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Ribbon Snake

Thamnophis spp

Sleek and quite pretty, ribbon snakes have very similar care requirements to their garter snake cousins Quick and active, they need a relatively large, escape-proof home with many hiding places and structures to climb and explore. Is a ribbon snake the right companion animal for you? Yes No Check "Yes" or "No" after reading the following statements: 1. I can accommodate a snake that may grow to four feet. 2. I am comfortable handling a snake. 3. I am comfortable feeding live food to a snake. 4. I can commit to providing proper care for this snake. 5. A mature person will provide responsible and primary care for this companion animal.

If you answered "Yes" to these statements, a ribbon snake may be the right choice for you! Continue reading about how to care for a ribbon snake and consult with a PETCO associate to learn more. PETCO is committed to responsible companion animal care. Average Size Diet Feeding Housing 3-4 feet long Life Span Up to 15+ years with proper care

Feeder fish, tadpoles, frogs, crickets, earthworms Feed 2 to 3 times a week Size ­ At least a 20 gallon long aquarium with tight-fitting lid Substrate ­ Provide a deep substrate, such as bark chips, aspen shavings, sphagnum moss, or sterile potting soil; keep substrate dry to prevent skin blisters and sores Habitat ­ Provide multiple hiding places and foliage for hiding and climbing in Temperature ­ Temperature gradient (85° F. for the warm end and 65° F. for the cool end during the day, 68 for the warm end and 59 for the cool end at night); recommend radiant heat; use an incandescent light or ceramic heater as primary heat source, use under tank heater as secondary source Lighting ­ Snakes need a photoperiod light cycle; provide 8­12 hours of light daily; some sources recommend full spectrum UV lighting as well; do not leave white light on at all times; to view snakes at night, use a black or infrared light Water ­ Provide a large bowl of fresh, chlorine-free water for drinking and swimming, changed daily Do not house different species of reptiles together

Recommended Supplies

Habitat with secure lid Thermometer Misting bottle Humidity gauge Book about garter or water snakes Light timer

Substrate Hide box or driftwood Water dish Undertank heat source Incandescent light or ceramic heater

© 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)

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Ribbon Snake

Thamnophis spp

Normal Behavior and Interaction

Mainly diurnal (awake during the day), but are often active in the early evening As snake gets ready to shed, eyes will turn a milky blue over the course of a few days and body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen Can be very active, exploring every inch of their habitat; escape artists; can fit through amazingly small openings

Habitat Maintenance

Change water daily Thoroughly clean the tank at least once a week: set snake aside in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all smell of bleach; dry the tank and furnishings; and add clean substrate Will regularly shed their skin; ensure water dish is large enough for the snake to soak its entire body to allow snake to shed properly Always wash your hands before and after touching your snake or habitat contents to help prevent Salmonella and other infectious diseases

Grooming and Hygiene

Signs of a Healthy Animal

· · ·

Clear eyes (except when shedding) Clear nose and mouth Body is rounded and full

· · ·

Active and alert Eats regularly Healthy skin Suggested Action Clean the cage and keep substrate dry. Consult your exotic animal veterinarian. Keep snake warm and dry. Consult your exotic animal veterinarian. If untreated, can be fatal. Consult your exotic animal veterinarian. Consult your exotic animal veterinarian.

Common Health Issues

Health Issue (alpha) Dermatitis

Symptoms or Causes Blisters. Rapid shedding caused by an unclean habitat or one that is too cold or damp. Labored breathing. Mucus in mouth or nostrils. Can be caused by a habitat that is too cold or damp. White, cheesy substance in the mouth; loss of teeth and appetite. Parasites on skin. Can transmit disease.

Respiratory Disease


Ticks and Mites

Red Flags

· · ·

Wrinkled or rubbed skin Discharge in nose or mouth Abnormal feces or urine

· · ·

Vomiting Lethargy Decreased appetite

If you notice any of these signs, please contact your exotic animal veterinarian.


A Petkeeper's Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians by David Alderton Keeping and Breeding Snakes by Chris Mattison The Proper Care of Snakes by Armin Geus

Note: The information on this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

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SKU 942812 © 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)


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