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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Assume only the standard low-maintenance species. And of course once you have one, the second takes less additional effort.

So taking that into account... How many snakes would be equivalent in effort to, say, a pet cat?
 

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It's like asking -How long is a piece of string? :)

I think it depends on how much time do you have, what the set ups are, and the standard of care, and in my case also how much l can do physically.

Some people can look after a very large number of snakes to excellent standard, someone could have just 1 snake and neglect it.
 
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Man there have been some odd ball questions on the forum of late.... As Mrs Tim states, it's not a quantifiable question.

What's effort? what to you may seem a tiresome task could be enjoyable to another and they take more time with that animal. I've seen videos of breeders with hundreds of snakes in racks and they are spotless and water is always clean, and videos of one or two in appalling conditions.... You also can't compare cats or dogs to reptiles. Snakes don't need walkies twice a day like a dog, and then a German Shepherd will need more exercise than a small dog, so even that argument isn't quantifiable.
 

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Wow, that's some question.

I have dogs, cats, chickens, pygmy goats and snakes. They all have such very different needs. The dogs and goats are probably the most time consuming, but the snakes need a more complex set up ie temp, humidity, heat, lighting etc. However, once that's set up they're happy and essentially just need a daily check and change of water. 2 snakes can becared for in less time than one walk for my border collie.

Personally I'd say it's down to the free time you have for the care needs of your snakes, plus if you want to spend time handling them.
 

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As soon as you have a snake with a health issue, the "effort" involved will change suddenly and completely. The more snakes you have, the more experienced you need to be to spot developing issues faster, before they become catastrophic. Spreading a beginner level of experience over 20 snakes will not match an advanced keepers' experience spread over 40 snakes, from an individual snake's perspective. It helps to know what a problem looks like so you can spot it in it's early stages.

This is such a wierd question. It's like "how much water can you put in a cup". What kind of cup are you using? How are you measuring it, by weight or volume? Fresh water or salt water? Temperature? Atmospheric pressure? How accurate an answer do you want?
 

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As soon as you have a snake with a health issue, the "effort" involved will change suddenly and completely.
I think you could say the same for any animal.

Our German Shepherd was no more difficult to maintain than any other dog. Walked twice a day, fresh water daily, fed, and given a brush now and again, plus probably an hour or two totalled up playing per day... but when she developed MD which caused her to loose control of her back legs it was almost 24 hour care. I had to sleep on the sofa for four months as she was so loyal to me she would want to try getting upstairs and often wall fall. Eventually we had no choice but to have her put to sleep as she had no quality of life and was very embarrassed when she messed herself as she had no control... that sadly was the turning point.

When the Boa had an RI, there was not a great deal more I could do to normal husbandry other than up the temps a bit and administer the antibiotics every 72 hrs for four weeks.
 

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I think you could say the same for any animal.

Our German Shepherd was no more difficult to maintain than any other dog. Walked twice a day, fresh water daily, fed, and given a brush now and again, plus probably an hour or two totalled up playing per day... but when she developed MD which caused her to loose control of her back legs it was almost 24 hour care. I had to sleep on the sofa for four months as she was so loyal to me she would want to try getting upstairs and often wall fall. Eventually we had no choice but to have her put to sleep as she had no quality of life and was very embarrassed when she messed herself as she had no control... that sadly was the turning point.

When the Boa had an RI, there was not a great deal more I could do to normal husbandry other than up the temps a bit and administer the antibiotics every 72 hrs for four weeks.
All very true, but if you have 40 snakes vs 4 snakes, that's 10x the chances of one developing a severe issue.

And if it's a contagious issue, 1 becoming 4 is more manageable than 1 becoming 40, financially and logistically.
 

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Our German Shepherd was no more difficult to maintain than any other dog. Walked twice a day, fresh water daily, fed, and given a brush now and again, plus probably an hour or two totalled up playing per day... but when she developed MD which caused her to loose control of her back legs it was almost 24 hour care. I had to sleep on the sofa for four months as she was so loyal to me she would want to try getting upstairs and often wall fall. Eventually we had no choice but to have her put to sleep as she had no quality of life and was very embarrassed when she messed herself as she had no control... that sadly was the turning point.
i am getting to that point with my dog now. its heart-breaking to see. its not quite at the level of sleeping downstairs but i can see it on the horizon. i have to make her go out every couple of hours otherwise she leaks. she goes through phases of leaking overnight so i end up getting up a 2:00am to let her out. sadly my health wont suit another dog so when she eventually has to go i wont be getting another.

i dont really see the logic of the second one taking less effort and so on. you can be more efficient with costs, in as much as you can bulk buy substrate/food. so a second would be cheaper to maintain. the amount of work doubles though as you then have two enclosures to check, clean and generally maintain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Man there have been some odd ball questions on the forum of late
It's a serious question, maybe asked in an oddball way :p

Many people get their first snake is because of how low-maintenance they are. Then they get another. And another... Then you see people with dozens or even triple figures of the things, and at that point it clearly is a solid time-consuming hobby - it's nonsensical to say "I don't have the time for a cat, so I have 150 corn snakes".

People with other animals and with more snakes will have more comparison points than I do.

The serious underlying question is that I am thinking of maxing out at ~9 or 10 (this is the max space I'm willing to dedicate), so am trying to feel out people's experiences with effort levels as they increased numbers well before I get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i dont really see the logic of the second one taking less effort and so on. you can be more efficient with costs, in as much as you can bulk buy substrate/food. so a second would be cheaper to maintain. the amount of work doubles though as you then have two enclosures to check, clean and generally maintain.
My guess is that it wouldn't hold once there's high numbers. But feeding really does benefit when you're at low numbers. If you're defrosting one mouse, you can easily have a second defrosting, and lob them into two enclosures at virtually the same effort. If you have a difficult feeder, a dustbin snake can hoover up the rejects.

Cleaning and general maintenance doesn't benefit much from increased numbers, true. But still does a bit - if you're taking one water bowl to the sink to clean out, it doesn't take much more effort to pick up a second.

Scheduling obviously benefits. The mental effort to know when things are due doesn't go up much if they're on similar schedules.
 

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The serious underlying question is that I am thinking of maxing out at ~9 or 10 (this is the max space I'm willing to dedicate), so am trying to feel out people's experiences with effort levels as they increased numbers well before I get there.
To try and give you some comparison... I have 9 snakes, 6 downstairs and three upstairs in locked vivs. I just changed their water, one at a time. Took me just over 5 minutes to take each bowl to a sink, empty, rinse, fill and replace, locking the viv afterwards. Probably takes me around the same five or six minutes per viv to change the substrate as I vacuum the old substrate out, spray with F10 , replace substrate and water and replace the snake. So as an average an hour to clean and change 10 vivs. I normally perform a full clean every three months (unless one makes a mess with the water bowl, or sheds and ends up braking it up and spreading it ). Spot cleaning takes no time at all, daily check, if see anything out it comes.

But if you want to see if keeping 300+ snakes means 30x the work or time - watch some of Scott Wilkinsons videos on YouTube - - Claims 1 minute a snake to clean out rub in his rack

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
To try and give you some comparison... I have 9 snakes, 6 downstairs and three upstairs in locked vivs. I just changed their water, one at a time. Took me just over 5 minutes to take each bowl to a sink, empty, rinse, fill and replace, locking the viv afterwards. Probably takes me around the same five or six minutes per viv to change the substrate as I vacuum the old substrate out, spray with F10 , replace substrate and water and replace the snake. So as an average an hour to clean and change 10 vivs. I normally perform a full clean every three months (unless one makes a mess with the water bowl, or sheds and ends up braking it up and spreading it ). Spot cleaning takes no time at all, daily check, if see anything out it comes.

But if you want to see if keeping 300+ snakes means 30x the work or time - watch some of Scott Wilkinsons videos on YouTube - - Claims 1 minute a snake to clean out rub in his rack

You have virtually the same situation as what I'm planning to end up with: 3 downstairs, ~6 upstairs. The amount of effort yours takes sounds very reasonable (y) - not "this is now a huge chunk of my life to maintain". (In oddball-comparison terms, likely less effort than a pair of rabbits or guinea pigs)

On Scott Wilkinson, damn he's got a system worked out. I had always assumed that huge numbers would be huge effort. Not that I'll ever even approach such numbers, haha! I may have been far too quick to think "jesus" at those who keep high numbers.
 

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still doesnt make it quicker or easier. he is making 1 minute per tub because they are in the barest minimum, but 2 tubs is still 2 minutes and so on. so 5 hours a week to maintain, not counting feeding. the effort is reduced by reduction in standard of care/environment not by numbers. if you want to enjoy the animals its best not to compare to a business.
thawing out mice isnt any quicker with two than one, if anything it would make things slower as two frozen things would cool the water faster than one. if you dont use water then it wouldnt make any difference either way.
the water bowls wouldnt make any odds either as it would take the same time. you still have top open the enclosure, get the bowl, rinse it, fill it and replace it. the only time saved would be the time walking to the sink and back. which if your sink is miles away would be a point but in a house its no big deal. you could save more time by having a bucket to dump into and a bottle to fill up from which you take into the room.

i think its a good thing to look forward with a view to how much you want to keep and how much you are able to care for properly. personally i couldnt care for too much as my health makes it hard. the clean out takes me a fair while and knocks me around, but it actually works better with bigger enclosures as i dont need to cram and twist as much. for keeping indoors i would probably max out at 6 enclosures. after that i would be hurting for the effort.
 

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I used to have 12 Royals and to me they were all low maintenance... I’m now down to 1 Royal, but also have 32 (atm) Crested geckos, 3 African Fat tails, a Panther chameleon, dart frogs, Williamsi, mournings, giant African land snail, a southern toad, 2 tortoises, 3 turtles, a marine tank and a tropical tank, quails and 3 dogs.
You know which of those isn’t ‘low maintenance’?
The dogs. A Border Collie, a Cocker Spaniel and a Border Collie x Siberian Husky. All high energy and don’t stop.
They require a lot more of my time than any of my reptiles/amphibians.


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I have to agree with the comments regarding Scotts set up. With a jug and a bucket it takes seconds to change water, and with the substrate to hand not long at all to grab the snake, tip the contents into a bin, throw a handful of new substrate in and replace the snake...Unlike a decorate viv which would take longer.

Naturally with a larger collection feeding takes more time. If you have one snake and it takes you three or four minutes to fed a royal, then with 10 of them it can take best part of an hour, but in the scheme of things, that's just an hour of your time once a fortnight, or ten days or at worse a week.

I think more importantly you should be considering the impact on your bank balance keeping more snake has in terms of running cost. Keeping a single snake in a viv with a 150w heater might cost you around £0.45 per day / £13.pm in electric. Now for ten enclosures that's now £4.50 a day or £130 pm. (figures are not exact as is based on a pulse stat being on 50% of the time, and 25p per KW/h - but it won't be far off). Then you have food. With just 10 snakes you buy in bulk. Looking back at my 2020 spending, it was £359 in five deliveries. If I deduct £50 courier costs that's £300 pa so a ball park figure is going to be £1500 - £1600 pa for energy and feeding 10 snakes, compared to around £180 - £200 pa for one. Now you can see why dedicated insulated and HVAC controlled snake rooms full of racks are popular. Electricity costs are still around the same as you have one large 3KW heater to maintain the low ambient, and just a few KW in mats, but in racks you can cram 5x or more the number of snakes in a given volume compared to a stack of vivs. - As I've always said those that claim to be hobby breeders with 200+ snakes are really small time businesses and racks are used as a way of keeping costs down.
 

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Assume only the standard low-maintenance species. And of course once you have one, the second takes less additional effort.

So taking that into account... How many snakes would be equivalent in effort to, say, a pet cat?
Interesting question/query .

I got up to 24 and found it was all becoming a bit of a chore ... although maybe some of that was my state of mind ...

Anyways over time I got them down to 6 and kinda rekindled my love of them again .. even though I’m back up to 10 ... it’s still fine .
It does help that I have 7 Royal python eating machines - so feeding night is an absolute breeze .


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I haven't got a clue.Never kept a cat.I find the 'real' effort kicks in when there's a problem,heating etc :confused:
 

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Price wise above, all confusing to me lol. But,
I’d say (when we had the 12 royals here along with all other animals, including the dogs)
We were spending 100/150 up too 200 a month for electric, feeding etc. (Did get rats cheaper from a breeder though)
We had/have a heater in the reptile room so if drops below certain temp.
It turns on, heat mats were on each row of the racks. Heat mat for fat tails etc. Every viv has own lighting, got around 20 vivs.
So I think all depends. As to us our costs weren’t bad for the amount we had.


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I haven't worked out my snakes' costs. 😅 I pretend they're £0/yr.

Although I'm planning to only have small & medium snakes, so costs shouldn't ever be toooo bad.

Interesting question/query .

I got up to 24 and found it was all becoming a bit of a chore ... although maybe some of that was my state of mind ...

Anyways over time I got them down to 6 and kinda rekindled my love of them again .. even though I’m back up to 10 ... it’s still fine .
It does help that I have 7 Royal python eating machines - so feeding night is an absolute breeze .


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24 chore, 10 not a chore... Good ballpark figures; hopefully same with me as 10 is my max :)
 

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I haven't worked out my snakes' costs. 😅 I pretend they're £0/yr.

Although I'm planning to only have small & medium snakes, so costs shouldn't ever be toooo bad.
Size doesn't matter.. Irrespective of it being a 3' viv or a 6' they all require heating, and cost wise, running a room heater and mats compared to ceramics or lamps, there probably isn't much in it.
 
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