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Sidewinder Care

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Crotalus cerastes is a snake that lives in the hottest areas in Arizona and Mexico. Therefore it is important to build an enclosure that closely represents its natural habitat. The minimum measurements for this desert enclosure for a pair of C. cerastes are 100x50x50 cm (lxdxh), although you may always build or buy a larger size enclosure. For a substrate you can use sand, fine gravel or Corbo biodegradable corncob. Corbo is decorative, lightweight and easily kept clean. You can buy it from bird and reptile shops. Cover the bottom of the enclosure with about 5 cm of substrate. In one of the corners you build a cave made of flagstones. Under this cave you can place a heat mat and over it you can hang a baskinglight, usually an incandescent bulb in a reflector. This way you provide the snakes with a dark, warm and safe hiding place and a warm basking spot. Because both heating sources are placed in the same corner, one end of the enclosure will be hot, while the other end will be cooler. This way the snake can regulate its temperature by moving from one end to the other and back. The heating mat is turn on constantly, while a timer to be on during the day for 12 to 14 hours regulates the light bulb. You can decorate the enclosure at your own discretion. You can use a small water bowl, dead wood, a scull of a small mammal or an artificial cactus. Always remember not to put in to much decoration!!!, youll need to know at all times where the snakes are for your own safety!!. The care of C. cerastes is relatively simple. Adult snakes get a meal every other week. The water bowl is filled with two thee spoons of water every two weeks, this to avoid humidity. Use a scoop with a long handle (70 cm) to take out the snake poop.

Always use an acrylic shield to put between the snake and yourself for protection. A 30x30 cm piece of acrylic glass attached to a 70 cm long handle will do nicely. Because the acrylic shield is transparent you can see the snake at all times, which makes working inside the enclosure a lot safer.