Smaller snakes are usually fine as first pets.

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Snakes make great pets -- they're easy to care for and beautiful to look at. But to ensure that they live a long and healthy life, you have to set up a snake tank that closely mirrors their natural habitat. This includes providing water, heating and covering. Building the proper home will depend on your snake's species and age. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to set up a snake tank.

  • Tank The size tank you buy will be determined by your snake's size. The length and height of the tank must be at least three-quarters of the snake's total length from head to tip, while the depth must be at least one-third of the snake's total length. If you purchase a tank that fits your snake when its young, you may have to upgrade to a larger tank as the snake grows larger [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
  • Heating Tanks must be kept warm to ensure that your snake stays healthy. The temperature should range between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 29 degrees Celsius), although different species like different temperatures. An excellent way to heat your tank is to place a heating pad under the tank. Make sure that the pad only covers one-third of the tank's surface, so the snake can have a choice between temperatures [source: LIHS].
  • Water Snakes use water for drinking and submerging, so it's important that you put a sturdy water bowl in the tank that the snake won't be able to flip over. Provide fresh water on a daily basis that is heated to the same temperature as the tank [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
  • Landscaping In order to replicate their behavior in the wild, snakes require covering to hide themselves. This can be done in a number of different ways, including hollow logs, upside down flower pots or boxes. Make sure that your snake can curl its entire body within the box. Also consider including climbing branches. They will not only give your snake an additional place to hide, but it will provide it with an area to bask in the heat [source: Drs. Foster and Smith]. //]]]]> ]]>