gloucester top tips on keeping rats

Pet shop Gloucester top tips series. We will be producing a series of top tips blogs for all the animals we sell, so make sure you subscribe to our email list to get notification of these blogs. Our pet shop Gloucester now also has a YouTube channel you can subscribe to.

Five Top Pet Shop Gloucester tips on keeping rats

Pet shop gloucester

  1. Be very sure of your source. Don’t buy from just anywhere. A common scenario goes like this: chap goes to a “pet supermarket” and buys two “male” rats. Takes the rats home and a week later one of them gives birth. He’s now stuck with the babies so he sells them through friends or the local paper. What the buyers and probably the seller doesn’t realise is that the parents were probably brother and sister, so the babies are going to be genetically weak. This can lead to growth problems, organ failure, early onset of tumours and ultimately shortened lifespan. He may even sell them to another pet shop Gloucester. In our pet shop Gloucester, we only get our rats from reputable breeders or breed them ourselves.
  2. Make sure you get an appropriately sized cage. Rats are active animals and need some space. If the supplier tries to sell you something that’s only really suitable for a hamster, walk away, they don’t know enough about rats to be selling them. In our pet shop Gloucester we have a range of excellent cages well suited to the most discerning rat. We also stock all the suitable ancillary equipment such as houses, bedding, wheels, water bottle etc.
  3. Think about where you are going to house your new pet. Rats are very sensitive to high pitched noises that we can’t hear. The only time I have had reports from customers that their rats were fighting was when they had placed the cage too near a television. Moving the cage stopped the problem. Imagine having an insessant high pitched whine in your ear all the time, it would make you iritable. If you’ve got young children, you will know what it’s like ! At our pet shop Gloucester we have the knowledge to be able to advise you on all these things about rats that most people wouldn’t realise. Other things that can emit high pitched sounds inaudible to us but audible to your rat include, computers, kettles, games consoles, telephones, even some energy efficient lighting.
  4. Feeding too much protein can cause problems. Rats are omnivores, they eat anything but feeding too much meat products can cause renal problems and will cause their wee to smell quite strongly. At our pet shop Gloucester we stock a range of excellent rat foods and treats.
  5. Rats are rodents and their teeth grow constantly. They must have something to gnaw on to keep their teeth worn down or they will suffer from overgrown teeth. In extreme cases they will no longer be able to feed. In our pet shop Gloucester we stock a variety of wood gnaws, mineral blocks and toys designed to take care of this for you. It’s a good idea to change toys and chews regularly. Take them out, put in some new ones but don’t throw the old ones away. Keep them and change them back in a week or two. Keep swapping them round to keep them interested.
  6. A bonus point, we always like to give a little extra at our pet shop Gloucester. Always wash your hands after handling your rats. They are very clean animals (considering the reputation of their wild cousins) but they can carry e.coli and other bacteria in their guts. In our pet shop Gloucester we have anti bacterial hand washes for customers who have handled our animals. As a minimum was thoroughly with soap and water.

For more advice from our pet shop Gloucester team on keeping rats, contact us, post on facebook or better yet call in the store.

See you soon

Richard Angell

Tarantulas – How to handle spiders

Tarantulas – How to handle spiders. To start with, we do not recommend anyone handle tarantulas. This is for a number of reasons.


Firstly, although there is no such thing as  “deadly” tarantulas”  (I’ll tell you a story about that at the end) some do have medically significant bites and can be quite aggressive and fast. I’m not going to tell you how to handle one of these.

Secondly you may be allergic (unlikely but possible) to a tarantulas venom. Unfortunately the way to find out if you are is to get bitten and then of course it’s too late.

Just as importantly, tarantulas are delicate animals. They can be severely damaged or even killed by falls of just a few inches. Obviously this is more likely to happen during handling.

Lastly, some tarantulas (new world species) have urticating setae (hairs). Even if they do not flick them at you in defense you will still get them on you if you handled the spider. If you touch your face, or put your fingers anywhere near your eye you are going to be in trouble. I’ve had tarantulas hairs in my eye. The whole of the side or my face swelled. It looked  like I had sacks of water hanging under my eye and it hurt like a… well like something very painful.

Those points aside you may feel that at times it is necessary to handle your spider so I’ve put together a short video showing two methods. At some point, when I next need to move or “re-pot” one of our more aggressive types I’ll do a video on my favourite method for doing this. Trust me, it will not involve picking it up! Enjoy.

Oh and the story about “deadly tarantulas”…. well about 6 months after we opened we were robbed of the contents of our till. The police were here until about 8pm on a Saturday night, which round here gets noticed. On the following Monday I had two young girls come in the shop and ask what was going to happen to me. I asked what they meant and they said “well, a man came in your shop on Saturday and was bitten by a deadly tarantula and died, that’s why the police were here…” My response to this was that they should know that was rubbish because for a start there’s no such thing etc. Just goes to show how some of the more ridiculous stories about tarantulas can start and spread.

For more species specific information on tarantulas, contact us or pop in the shop and see me. we do great deals on complete set ups and have really good prices for a wide variety of spiders.

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

Bearded dragon care sheets around on the internet. Not all are of much use, so I have posted our basic care sheet here for anyone who needs it.

We have had quite a few customers in who have either inherited a bearded dragon from a friend or relative or have bought a bearded dragon recently and who have been trying their best to improve the care of their new (and often unexpected) bearded dragon. I have been able to help in most cases so I thought I would jot down a few basics for people in this situation or for anyone thinking of purchasing a bearded dragon in the near future.

bearded dragon

Generally a bearded dragon require quite a large vivarium as an adult. I would recommend 30” as an absolute minimum for one adult although 36” would be better.  48” is excellent and anything bigger is good but probably just showing off! Very young ones can at least look a bit lost in one though and some do seem (at least at first) to get a bit nervous in a large viv. (they will hide away a lot, sometimes to the point of not getting enough UV light) so starting off in a smaller viv is definitely OK, although not essential. They do grow quite quickly.

They require a good temperature gradient (a “hot end “and a “cold end”) to enable them to regulate their body temperature with the hot spot at the hot end at 40-45 C and the cool end around 25 C (so you are going to need two thermometers). There are a lot of opinions out there on heating a viv. and I’ll not get into it all here. I use a heat mat combined with a basking lamp (sized to the viv.) to create a hot spot. I have mounted mats on the side and on the bottom of the viv. with equal success. I have seen comments saying never use a heat mat and cannot agree. I have never had a problem, ever and this is over a number of years with a large number of animals. That said, there are alternatives and they are fine too (with the exception of “heat rocks” – they really are a bad idea, if you bought a bearded dragon starter set up from a certain well known pet supermarket you will have one of these, please throw it away to avoid any risk).

A thermostat will help avoid over temperature. A bearded dragon can tolerate lower temperatures (i.e. if your spot lamp blows) for quite some time but will suffer quite quickly from over temperature. Even with a thermostat you should always check your thermometers at least daily – thermostats can fail.

A bearded dragon needs relatively high levels of UVB light to manufacture vitamin D3, enabling them to assimilate calcium. You will need a 10-12% UVB lamp on 12 – 14 hours a day. Remember UV light does not travel too far from these lamps so make sure they are not too far from where your dragon likes to bask. I don’t use hides with beardies, sometimes they can spend too much time under it and not get enough UV – not common but best avoided.

Substrate (what your bearded dragon lives on) is probably the most controversial subject in the hobby. I am not going to tell you what not to use, there is not a substrate currently in use that can’t cause problems. I use beech wood chips or desert bedding in the main although I have used others. I have never had any issues with impaction so I can’t comment on what is worst for this. However I avoid calci sand, as calcium is an essential nutrient for a bearded dragon, so they will eat as if they feel they need it – why tempt fate? Also, most of my vivs. are front opening,  with sliding glass and the sound of sand in the runners makes me cringe!

A bearded dragon does require a water bowl although they are rarely seen to drink (I know some individuals seem to love getting in their water bowl but I have only seen this when kept on sand). Do change the water regularly and keep the bowl clean. It is hot in a bearded dragon viv. and bacteria will grow very quickly around the rim of the water. A feed dish is a good idea for the veggie component of a bearded dragon diet, to help avoid the risk of impaction by picking up bits of substrate.

Your bearded dragon will  love something to climb on, branches, rocks etc. Avoid anything sharp, they may suddenly jump down and you don’t want them to get injured. Any thing else in there is up to you. Some people like to put in things to encourage activity and don’t mind what it looks like, so use anything they can find. Others like it to look as natural as possible. It’s really up to you but I would suggest you read a good book for the more advanced aspects of setting up a vivarium both for further advice and for ideas if, like me, you’re not that creative yourself.

Your bearded dragon is an omnivore. They eat a wide range of foods including crickets, locusts, cockroaches and various lavae, vegetables and fruit, meat (small mammals) etc. In captivity they also need vitamin and calcium supplements to ensure continued good health. I feed mine to a regular regime. It is necessary for the health of the bearded dragon and with the amount of animals I have to feed it is more convenient to stick to a plan and this gives us confidence our animals have received a varied and balanced diet. You will find your own regime that suits you. I will give you mine just to illustrate what a balanced diet looks like, not to suggest this is superior to any other feeding plan.

Day one – cricket or locusts dusted with Nutrobal vitamin supplement.

Day 2 – salad vegetables.

Day three – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day four – salad vegetables.

Day five – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day six – fruit or veg.

Day seven – crickets or locusts without any supplement.

I vary this further by changing the crickets and locusts for morio worms from time to time and very occasionally wax worms. I don’t use mealworms myself due to the higher level of chitin in the jaws and the consequent increased risk of impaction but occasional mealworms would be OK. I must confess the type of veg I use depends very much on what is on offer at the local supermarket or my garden but favourites of my bearded dragon are rocket salad or herb salad, grated carrot, romaine lettuce, curly kale and cucumber. Customers have also used spring onion greens but I haven’t had a lot of success with those. Those that have swear by them. Again I haven’t had a lot of success with fruit but common ones used are strawberry, mango and banana.

One way of getting veg. into a more obstinate bearded dragon is to feed the veg. to the insects. Whatever they eat, your bearded dragon is eating. I do this sometimes but usually I have gut loaded them on a gut load formula any way.  For a very young bearded dragon I dust every feed to ensure the rapidly growing youngsters are getting enough calcium but I only ever use vitamin powder once a week. The risk of over dosing far outweighing the risk of underdosing when using such a balanced diet.

It is important to consider the size of the insect food. It is a bad idea to give anything longer than the distance between the eyes of your bearded dragon. Too many over large insects will not be properly digested and you will see the half digested remains in the bearded dragons poop, possibly along with some blood! Alternatively your bearded dragon may regurgitate the meal, again with the risk of damage from the sharp bits of exoskeleton.

Things to avoid feeding are obviously using anything toxic! This sounds really obvious but people have been caught out with plants. The bearded dragon may not eat the plant but the insects probably will. The bearded dragon will then eat the now toxic insect. I don’t usually use live plants with my bearded dragon but other people do, so make sure you know what plant you have and that it is safe. Also I avoid broccoli and cabbage leaves as these contain oxylates that can prevent calcium being available to the metabolism.

Common problems with bearded dragon feeding include the notorius addiction to wax worms. I have seen a bearded dragon fed these exclusively. Not only is this a bad idea from a nutritional point of view but you often end up with a bearded dragon that will only eat this one source of food and frequently only when fed by hand! However I have not yet seen the bearded dragon that cannot be weaned back onto a balanced diet with a little perseverance.

That said, they can be fussy as they get older. Giles, my eleven year old bearded dragon, will not eat crickets at all. He used to but now he would rather starve. It’s OK though because he will eat everything else.  You may also get a bearded dragon that will not touch something. The basic message is that as they are omnivores, it probably doesn’t matter as long as they get a balanced diet.

We now stock fruit beetle lavae and our own cockroaches. Any bearded dragon (of appropriate size) seems to love these.

For more information on your bearded dragon either contact us or better still pop into the shop and see us and our bearded dragon stock..

Rabbit health check advice

Here’s a short video on how to carry out a quick health check on a rabbit. This should be done by the pet shop before you purchase but it should help you if you know what they should be looking for.

You can also carry out this quick check once a week when you  clean out the rabbit. Being proactive like this can identify problems when they are still relatively easy to sort out and will not only benefit the rabbit but could also save you a small fortune in vet bills.

The checks are basic and simple to do but can identify symptoms of serious problems early, making treatment easier (so cheaper) and more effective.

A simple weekly check of the ears for example can spot ear mites which can be easy to treat at an early stage of infestation but can be harder to get rid of when established and can lead to secondary bacterial or fungal infection. Checking the rabbits bum weekly can help prevent fly strike which often can prove fatal.

Have a look at the video. I will be producing a lot more similar videos on a variety of animals and subjects which I hope will prove useful to you. Please feel free to comment on this blog or on the videos if you find them useful. If you have a subject you would like me to do a video on, leave a comment or use the “contact us” form.


Pet shop advice and discussion forum on Facebook

Pet shop advice and discussion forum is developing on our facebook page.

Following on from the relaunch of our Angell Pets facebook page it is starting to develop past the purpose for which we I set it up. Originally it was so we could inform our customers of what was happening in the shop, what new stock we had in or offers we were running. It has since taken on a life of its own and is just starting to turn into a bit of a general pet shop advice forum.

Contacting your pet shop for advice

Our pet shop staff have always been available at the end of the phone or in the pet shop to give advice where we can on a whole range of issues around pet care. We do not intend this to change but Facebook has given us an additional platform to give interactive pet shop advice.

Our intention now is to give pet shop advice on a whole range of subjects through our blog and YouTube channel and to use Facebook for giving follow up advice on these subjects and on more specific issues people may have. We do recognise that people may want to raise issues they may not feel comfortable discussing in an open forum (where they may feel they have done something incorrectly – usually they haven’t!) and Facebook provides the mechanism for this as well, via messaging.

Of course there is still good old email but there is always the chance your mail will get lost amongst the hundreds we receive a week from pet shop suppliers, banks, spammers etc. Putting up a post is probably the best way to share your ideas or concerns. I can almost guarantee that what you think is a stupid question is just the question half a dozen others want to ask but think is a stupid question so they don’t. You’ll be doing them a favour.

As a pet shop business we will obviously have to have some rules of conduct. Don’t be profane, don’t be insulting or demeaning to others, Do check your question hasn’t already been asked and don’t be offended if its pointed out to you that is has. Don’t bother pointing out my spelling mistakes, there’ll be too many and please don’t post any advice that you are unsure of. Make sure you have direct knowledge of the subject rather than post something you have heard or “read on the internet”.

As an example of how bad some of the “advice” out there can be; a well known person in the pet shop industry was scanning through one of the reptile forums. He came across some advice on keeping venomous snakes. Being very knowledgeable he knew the advice was incorrect so he went about tracing it back to its source. This proved to be a fourteen year old child who had never kept any snakes, let alone venomous ones. Following this advice could well have caused the owners death!

Now, that is an extreme example but the advice promulgated on the internet can be divided into three categories. Good advice, from experienced keepers who just want to help people out. Fortunately there is a lot of this about but unfortunately there is also a lot of bad advice, often I’m afraid to say from people who should know better i.e. pet shop employees etc. They too want to help you out but they are giving you either just opinion, not fact, or just reprocessing old advice that may once have been the norm but has since been superseded by better ways. Sadly there is a third category which is deliberate bad advice.

It’s the internet folks, it gives access to all sorts of weirdos, idiots, mentally unstable, big headed know nothings, well .. you get the picture.

It can be difficult to sift through all this information to find what is good. Following some pet shop “advice” can be costly, some as shown, can be dangerous, some can just lead you to think there is only one way of doing things when actually there are often quite a few options, one of which may be better for you.

Hopefully this pet shop Facebook forum can help with the sifting. Its my pet shop so I will be moderating it and I will take down stuff I know to be wrong or think may mislead people, deliberately or unintentionally. If you see something you disagree with, let me know first before you go commenting on it. It may be that it is just another way of doing something that you haven’ considered. It may be you’re right, in which case we will listen and act. But let’s keep it polite, friendly and objective.

For those of you thinking “he’s opening up to attacks from competing pet shop businesses and dealers” well you are probably right but my view is, if they are spending time focusing on my business then they aren’t spending enough time focusing on their own so won’t be competitors for very long. If they start using some of the advice from us and our customers then that’s a good thing. Maybe their own pet shop customers will start to get a better service than they have been getting! Everyone’s a winner.

Finally, we are a pet shop. Our Facebook fan page does still serve the function of getting information to our customers on what we have available and what offers we are running. This site also does that through our emailing service. Customers using this pet shop service will get advance notice of offers being run, so will get first dibs when there are limited stocks. We will also be offering discount and FREE STUFF from time to time. At the moment we have some FREE venison dog treat bags in the pet shop for Facebook users. Go there to find out how to claim them.

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Facebook page

So post your questions about pet shop advice and post your own ideas if you want or feed off others. Please remember the Pet shop forum rules though and of course I am still available at the end of the phone or in the pet shop.

Pet shop Gloucester – top tips on snake handling

Pet shop Gloucester tips. Just a brief post on 5 top tips on handling snakes from your favourite Gloucester pet shop.


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Great plains rat snake


  • If your snake has just fed, DON’T HANDLE IT. Handling a snake after it has just fed can be at best unpleasant and at worst dangerous. Snakes swallow their food whole and rely on strong stomach acids to break it down. Whilst this happens relatively quickly, for the first 24 – 48 hours the snake has a large, hard object in a small, confined space. In the wild they would lay up during this period and allow the acids to do their work. Handling causes the snake to move around and this puts pressure on its stomach (or in the case of inexperienced handlers they may actually squeeze the area). This action can make the snake regurgitate the meal, bringing up the very strong stomach acids with it, which can cause damage. Even worse, if the snake doesn’t regurgitate and the meal is still undigested other internal organs can be damaged by the pressure, if handled roughly (or dropped). Then of course there is the risk to you. Even a docile snake may strike when it has just been fed and is digesting its meal. It knows you shouldn’t be picking it up even if you don’t. To see snakes being fed come to our pet shop Gloucester at 5pm on Saturdays.

For more advice on feeding snakes come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • If your snake is shedding, DON’T HANDLE IT. It’s not so much that it dangerous for the snake (although it may lead to incomplete shedding) but with its eyes clouded over it can’t see. Would you be in good mood if you suddenly had one of your senses taken away? The snake still has other, very accurate senses, so it can and will tag you. You can see snakes in various stages of shed in our pet shop Gloucester so you can get to know how to gauge when the shed will occur.

For more advice on problem shedding come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • So assuming your snake is not shedding and has not been fed within the last 48 hours the most important things is to BE CONFIDENT. Most people who keep snakes will tell you the snake can sense it if your nervous. I don’t think they have any ability to sense nerves in you at all, however they can pick up on your body language. If you go in with a hesitant hand that’s shaking, moving in then pulling back the poor old snake doesn’t know what is going on. When they are unsure or the situation they naturally get defensive and may well strike. To practice handling snakes come into our pet shop Gloucester and ask to have a go. I can and have on several occasions demonstrated to new owners in the shop where I can simulate a nervous owner and get a cornsnake to strike or be confident with a rather nippy kingsnake and not get tagged. In fact someone once brought a kingsnake into the shop, complete with viv. (as they couldn’t get the snake out, it was so aggressive). The snake was hissing and striking at the glass. I opened the viv. picked the snake straight up and it was quite calm. The owner then hesitantly took the snake off me and promptly got bitten on the neck. Which takes us to the next point.

For more advice or demonstrations on snake handling come and see us in our pet shop Gloucester.

  • Keep the snake away from your face. If a snake does bite it should only be able, at worst, to get your hand. If it gets anywhere else, guess what – that was your fault. Staring up close into the face of a snake is a bad idea. Snakes are carnivores, their senses for the most part are binocular and forward facing in order to hunt. This means they are particularly sensitive to anything immediately in front of them that moves. If you wave your hand about in front of your snakes head, or worse your nose (especially if it’s as big as mine) you are much more likely to get tagged. Also all reptiles can carry salmonella. Letting a snake touch your face near your mouth (i.e. kissing it!!) is really a bad idea.

For more advice on being bitten by snakes (especially if the snake won’t let go !!) call us at our pet shop Gloucester.

  • Wash your hands afterwards. As stated, snakes can carry salmonella. This bacterium is quite likely to be found on the snakes skin. They poop in the viv and move around – it will transfer bacteria onto its skin. You will be letting the snake run through your hands, you will touch it near its cloaca (vent) where the poop comes out so you will get bacteria on your hands. If you don’t wash your hands immediately you will be transferring bacteria everywhere you touch. Salmonella is a dangerous infection, potentially fatal in infants, the elderly and immunosuppressed individuals. If you are fit and healthy you will survive it but you will never want to get it again. I have had the disease. It is unpleasant, debilitating, incredibly painful and will take some time to recover from. All you have to do to avoid getting it, or giving it to your family, is wash your hands, preferably with an anti bacterial hand wash. We sell them, so you have no excuse. Also some snakes carry diseases that can be passed onto other snakes, the one that springs to mind is IBD (inclusion body disease) that can infect boids (pythons and boas). It is highly contagious and always fatal. Always disinfect when moving from one boid viv. to another or any other enclosure for that matter. Cross contamination is the commonest vector for the spread of mites, for example. An alcohol hand wash will kill any eggs on your skin (it dehydrates them) as well as bacteria and the mechanical action also helps lift dirt that is harbouring pathogens.

For more advice on reptile hygiene contact us at our pet shop Gloucester or subscribe to our YouTube channel where we will be adding all sorts of tips and tricks.

I hope these tips are of use. If you have any more questions or need more advanced help with anything just get in touch with our pet shop Gloucester and we will try to help.

Gloucester Pet Shop Dog Food Advice

Pet shop top tips on dog food

We hope this information helps when you are thinking about what is the best food for your pet. For more advice on what is the best pet food for your dog visit our pet shop in Gloucester, or give us a call, or leave a comment below. Make sure you register to qualify for your 10% discount.

Favourite Gloucester pet shop – vote here for a chance to win £100

Pet shop customers vote here for your favourite Gloucester pet shop and you could win £100 through the Pet Care Trading Association.

As part of our efforts to stay a cut above the rest we belong to a trade association for pet shop businesses that shares our aim to improve pet care by encouraging responsible and ethical pet ownership.

They are running a competition to find the nations favourite pet care professional and as a thank you for your getting involved they will enter you into a free draw to win £100. Just click below to register your vote for us.


Before you do, don’t forget to register with us first. All notices of free competitions and offers will be coming via email to you in future so you will need to be registered to receive notification on how to get FREE STUFF and/or DISCOUNTS.

We think it important that a pet shop is more than just a shop. A decent pet shop should offer extra services and advice and also get involved in community programmes (like our free educational services to schools and organisations). It’s also nice to give our customers a chance to WIN SOME DOSH, FREE STUFF or GET DISCOUNT. This is why we have set up our new discounts and offers subscription. So make sure you subscribe and register. As they say, you need to be in it to win it.

So register with us your favorite pet shop to receive your 10% sign up discount and regular notification of offers, further discounts, free stuff and chances to win money.

Favourite pet shop vote here

Vote here

Gloucester Pet Shop Open Bank Holidays

Pet shop required? If you are looking for a pet shop in Gloucester this bank holiday weekend we are open as usual.

Just a quick post to let you know that your Gloucester pet shop is open every day of the year except Christmas day, boxing day and new years day. This is normal hours too, from 09:00  to 18:00.

Ever meant to pop to the pet shop before the weekend to get the dog, cat, reptile, whatever some food and forgot? Ever thought “Oh well the local pet shop will be open” and then realised it’s bank holiday weekend and found out they were closed?

There is nothing more annoying than going to your local pet shop for your essential pet supplies and finding them not there when you need them (OK so I’m sure there are more annoying things but you get the picture!). This is why we stay open as much as we can (We have to close our pet shop sometimes, I think if I tried to stay open on Christmas I’d get shot by the wife)

So tell your friends your local pet shop in Gloucester is OPEN this weekend

Pet shop Gloucester open

Opening times