Before and after purchasing!

Here you will find information regarding care for your reptiles. These are member contributions.

Before and after purchasing!

Postby Copperbob » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:27 am

I decided to write this guideline sheet, because a few people seem to have had problems with their newly acquired Snakes.

The following guidelines are what I use before purchasing a new snake.

1. The most important thing to do before purchasing a new animal is to do as much research and gather as much information as possible.
2. The first and easiest way to asses a snake’s health, would be to look for active tongue flicker and a noticeable reaction to close proximity movement.
3. Any wounds, indentations in body, a pyramid shaped body (visible spine), bottom piece of tail missing or a foul smell coming from the mouth are all indications of an undernourished, unhealthy animal.
4. If possible, gently pinch the skin between your fingers on the mid body of the snake, the skin should immediately move back to its former position, if the skin sticks together for a few seconds, this is good indication of dehydration!
5. Before purchasing a constrictor, one should handle the animal. A healthy constrictor normally has a firm grip and the urge to move around. If an animal is lethargic, doesn’t firmly grip you, shows no noticeable tongue flicker or movement, again this is a sign of an unhealthy or overly stressed animal.
6. A quick look in the mouth could also be helpful to asses the health of the animal. Any wounds, foul smell, discolouration, puffing of the neck or gaping mouth(which is normal for some snakes) and large amounts of mucus could mean the animal may have rot mouth or a cold.
7. A close inspection of the skin is very important, especially in and around the scales close to the snake’s mouth. Any white or black specs anywhere on the snakes body could mean it has mites and should not be taken anywhere near your collection.

If the snake’s health has met your satisfaction, the following are some tips on getting the animal comfortable and established into its new environment (enclosure).
This is a quote from a member of this site and is highly relevant to your snake wellbeing, I think it goes a little something like this “You can choose to keep your snakes alive or healthy and happy”, unfortunately I can’t remember who said it.

1. Once the animal has been purchased, PLEASE DO NOT try to feed it on the same day or the day after you received it. I know it’s very tempting but newly acquired animal need at least a week to explore and settle down in thier new environment.
2. DO NOT feed the snake overly large food items, as this could result in regurgitation.
3. Do not handle the snake to much for the first few days and especially after it has just eaten.
4. A hide box is very important all the time and not only for newly acquired animals.
5. I water bowl is also very important and a heat source.

Please take the following into consideration.
From what source was the snake acquired? (Pet shop, private party, etc.)
Do you have any knowledge about previous owner(s) of the snake?
Do you have other snakes? If so, how many, and of which species?
What are the housing arrangements for the snakes? Any recent acquisitions?
Do you routinely quarantine new acquisitions?
Describe the dimensions of the enclosure in which this snake is housed.
Of what materials is the enclosure constructed?
What floor coverings are used in the enclosure?
What other items are used in the enclosure?
Describe the heat sources used in the enclosure.
What is the environmental temperature within the enclosure?
Is an artificial UV light source used?
Describe the water container/soak pit used.
Are hiding places provided for the snake?
What is the snake fed?
Is the snake fed live, stunned, freshly killed or thawed frozen prey?
How often is the snake fed?
Has the snake regurgitated recently?
When did the snake last defecate?
When did the snake last shed?
Was the shed complete (in one piece) or in pieces? ... ealth.html
Hope this helps any future or beginner snake keepers.
Fellas, any input or hate mail would be greatly appreciated. :)
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby Bushviper » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:36 am

Remember when checking the mouth do not go and insert tools etc which could cause damage and this untimately defeats the object. Just look at the lips to see if there is visible discharge especially when you GENTLY press on the bottom jaw and throat area. You can also put your thumb under the bottom lip and with a slight downward pressure you can expose the gums easily. The idea is not to damage the snake and then hand it back to the owner. This could get you expelled from the area rather quickly if you make the tiniest mistake.

If you have been holding other snakes (like at an expo) do not be surprised if the owner does not want you to hold the snake. Offer to go wash your hands and come back if he seems to be reluctant.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby Copperbob » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:21 pm

Yeah I reckon you could get in a little trouble if you went around open every snakes mouth you see at the SOS.
I would only advise the physical guidelines if really intend on purchasing the animal, for your own good, as Im sure the rule of 'you break it you buy it' would more than likley apply. :lol:
Thanks BV.
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby Copperbob » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:25 pm

Even better, ask the owner do it for you.
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby ColinF » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:16 pm

Very good post, thanks!
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby MacAdder » Wed May 13, 2009 12:32 am

Most people purchase on impulse no matter the advice. I agree with Colin “Good post”
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby gaboon69 » Wed May 13, 2009 1:39 pm

You forgot to mention that it's often important to know your seller when buying sensitive species.
Good guideline.
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby Copperbob » Wed May 13, 2009 6:29 pm

Thanks fellas.
@GB69 For sure mate.
@MacAdder That's why I don't like selling any of my animals. I have acquired snakes on impulse before doing any research on them, which inevitably led to their death. The only person to blame for that, was me!
The problem comes in, when people purchase animals, don't do research and then blame the seller for selling them sick animals.
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby bradmiller » Wed May 13, 2009 7:22 pm

I also assume that when you sell/buy reptiles they should come with a comprehensive log of feeding, shedding, any issues and the treatment there of.
Also with Biods if you try and turn them upside down they must always right themselves immediately

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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby babyball » Wed May 13, 2009 8:22 pm

Great post, I think we really need to start protecting ourselves against scams and its posts like this that can help lots..... Sick animals are never fun and I think potential buyers need to know whether an animal is healthy as to avoid losing the animal and money
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby marc bt » Wed May 13, 2009 8:45 pm

a couple more things that is very important especially with the younger keepers, don't just buy the snake because it looks 'cool', you have to think about the future, like am i willing to feed it weekly and pay for the food from your own pocket, do i understand the huge responsibilty that i am under-taking especially with large snakes, am i going show it care and attention and not just negelect it after 2 or 3 months, do i realise that at least once a week i am having to get down and dirty cleaning it's cage and lastly which i think is really important, changing of your pets water daily! that is so important, you must always think, "would i want to drink that water?"
i know this sounds really scarey, especially for someone that just wants a pet snake but if you going to make the decision of purchasing such an awesome creature you have to realise that it is a live animal and it deserves to live a full and healthy lifestyle. if all this is done right, its certainly worth it, it just take 20 minutes daily to make sure he/she is doing alright and maybe some handling( not after feeding) and it becomes a pleasure.
P.S i must warn those knew keepers, this is a very addictive hobby!
a wiseman once said:"you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and feed him for the rest of his life.."
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Re: Before and after purchasing!

Postby Matt Robinson » Wed May 13, 2009 10:46 pm

Research is a huge issue. I hate going to a pet shop and seeing mothers buy their little babies, burmese pythons. I always wonder if they know how big they get, but this should be up to the pet shop to say that this animal actually gets big and you cant just sell it when it gets too big.
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