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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

After several years of badgering my wife she finally caved and today we saw a beautiful Black & White Abberant California Kingsnake. So I convinced her to get it! Result.

Just after some advice / thoughts really.

We got the standard vivarium from pets at home that came with thermostat, heat mat and thermometer.
He's all set up in his home with a hide that I think is a little too large over the heat mat, another smaller hide on the non-heat mat side, a water bowl and aspen.
Hate to ask stupid questions but want to make sure I've got everything right.

1) Heat mat slips in between 2 glass plates and is on one side of the viv only (polystyrene underneath the glass plate at bottom)
2) Thermostat (microclimate ministat 100) is set to 30 celcius. Temp seems to fluctuate from 28 to 30 celcius
3) Glass has misted up a little (condensation). Is this ok? Have checked the airways and they appear unblocked. Bit worried about humidity.
4) Substrate covers the glass base and about 5mm thick
5) He prefers the smaller hide at the moment
6) The table the vivarium on is a tiny bit too small width ways. The small plastic "stands" on the underside of the viv were slipping a little off, so I've stuck a mousemat underneath the viv to make sure it doesn't slip easily
7) Thermostat and thermometer sensors are on top of the aspen and hidden a little under some addition aspen
8) Shop told me he feeds once a week only (was expecting this to be twice a week)

So that's his set up. We'll leave him for 24hrs now to get used to it.

Would like some advice on handling. Was thinking at least twice a day for a short time each.

One thing I have noticed is that in the shop and all the way home, he was very active. Now he's in his home he was in his hide for 20 mins and now out and about. So we know he's curious as expected and doesn't seem stressed.

When I transferred him into his new home, he was very very quick. Other kingsnakes I've handled haven't been this fast so I need some advice in getting him to calm down.

Also need advice on how to handle him the first few times whilst he's bombing around everywhere. Don't want to lose him.

Lastly, will he want to climb? Should I get something for that too?

Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
 

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First of all, congrats! I love king snakes, have two myself.

I personally prefer to have the thermostat probe directly over the heat mat - you may find, if you're taking temperature readings off the top of the aspen, that it could be a lot warmer lower down. Kings will burrow in to the substrate, so it's worth checking what temperature you're getting actually over the mat.

With regards to handling -if you're worried about him getting away from you handle him over his tank the first few times, so if he does wriggle away he isn't at large in the world : victory:

How about a picture?
 

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As above, out of curiosity what size is the snake? I've seen baby kings/milks/corns escape through the gap between the glass so hoping its grown on a bit. I always have holes drilled at the back of the viv and put the mat leads through there but I'm not a fan of mats in vivs, I always use overhead heating with a ceramic bulb and guard. The stat I always cable clip the probe to the back wall of the viv a bit away from the heat source and 2cm up then dial the stat in so it's calibrated fully and not on max settings.

As for feeding again this will depend on the size of the snake as to what and when it needs feeding.

Congratulations on your new purchase you'll love it and once the Mrs. comes round fully there'll be more lol.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Photos on their way!!

Spoke to a chap around where we live who has experience of kingsnakes.

He said if the home is well heated (and it is) I can do without the heat mat and around 24 celcius is fine... thoughts? I have turned thermostat down to 27 celcius and emptied some of the water out of the bowl to try to get condensation problem out of the way.

Will move the thermostat sensor down into substrate. Will keep thermometer at the top so I can see air temp.
 

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24C isn't a bad temp - I do know people who choose to keep kings and corns at this temp - but many of us find that our snakes appreciate a warmer area too, especially when digesting food. I personally would continue to use the heat mat.

Air temp isn't particularly important - heat mats tend to heat whatever they are touching rather than warming the air, so you're better off taking the temp where your snake will be rather than in the air.

How long have you had the tank set up? If it's freshly set up I wouldn't be too concerned about the condensation - the viv will sometimes steam up after everything's been newly washed and put back in. It might well settle down after a day or so.
 

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1) Heat mat slips in between 2 glass plates and is on one side of the viv only (polystyrene underneath the glass plate at bottom) perfect
2) Thermostat (microclimate ministat 100) is set to 30 celcius. Temp seems to fluctuate from 28 to 30 celcius thermostats aren't that accurate which is why you have the digital thermometer, go by what that says and not by the temp set on your thermostat
3) Glass has misted up a little (condensation). Is this ok? Have checked the airways and they appear unblocked. Bit worried about humidity there shouldn't be any "misting" on the glass or anywhere inside the tank, wipe it off - hopefully it won't re appear?
4) Substrate covers the glass base and about 5mm thick again, perfect
5) He prefers the smaller hide at the moment I have exactly the same set up for my cali and she always sits in the "cooler" end except when she's eaten when she moves into the warmth (to digest)
6) The table the vivarium on is a tiny bit too small width ways. The small plastic "stands" on the underside of the viv were slipping a little off, so I've stuck a mousemat underneath the viv to make sure it doesn't slip easily no problem there
7) Thermostat and thermometer sensors are on top of the aspen and hidden a little under some addition aspen place it on TOP of all the aspen - I hold mine in place with the back of the hide, snakey doesn't seem to mind the probes being in her hide and you need a totally accurate reading of the warm spot
8) Shop told me he feeds once a week only (was expecting this to be twice a week) that's what he's used to then stick to this, until he grows

So that's his set up. We'll leave him for 24hrs now to get used to it. I would leave him a week, calis can be a bit "naughty" so probably need longer than other snakes to settle - offer food on the 8th day

Would like some advice on handling. Was thinking at least twice a day for a short time each. twice a week for 5-10 minutes is enough, the smaller the snake, the higher the stress levels, increase this time VERY slowly

One thing I have noticed is that in the shop and all the way home, he was very active. Now he's in his home he was in his hide for 20 mins and now out and about. So we know he's curious as expected and doesn't seem stressed. they are VERY bold curious snakes but that doesn't mean he's not stressed, I can assure you of one thing, if you try to get him out he WILL musk you!!

When I transferred him into his new home, he was very very quick. Other kingsnakes I've handled haven't been this fast so I need some advice in getting him to calm down. they don't get a HUGE amount of handling in store so you'll have to start over with the "taming process"

Also need advice on how to handle him the first few times whilst he's bombing around everywhere. Don't want to lose him. as above, twice a week for 5-10 minutes is sufficient and will teach him (in HIS time) you are not a threat

Lastly, will he want to climb? Should I get something for that too? yes they enjoy climbing but I would (personally) let him settle for a few weeks before adding to his furniture
I hope this helps? I'm onto my 5th hatchling now and my latest is a cali king, she's been a little more "tricky" than my corns but we're finally getting there, I've had her just over 2 weeks, she's fed no problems and I can finally take her out without being musked!!

Good luck, it's a beautiful snake you have there :flrt:
 

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this is my cali king now that I'm "allowed" to hold her!!

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the advise. Would love to have someone here the first time I handle him!

One thing... The viv is 18 inches wide. The heat mat covers about 60% of this. Temp on heat side is 28 and on the other it's 25. Is this ok?

Condensation is gone now!
 

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Welcome! Beautiful snake! It sounds like you're getting into the the hang of things!

One one word on musking: beware the musk! It's not a pretty thing! My little milk snake (which is is very similar) still musks from time to time. Depending on the personality of your animal, it may take a lot of time and patience before you're musk free!

About the heat mat, it should only cover about a third of the viv. That gives them plenty of room on the cool side.
 

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can you change the heat mat for a smaller one? I would take back the one that comes with the Monkfield and buy the smallest one, this is what gave me a bigger heat variance in that set up.

don't worry about handling, just keep it short and sweet, they are very quick :whip: and mine only musked me the first twice I picked her up, now she's good as gold :2thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have ordered the 7"x12" heat mat instead... keep the other as a spare (and maybe another snake, but don't tell my wife!)


We also have 2 boys (10 & 3) and a german shepherd, Cookie.
Cookie has taken no notice whatsoever of the snake, but any tips would be great,
 

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Aw congrats on your first snake and what a cracking little cali :)
i used to keep my 2 kings at 30/31c on the hot spot and they loved it like that....this might not happen with yours but if i ever lowered that temp....they would both stop feeding so this is just something to bear in mind if you have any probs come feeding time.
Calis are great snakes but as said they can be like lightning until they've settled in with you, after time and patience they slow right down and you will (or should) have a calm little snake.
Also as mentioned, i would leave a week until you feed just so it has time to settle down a bit and let it digest its dinner for 2 days before you start handling just incase this stops it from eating and you have to start from scratch again.
i have one of these little monkfield vivs but the 2 + half foot version of it, they are fab for young and small snakes and pretty escape proof if you make sure you block off the hole at the back were the mat stat probe cable comes through (i blocked mine with a blob of blue tac) i have a tiny dwarf boa in mine and she loves it : victory:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just got home after a day out and couldn't see him. Not in his hides but had totally buried himself in the aspen. Temp on top of aspen reads 29 Celsius, but he's buried himself right next to the glass that sits on top of heat mat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also thinking about feed/handling.

He is fed on Sunday's and he was settled in his viv on Monday so will stick to Sunday feeds. This gives him 6 days from when we got him.

So will either handle on Saturday or Tuesday depending on how he seems.

Thoughts?
 

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Hi,

After several years of badgering my wife she finally caved and today we saw a beautiful Black & White Abberant California Kingsnake. So I convinced her to get it! Result.

Just after some advice / thoughts really.

We got the standard vivarium from pets at home that came with thermostat, heat mat and thermometer.
He's all set up in his home with a hide that I think is a little too large over the heat mat, another smaller hide on the non-heat mat side, a water bowl and aspen.
Hate to ask stupid questions but want to make sure I've got everything right.

1) Heat mat slips in between 2 glass plates and is on one side of the viv only (polystyrene underneath the glass plate at bottom)
2) Thermostat (microclimate ministat 100) is set to 30 celcius. Temp seems to fluctuate from 28 to 30 celcius
3) Glass has misted up a little (condensation). Is this ok? Have checked the airways and they appear unblocked. Bit worried about humidity.
4) Substrate covers the glass base and about 5mm thick
5) He prefers the smaller hide at the moment
6) The table the vivarium on is a tiny bit too small width ways. The small plastic "stands" on the underside of the viv were slipping a little off, so I've stuck a mousemat underneath the viv to make sure it doesn't slip easily
7) Thermostat and thermometer sensors are on top of the aspen and hidden a little under some addition aspen
8) Shop told me he feeds once a week only (was expecting this to be twice a week)

So that's his set up. We'll leave him for 24hrs now to get used to it.

Would like some advice on handling. Was thinking at least twice a day for a short time each.

One thing I have noticed is that in the shop and all the way home, he was very active. Now he's in his home he was in his hide for 20 mins and now out and about. So we know he's curious as expected and doesn't seem stressed.

When I transferred him into his new home, he was very very quick. Other kingsnakes I've handled haven't been this fast so I need some advice in getting him to calm down.

Also need advice on how to handle him the first few times whilst he's bombing around everywhere. Don't want to lose him.

Lastly, will he want to climb? Should I get something for that too?

Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
My thoughts, and sorry if this has been repeated. The probe sensor should be under the aspen touching the glass. I'm not sure that its alright condensation is building up in there. I had this problem with some of my tubs, so I drilled more holes in them and now its gone. Be sure the water or any moisture is no where near the heated side, that will cause condensation/elevated humidity. Snakes can rub their noses raw on screens, so if adding a climbing branch allows the snake to get closer to screen, he will use the branch and get more leverage to push against the screen. If that's the case, don't use the branch. They don't need it anyway and are only using it to find a way out. Check out this section on my Cal king website. It should help.

Keeping and Breeding - Southern California Kingsnakes
 

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ive got the exact same viv for mine :D

it was my first snake so i kinda rushed into things, didnt leave him to settle down haha been bitten twice and so fed him because it was more of a feeding response and havent had it happen again

my stat is set to approx 31 degrees celcius but regularly check with a thermometer however I have the stat probe taped to the glass under the aspen due to being told too much heat could crack the glass...

in the month or so ive had mine hes grown so much already and tamed down so quickly, he isnt skittish at the majority of times but usually handle him atleast once a day, tend to let him have a little roam of the sofa/bed :)
 
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